Problems Exporting Tabs in Script writer mode

I have created my own scripts mode to create some software test scripts. One of the “styles” is called “Cols” as it uses tabs to place items in columns. I created the style with tabs set every half an inch and the first tab at 2 inchs plus 1 inch indent and 1 inch on first line.

When I apply the “style” all works well except the ruler only shows the first tab, although the tabs seem to work o.k. When this is exported as RTF into Mellel or Nisus or MSWord all but the first tab are missing and some horrible line wraps occur. If I place tabs onto the ruler by hand and then export all is well but the style reverts to general text. So my question is should I expect to see the tabs appearing on the ruler when I’m using Script writing mode? Or what tick box have I missed?

Many thanks

Hi Simon,

I’m afraid you’ve run into a limitation of the script mode for what you are doing. You set the default tab width and first tab stop, but tabs are not guaranteed to get added after the first tab stop. I know this sounds a bit odd, but there are good reasons for it. Essentially, in order for Scrivener to recognise the different paragraph styles set in Script Settings (e.g. to differentiate “Dialogue” from “Character” or “Action” and so forth), each paragraph style created in the Script Settings needs to be unique. There is no clean way to do this. Thus, I use the tab stops for this purpose. In script writing, you only ever need one tab - the first one. So, Scrivener allows you to set that. After that, it only adds tab stops to the style if it finds that another style exists with exactly the same formatting - by adding a second (or a third or whatever) tab stop, the paragraph styles become unique so that Scrivener can recognise them when the user clicks into them.

This works fine for scriptwriting. In your case, however, it means that you cannot really use a script setting for what you want to do. For this case you could either create a normal text style using the Styles menu from the ruler, or you could create a template document in the binder that is set up to have this style (note that you will need some text in it or the style won’t stick). The text document could even hold a table formatted as you wish. This document could then be used as a template kept at the top of the binder, and you could click on it, hit cmd-D to duplicate it, and drag it where you wanted whenever you needed this style, and fill in the copy (which will be merged with the documents around it upon export).

All the best,

Thanks Keith for the reply - I’m glad that I am no going completely mad! Am I correct in thinking that the template document you refer to is just a standard document - I’m off to read the help files again…

best wishes


P.S. I have just delivered my first set of documentation, written in Scrivener, to my customer - I may even have to buy it :wink:

Keith, I don’t know whether this should be in Wish List or Technical Support, but your answer to Simon above prompts me to put it here. I have been thinking about how to set up a document template within a Scrivener project which would have all the necessary style definitions for an InDesign Tagged Text file that could be exported as plain text and then placed in ID, where it should then format itself according to the styles as defined.

I am currently starting to experiment with this, and I know I can put it at the head of the binder, duplicate it and edit the duplicate. But is there any way that such a file within a Scrivener binder could be locked for editing and either behave like a .dot template, or else simply come up with a locked file alert if one tried to edit it, so that it couldn’t get over-written.

If not, any point in putting it forward as a wish for an eventual version 2?