Project RE setting

I am almost finished with a non-fiction book. To send to a printer, I must compile, export as PDF in a very specific format–which is really widely used and understandable. I have tried …and tried…to set settings regarding margins, fonts, tabs, etc. Settings will not hold from page to page. I have tried to find solution in manual, but I find the manual quite cumbersome and overcomplicated! So please, how do I set settings from the entire project, safely save…and get back to writing!

It is not clear from what you have said so far where you are getting hung up. The Compile function has a lot of moving parts. If you can make concrete something you are doing that doesn’t go right, that might give a clue to those who come by to help. Like, what is a series of steps you are taking that you think should have a certain result but does not?

In the meantime (since you’ve obviously been doing lots of writing in Scriv, but maybe not any compiling to speak of), have you watched L&L’s four short instructional videos on Compiling? Might help. Go to the ‘Getting Your Work Out’ section of this page:

Are these the page settings you are looking for / adjusting? This snapshot shows the Page Settings tab of the Compile Settings dialog for PDF output in (for example) the Modern compile format.


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I am using the Scrivener Non-fiction template, presumed to have the same formatting throughout. I wanted to change some formatting such as paragraph indent, spacing of 1.3 between lines throughout, set font as Palatino Linotype. The Print company I probably would use, requires certain margins, mirrored, then converted to pdf. I understand from the manual, that changing a setting on a page does not apply to previous pages or even those going forward…so how to I get uniformity of settings throughout. Must say, the writing was easy compared!! I’d appreciate some help…do I somehow need to delete all settings and start over? Should I have reset the template settings to avoid redoing each page? Thanks

It sounds like you are trying to set/control all these things within the Editor pane, but that is not how Scrivener works. The Editor in Scrivener just shows you the text in your documents, and text in a document is just a string of words — with respect to which the notion of a page has no built-in meaning, much less the notion of a page margin.

Those notions only come to mean something when you decide how you want to present your work — which you might do in any number of forms, each of which would determine different page sizes and margins and what not. So, Scrivener has a separate process (Compile) for this.

Specifying how you want your output to look is done with the Compile function. So, the short answer is you set these things (if need be) in the compile settings. (The fact that you are using a certain project template does not at all determine what compile format you will use.)

These are all things it makes sense to specify as part of your Compile format settings. Setting the general font is avail at the top of the Compile dialogue, but setting the other two things will require editing the settings of your chosen Compile Format.

I mean, you can also compile “as-is” which will reflect whatever you’ve done in the Editor with your text throughout your documents, but then, yeah, you would need to be consistent with what you had done by hand there. (Definitely the hard way if your needs are not super-sophisticated.)

(And yes I guess you can kind of gum things up by trying to apply a lot of custom styles to your text in an attempt to get control of things you should have been controlling globally (through compile) — and that is because custom styles override the general setting in compile. So, more or less, unless you are doing something special almost all your body paragraph should be No Style.)

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If you want two documents in the Binder to compile in the same way, you have two primary choices:

  1. Compile as-is but format both documents the same way in the Editor, or
  2. Give them the same Section Type.

Every document compiles according to a section layout assigned to its section type. Some layouts don’t override Editor formatting, others do. That choice can be a default derived from the Project Template used to create the project, or it’s a choice you made. Either way, you can change it.

You can create and/or modify section layouts and change assignments all you want, but you have to know where to find them, namely in the Section Layouts pane of a Compile Format.

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Thanks for the advice - appreciate the help.