Real styles: as in Word

I love Scrivener and i think it’s clever, simply genial… :slight_smile:

I know styles are not intended as in Word.
My question is: is in the features list the improvement of the styles, adding real styles as in Word, so to be able t change the rules of a single style and to have them spreaded all over the doc?

I’m asking it because my work is to manage a big file in which every single line or group of lines has a different style.
And working on it on Word after compiling, is a very long work.

Thanks for every answer,

I have been wishing for this for a long time. Unfortunately, I cannot use Scrivener for my main writing due to the lack of any kind of styles. One thing I have done that helps a little (very little) is to turn on the ruler so I can at least set margins and indentations that make the need for a particular style a little easier to spot in Word.

Changing of spacing between paragraphs is a real pain, however. I guess I have a love/hate relationship with Scrivener for this reason.

Too bad. It is a powerful program that is seriously crippled for some users. :frowning:

Jim W

Some form of styles are on the roadmap for the future, although not in a 2.x update.
All the best,

Given that very few programs support stylesheets, MS Word has always had good tools available for turning any document into a stylesheet enabled document, especially if that document has been designed to make that easy. The most important thing you need to do is make sure that all ranges of text that should be associated with one style are clearly different from other ranges of text. Since all we have is the formatting to go by, you can’t have level 3 and 4 headings formatted precisely the same. In other words, it doesn’t really matter what things look like coming out of Scrivener. We’re going to be applying everything to a stylesheet that is going to look different, anyway.

Once the RTF file is loaded in Word, simply use its tools to select all text with a similar style. That is different in every version of the program, so I’ll leave finding it up to you, but in MS Word 2010, you right-click within the text you wish to apply to a style, and use the “Style” sub-menu to select all text with a similar style. If for example you had done this to a chapter header, you could then click the “Heading 1” style to assign all of the selected text to that style. Given that the average document only has around a half a dozen different styles, if that, you can get a document from Scrivener to Word stylesheets in no time.

Doesn’t the Mac version of Scrivener have styles? The Windows version is much less useful without styles. Sorry to have to say this, but without styles, Scrivener is more of an editor rather than a text processing program. This feature really needs to be prioritized. Any user sooner or later would arrive at the same conclusion.

No they wouldn’t.

I strongly suggest that you carry out a search of these forums for previous discussions of styles, where the developer explains at length the issues involved.

And no, the Mac version doesn’t have them either. They will come in a future update, but Scrivener has been around for six years and has hundreds of thousands of users - without styles. Personally, I have never once used styles in any word processor. Although I appreciate that some users really like and depend on styles, and that they are more useful for certain types of writing, it would be a case of “false consensus” to assume that everybody finds them crucial. But, as already stated, they will be coming eventually, just not in Scrivener 1.x for Windows or Scrivener 2.x for Mac - they will be part of a paid upgrade down the line.

Thanks for the reply.

I agree: not everyone uses styles.
And if someone uses styles, in a normal way (like an essay or a thesis), styles are not so crucial in Scrivener, because you can add them later in no time in Word.

The real use of styles in scrivener happens if the final file is a file where every single line or little paragraph has a style: because changing them manually in Word is a very long process.
And it should be done for every edition of the work.

This is, of course, my case.

KB, when you tell about future 3.0 edition, it means in which range of time?

p.s.: my goal would be to move all the work inside Scrivener, but without style is mentally terrible to think to all the work of styles that should be done inside Word… :slight_smile:

This is a surprise for me, since styles are a way of dealing with semantic structuring. I’ve always used styles to avoid meaningless local formatting, and let the appearance of text reveal its inner structure. I wouldn’t consider styles as pure ‘maquillage’.

H1 = Heading 1 {Helvetica bold 24} and
= Emphasis {Italics}

are the most natural way of seeing what’s the meaning of that text section.


I don’t use styles for a different reason: they confuse me. Call me stupid, but i don’t have time to think about making things look pretty when I’m trying to get grey matter on paper. If I do need to meet some special format, that’s what pages or word are for.

Mostly I just use courier at 10pt and let other folks format till they’re happy.

Unless I am misunderstanding you, this is actually not that difficult to do for any type of document, let alone one that comes out of Scrivener, since Word allows you to select all non-contiguous instances of text matching a certain format, in a single click. You can then apply a style to this document-wide selection and then move on to the next unassigned text. We have plenty of people using Scrivener in a workflow that demands stylesheets on the output, and cleaning up a document to styles after compiling is typically only a fifteen minute job, if that. The main trick is to make sure all of your formatting in Scrivener is unique from one another. Even if in the final stylesheet two things might share the same look, in Scrivener make sure to use a different look (it needn’t be anything even remotely like the final look, if you wish) for each thing, so that Word’s select similar formatting feature doesn’t get confused.

Just don’t think to how beautiful your text in {Helvetica bold 24} might appear. Just think that section is H1/Heading 1, and accept the default formatting.

I’m one who has always thought in structures, even before the word “outline” was know in Italy. Probably, it’s Umberto Eco’s fault, who wrote a book in which he taught how to write a dissertation, introducing structuring concepts.

I like how Nisus deals with this matter: styles and outlining are exactly the same thing. No style, no outline. So, you have to use styles.



Those pretty much over the extent of my formatting when “brain dumping”. In general I will go back and make them “real” when editing. I keep coming back to “scrivener is for drafting” statements from KB and wonder why we need anything like Word styles in scriv.

It’s because visual signals are always stronger than symbols.

Bold formatting may have the same meaning as [h1], but it is stronger and can be recognized quicker.


Well, that is a point of opinion. I am one who always kept WordPerfect’s code view on, and preferred the symbolised method it used to portray formatting. When word processors all started to follow the Word template, that is when I jumped ship from that whole way of working and started writing in plain-text formats with mark-up. First it was LaTeX, which has a heavy learning curve and requires quite a bit of typing, all the way up to MultiMarkdown which I use to this day.

So, speaking of my opinion, I find reader-centric formatting such as italics and bold to be entirely out of place in the authoring environment, difficult to spot in a page—not every font draws bold well, and italics might as well be invisible when scrolling through—hard on the eyes, and illusive to use since there is no visual delineation for the semantic start/stop points. Does the italic stop here, or there after that space? Who knows! I guess cursor through it and keep an eye on the toolbar. No thanks, I’ll just put down an asterisk that I can spot from a mile away and keep writing. :slight_smile:

Meanwhile I can do 100% of my formatting from the home row while typing. No mice, no palettes, no scrubbing through font sliders, no squinting at tiny buttons, no fiddling with floating-point units of measurement, no setting up arcane stylesheets, no remembering to switch from body to this to that. Just write.

Agreed. I guess I see cmd-b as different than an h1 style.

I do understand why folks use them (I use them in word for corp docs). I guess my preference in scriv is simple formatting with layout/polish external.

And if KB adds styles I can just ignore them.

I’m not sure why it should surprise you - everybody’s different. I’ve just never felt a need for semantic structuring. Not once, in twenty years of using word processors.

I’m surprised, just because you created Scrivener, that seems from ground up conceived for structured writing.


We’re talking about different levels. Scrivener was conceived for structuring narratives and words; you are talking about a different kind of structure, a kind which I generally find annoying and distracting for the most part.

This discussion is purely academic anyway, as I’ve already said that styles are coming in a future version of Scrivener for those who really want them.

Actually, styles were introduced by desktop publishing programs before Word. In particular, I believe Ventura came out a bit earlier than PageMaker, and did it because it was meant for long-document writing. Hence the need for some kind of structure/styles control. I think this was one of the great accomplishments in personal computing: moving form from rough text to the beauty of the style. Beauty had a meaning.

I know how refreshing it is, after all the typeface orgy of the following years, to return to plain text. However, styles are not how text appears, but what its function is. A text preset, like in Apple’s preset system, is named after the font and body. A style is named after its function. You can have:

Heading 1 {Helvetica regular 12} and
Body Text {Helvetica regular 12}

Heading and Body will appear the same, but have a different function. Again, Nisus’ outliner will show their different function, even if they will look the same in the editor. But you can use fonts and bodies to use the visual language as part of the textual communication. It’s something that can be done, and personally I like it.

Contrary to presets, styles are coherence. Your Body Text will always appear in the same way, and it will mean the same at all its occurences.

Again, I have to disagree on calling italics and bold ‘reader-centric’. They are just signals. Italic calls for emphasis, and this works as well for the reader and the author.

I would say that following the classic (Chicago style for the Americans) grammar rules would help. Italics stops before the space, but includes punctuation. We can change this rule, but use it coherently in the whole text. Local rules are hard to decipher, general rules are much easier.