Reformat whole document at once

This is my first post – I’ve only been using Scrivener for a few days. So let’s start with praise.

For years I have wanted a program that would let me write but also have a continuous built-in outliner for moving sections around. I found Scrivener and it seems like a dream come true. I got it mostly because I’m starting my first novel (after 15 years writing ads, television, and books on magic), and it seemed immediately useful for that purpose. But it seems like every time I use it I think of something else I am working on that will be perfect for Scrivener. I bought Scrivener less than 48 hours after downloading it. Thanks! This is a great writing tool and I am very glad I have it.

All right, time for the question.

I have a large document with 72 chapters, with very inconsistent formatting. I’d like to be able to select all the chapters and change the font and margin/indent/line spacing settings, or apply a style, all at once. So far I can’t figure out how to do that.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Hi Pete,

Many thanks for your comments - I’m glad Scrivener is working out well for you. I also spent years looking for such a program; the frustration eventually led me to write Scrivener, in fact.

Scrivener doesn’t really have proper styles, but you can apply a format to many documents at once. Go to the Text Editing pane in the Preferences and make sure that the default text attributes in the text view there are set to the format you want for all your documents. Once you’ve done that, select the documents you want to format in the binder and go to Documents > Convert > Formatting > to Default Text Style.

Note also that it doesn’t matter too much if your documents don’t have consistent formatting, as one of the features of Compile Draft is that you can apply uniform formatting to the whole document when it is exported or printed.

Thanks again and all the best,


Thanks for the quick reply. I tried your method and it worked, but not quite the way I expected. I selected everything in the Binder, but it seems that the text only got converted in documents that were exposed in the binder. Any documents that were in a folder whose contents were not revealed (i.e. the triangle pointed right instead of down) were not changed.

Is this the way things are supposed to work? And if so, is there a shortcut that will open all the triangles at once? Wait – I found this one on my own: click the triangle next to the Draft folder, close (i.e. click the triangle to point right), then option-click the triangle. This exposes every nested document and folder.

Thanks again for the quick reply.

Hi Pete, yes, this is the way it is supposed to work. It only works on documents that are explicitly selected, not those that are subdocuments of those that are selected. As you have discovered, Option-clicking opens all of the contents of a folder in the binder (this is actually an OS X-wide shortcut for opening all children).
All the best,