Remove First Line Indent on First Line of Text File Only

Scrivenr for Windows v1.0.3

Hi, is there a way to remove the first line indent of the first paragraph for each text file, leaving the subsquent indents in place? At the moment, I am manually moving the marker on the ruler to delete the first line indent, after I have completed the text file. This is fine, but when I compile it to Word 2007, the first line indent is back. I’ve been looking for a way to format the Word doc with first line indent removed on first paragraph only, but have not found a solution yet. Maybe I am going about this in a long winded way, I’d be grateful for any advice, thank you :smiley:

The indent is likely popping back because you’ve got a compile preset that cleans up formatting. You can access all of those options in the compile screen by clicking the blue arrow to expand it. Basically, the “Formatting” section of that can alter the way your document appears, sometimes quite radically (there is one compile preset, for instance, that will turn your book into an indented outline using just the titles). So you could opt to switch that off, but sometimes that feature can be more good than harm. Consider: it lets you “be sloppy” in the editor. You don’t have to worry about always formatting everything flawlessly while you write. It also lets you choose a more comfortable working environment. You don’t have to learn to love the font you need to submit with. So there are certainly advantages to leaving that on. It does mean, however, that custom stuff like this isn’t always going to be as easy to do since Scrivener reaches for uniformity in the output.

We do have plans for adding more “exceptions” over time. At the cost of complexity, more features for doing common things like this, can be worth it. So this isn’t a permanent problem. For now though, you need to choose between worrying about formatting while you write, or just waiting until after you compile and cleaning up the document in Word at the end. Most veteran users will recommend the latter, because often you’ll find that there is always going to be at least one thing you need to use Word to polish off the document—so you might as well just do it then, instead of in the Scrivener editor while you write and edit, especially if you find that stuff detracts from creativity.

Of course in this particular case, that all might be academic and best remembered for your next project. It sounds like you’ve already reached the end of this one, in terms of principle writing? If so, it would obviously be easier to just turn off the “Override text and notes formatting” option in the Formatting pane; especially if you’ve been all of this time working as though this were a normal word processor where what you see in front of your is what your output will look like. That means it already looks good, most likely.

Thank you, that’s really useful. I suppose I’m just trying to cut down and not duplicate tasks in both Scrivener and Word. I do like the flexibility of working with a comfortable font and display in Scrivener, so I wouldn’t want to lose that option for the sake of a bit of formatting in Word. But as I haven’t found a way in Word to remove the first line indent (but there must be a way for existing documents, surely!) I was hoping to find it in Scrivener, as it’s such a pain to go through and do it manually each time I compile to Word, and as it seems to be a requisite for standard manuscripts I’m surprised that it’s not an easy thing to do automatically in Word.

I’ll keep my fingers crossed that an exception pops up sometime then :smiley:

Definitely so, it’s one of those things that can end up sucking a lot of time and it’s also the kind of thing that is pretty easy to handle automatically because the appearance of them follow predictable formatting rules. I really don’t know why manuscripts are expected to have this level of detail in them, as that seems to me more a job for the typesetters, but I see more and more expected of the author these days. As I say, we’ll eventually have a little checkbox you can hit in the compiler with a few common procedural options (like drop the indent after a blank line, or a line that is centre aligned) that will handle 99% to 100% of these and you’ll never have to worry about it again.

Word misses a few surprising things like that. You’d think for all of its features it would have a few for writers. Section handling in general is just not there, you have to type in the section break by hand and the software doesn’t consider that to be a structural break in the document navigator. You can kind of pull this off with stylesheets but it isn’t elegant. Basically you’d have a “Body (no indent)” style that is triggered after any title, and then after that paragraph it triggers a regular “Body” with an indent. Navigating the stylesheet system in Word can be tough though.