Search for text style/format?


Is there any way to search through a document and highlight, say, all the text that is italicized, or all the text that is bolded? (If not, this would make a killer feature!) Just wondering, as I have an urgent need to do this with a 400 page document.

–Andy H.

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Almost a decade ago, subgeniuszero posted the above question regarding searching for a particular Scrivener Style. I did not see any responses to the subgeniuszero post.

A lot has happened over the last decade, to say the least!

I’m wondering if in the current Mac version there exists an option to search for a particular Scrivener Style to speed up a document-wide change I need to make within my 500+ page document.

As I’ve mentioned in earlier postings, I use Scrivener Styles extensively, including dozens I have created myself. On average, I may use one or more self-defined Scrivener Styles a half-dozen to several dozen times on a single page.

Having the ability to search for a particular Scrivener Style, (perhaps using RegEx ??) would be extremely helpful.

As subgeniuszero put it, this “would make a killer feature!”.


Yes, you can search for a style. Sadly, it does not highlight or select all the matches.

Matches are highlighted when searching for a word or phrase, but unfortunately, they are not selected, so you can’t do anything to them all at once.


Hi drmajorbob,

Thank you so much for pointing out something I perhaps should have been aware of.

Fortunately, I do not need to have the Style I am searching for actually selected. I need to do some rework on each occurance, but specific to each occurrence. The Find Next feature will be especially helpful as a way to ensure I won’t miss any occurrence of the Style I need to modify.

So the ‘Formatting Finder’ will work PERFECTLY for what I need.

Thank you Ssssoooo much for your help.

Happy holidays! (Are we allowed to say that here?)
Back to editing …

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There’s not a lot we can’t say, so long as it isn’t openly hostile.

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Hi drmajorbob,

Thanks for the update …

After working with Scrivener (with LaTeX) as intensely as I have for the last two years, I am continually amazed at the flexibility built into the software. And sometimes there occurs a little surprise that makes writing and editing all the more pleasant.

Such is the case with the Edit > Find > Find by Formatting… feature. I was pleasantly surprised that not only am I able to search for the traditional, original-as-shipped-with-the-software-package Scrivener Styles, but that I could also search for the custom Scrivener Styles that I had created that I use almost every-hour-of-every-day that I write.

I recognize that there may be future cases where having all instances of a particular Style highlighted or selected, but for now, I am grateful for my new-found capability that you so graciously pointed out.

Thanks again,

I would LOVE to be able to select the matches in a search. It’s not terribly important for styles, but other searches … for them it would be very useful.

Can you provide an example ?

I’m picturing a global search and replace function (which already exists) but my guess is you are thinking of a more powerful and/or comprehensive capability.

Thanks for your comment,

(I don’t mean search and replace, which can’t do anything but replace text with other text.)

Do your search and hit Italics, bold, delete, or anything else, and you’ll see it affects only one match. Not all the matches or the ones you see highlighted.

In addition, when searching for styles, only one match is highlighted.

That WOULD be powerful …

One challenge that comes to mind is how Scrivener could code the Edit > Undo and Edit > Redo functions? There would be a LOT to keep track of …

There is NO denying how useful such a function would be, but I can imagine how quickly a project can be destroyed (and the howls and pleas for help from those of us who don’t do regular, reliable backups) with such a feature, making an Edit > Undo for such a feature an absolute requirement.

My guess is someone, somewhere either already has such a feature already implemented or at least planned, despite the obstacles. The question is, are there others here clamoring for such a feature.

To dream is to create …
66 hours* to the JWST launch … (fingers crossed)

I don’t think it would be any harder than highlighting all the matches, but that may be system code they didn’t have to write. As for destroying projects, incautious users destroy them a lot already. I’d be perfectly safe using the feature.

Yes, let’s hope the telescope launch goes perfectly.

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That is true with the Find by Formatting tool, which is designed more for locating styled text one by one. If you want to bulk convert text from one style to another or perform other formatting tasks, right-clicking on the style in the style panel and selecting all style is what you want. You can also put the cursor in any styled text and use a similar command from the Edit ▸ Select ▸ submenu (which also allows for ad hoc formatting selection).

Alas, there is a bit of a bug in multiple selections like that when combined with search and replace though. I’m not sure if that is something that can be solved in the text engine though. Search and replace will only function in the first selection.

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Thank you! I knew about this feature, but somehow I thought it only highlighted text, not selected it, and neglected to test for it.

I’d still like the same thing for text searches, of course. That’s how I could apply a style to every instance of a character name, for instance.

2 posts were split to a new topic: Creating a custom verse text box