Second Paragraph for Bullet / Increase Indent Doesn't Seem to Compile to Word from Scrivener for Windows (3.0)


Pardon me if this has been asked. I haven’t been able to find a solution by searching.

Frequently, when I create a bulleted list, I want a second paragraph for a bullet to be indented at the same level, like this:

  • Bullet’s first paragraph
    Second paragraph
  • Another bullet

I’ve tried to do this with Increase Indent () but that only produces a first-line indent when I compile to Word.

What is the proper way to do this?

Thank You,


Scrivener Version: (1274136) 64-bit - 28 Apr 2021
Project Format: Non-Fiction Manuscript
Microsoft® Word 2019 MSO (Version 2110 Build 16.0.14527.20270) 64-bit

I’m not a word processing expert, but to the best of my knowledge there isn’t a really good way of adding additional paragraphs to a single bullet point. The best technique I’ve seen, that preserve the integrity of the list, is the result that is produced by Pandoc’s DOCX generator, when requested to do so. It sets the secondary paragraph’s bullet style to a space character, thus rendering the marker invisible. Semantically that approach doesn’t feel like a good one to me—it’s then more list items, not one list item with multiple paragraphs—but that seems to be how word processing approaches that (and many other) problems: just make it look right at whatever cost.

That said, Scrivener has no such facility on its own, lists can only have one marker type, and in the Windows version you can’t even set custom markers. So I guess you could follow that same principle though, where if we are going to abandon logical formatting and just try to make it look right:

  1. Pretend its a list instead of actually making a list. Create a paragraph ruler style with some tab stops and line indenting then type in the bullets by hand (consider creating a substitution to insert the bullet markers more easily).
  2. Subsequent paragraphs are then just tabbed twice, skipping over the middle tab stop where the marker would be typed.

The next best way I know of is to insert line breaks (Insert ▸ Break ▸ Line Break). The main problem with the approach is that separate lines within a “paragraph” (or bullet line in this case) only share the overall line-height setting for the paragraph. Paragraph padding added before or after applies to the whole paragraph, not lines within it. Thus to introduce any kind of vertical spacing you need to insert multiple line breaks, which may break the overall look of the document if such spaces are not used otherwise. The same limitations come up for first-line indent settings, which again apply to the whole paragraph, not individual lines within them. (159.6 KB)

So if you compile the attached sample project, using the given settings, you will see the two possible methods demonstrated. The “Modern Spacing” compile format demonstrates how the line-break method can work, provided the overall look of the document uses spacing for paragraphs rather than indents. If we are spacing paragraphs apart anyway, than the empty lines introduced within the bullet line fit in perfectly. The first method, of creating a pseudo-list, also works fine with this kind of formatting.

The second test, “Modern Indents”, shows where the line-break method breaks down. You’d probably have to clean up lists created this way in your word processor after compiling. If you flip to the pseudo-list though, you can see how we could format the style used for that independently from the body text, and thus have more control over it, making it look good in the overall document.

Like I said, I’m not an expert at this though, maybe someone will come along with a better idea.

Dear Amber,

Thank you again for your help!

The line break method is fine with me.

I just need to get the document to the publisher and have them understand that the second paragraph is part of the bullet and not a new paragraph outside of the list.

They will typeset it properly for me.


1 Like

Dear Amber,

One more follow on question.

I was using {paragraph}{increase indent}{increase indent} and would now like to replace those control codes with your line break solution.

Can I do a search-and-replace to accomplish that in my project using Scriviner? How? I have about 100k words so it’d be tedious to do by hand.

Thank You,

You probably can’t. The command changes the paragraph format to increase indentation; it doesn’t add tab characters or anything else a search could find.

I’m talking about the commands in the attachment. I’m not entirely sure what you mean by {paragraph} et cetera.

Thank you. Just typing the “enter” key produces the paragraph mark.

Can I search-and-replace the content.rtf files in the project using a text editor in batch mode?

Can I search-and-replace the content.rtf files in the project using a text editor in batch mode?

It would be better to use the File ▸ Sync ▸ with External Folder command for this, as editing the internal components of your project directly is not advised.

And yes, for this you probably would need a word processor with more advanced search and replace functions than what Scrivener has. It doesn’t have anything by way of formatting search really. The closest you could get to it is Edit ▸ Select ▸ Similar Formatting and then running search and replace on the selected text rather than the whole document. Whether that will actually work for what you need depends on how you’ve formatted things though.