Section Styles Not Working in Word Doc

I have finished compiling a manuscript in Scrivener. I intend to layout the actual book with Affinity Publisher (AP). I need to use an MSWord .docx file to import the text into AP.

I created the document in Scrivener using a handful of Section Styles that I need to work with when I get the doc in to AP.

The first-problem I have encountered is that the Section Styles don’t appear to be compiling into the Word file.

I looked at the Word file, and I see that the Section Styles are listed, but they don’t seem to be working. If I try to modify a Style in Word, nothing happens to the text that uses that style.

The ultimate problem I seem to be having is that the Styles are not importing into AP at all, and it does appear I am going to have to work with those styles some to get the book design to look right.

I realize that both of these programs (Word and AP) are outside the immediate purview of L&L, but on the off chance that somebody else has seen this issue, I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask here.



Have you also tried exporting your files ?



Perhaps you could also have a look and see what other formats you could compile to, and try those. (?)

Well, that’s an interesting idea and one I can experiment with. I gather, though, that would mean exporting every chapter separately, and I’ve got 95 of the suckers…

I tried it with a pair of chapters, and then placed one of them in AP:

… which oddly presents its own unique dilemma: text I have formatted in Helvetica comes out looking ‘redacted’ (funny, because ‘redactions’ is part of this story). Not sure what’s up with that.

The good news is that when I place the exported test file into Publisher, it does appear that the Section Styles are working: when I change a font within a style, it changes in the document.

The question is whether making that change in one imported file will make the change to ALL of the imported files once they’ve placed into the document. I’ll have to experiment with that later today.

Also, I just found / added the font want to use to my system, so I guess the next thing I will have to do is go back to the Scrivener doc and see if I can make a universal font change. I don’t anticipate too much trouble with that.

This project is something I work on in the late day/early evenings, so I’ll know more later in the day. In the meantime this appears to have been quite helpful. Thank you.


Yeah, I would not consider export to be a valid workaround in most any scenario, as the compiler does a whole lot more for you than just making one document out of many.

At any rate, yes: styled text, both of paragraph and character nature, should be in the compiled RTF, DOCX or ODT file. The only reason they should not, is if you edit your compile format, and click the gear button in the Styles compile format pane and disable Include styles information in exported file. That’s something you would have to very deliberately do, as it is on by default for obvious reasons. (144.2 KB)

In the provided sample project you will find a variety of tests being performed here:

  • There is a block quote in “scene a”, to test paragraph styles coming from the editor.
  • There is an emphasis style, modified to enhance its visibility, in the first paragraph, to test character styles. Nothing else is styled in the content.
  • The compile Format has been set up to apply Body paragraph style (defined in the format itself) to all content, via the Section Layout in use for text items.
  • It also sets up two heading styles and assigns them to the titles in the two Section Layouts we are using.

When I open this ODT file in LibreOffice, I see styles assigned to everything in the document and a proper two-level heading outline. The two styles coming from the project (block quote and emphasis) are passed through, and the three styles defined in the compile settings are working too.

So in other words, we’re going to need more reproduction detail in order to see what you’re referring to—and it’s also worth compiling that project yourself and seeing if it works any better.


Given the fact that exporting the files rather than compiling them showed that Affinity Publisher (which I personally never even tried) supports the styles, I’d say that this above is most likely the reason they weren’t showing up in the previous attempt.

Definitely the first place to look. Make sure the setting is right.

I use a Scrivener > docx > InDesign workflow for certain things I do. Likely the set ups would be similar with AP. So, here’s how I roll:

My custom styles in Scriv are set to be preserved on compile (just as AmberV sez). My workflow does not involve any work in Word, so the docx is placed directly into my InDesign template.

My InDesign template has exactly matching custom style names defined in it, and this is what gives the styled blocks of text their finished look when the docx is placed. Works a treat.

Not sure that is helpful, but there you have it.

I wasn’t been able to get back to get back to this today, but want to acknowledge the suggestions. Hope to have time to try them before the end of the week.

With humble apologies for letting this languish for a week… I’m replying to both AmberV and Vincent_Vincent. Hopefully this reply comes up on somebody’s radar.

Are you guys talking bout the ‘Compile’ or the ‘Export’ function here. I ask because I don’t seem to be able to find “Include Styles Information…” in either.

My preference, if I can get it to work, would be to use the ‘Compile’ function.

Maybe I don’t know where to find the "Styles compile format pane’.

At the mention of “Compile” and “gear button” I assumed you meant the gear button in the Compile panel, but I don’t see anything about including styles here:

… so I must be looking in the wrong place, eh? I don’t see anything like that under the other buttons at the top/right of the Compile panel.

Nor do I see any such option in the Export dialogs (I’ll spare you another screenshot).

So, clearly, I dunno where to look for that option.

Pray tell, and



That’s precisely what I hope to do, only with Affinity Publisher instead of InDesign: Compile into .docx, import that into Publisher, finish design/publication work there.



Double click your compile format:
(Windows screenshots)

Duplicate if and when prompted.


Oh. THAT gear wheel! :man_facepalming:t2:

Well, I found it, followed the path and see…

… by which I assume it means the ‘exported’ Compile file. Right.

As you can see though, that box is (was) checked…

I’m gonna make another run at Placing (importing) into Publisher and see if I can find what I’m looking for; if not, I may have to make formatting changes (fonts, mostly) in Word.

I’m sure there’s a way to get this to work…



. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

That should technically have worked. :man_shrugging:

Perhaps (like some other softwares do), they list “user styles” or “custom styles” in a different category ?
Perhaps it actually worked, but you just can’t see it yet.

Well… I’m not sure what I was doing wrong before… OR what I’m doing right now… but I just did another Compile from Scrivener to Word, and placed the Word doc in Publisher and… all the Section Styles are now working in both places. I can pretty readily change the entire document via sections with a couple of clicks.

So, yay, #LittleVictories

Thanks for the help.



Pretty much the only thing that matters in the end.

I wonder why you say section styles when talking about styles. There are three style varieties – character (a), paragraph (¶), and both (¶a). None of them are directly related to anything I’d call a section.

Well you are technically correct, but you can at least use Section Types to “inject” Compiler styles into the heading or text, so there is an indirect relation at least… Maybe we can call Styles injected by Section types, Section Styles? :upside_down_face:

Does every formatting feature in Compile need “section” in its name? Italics? Bold? Centering? Separators? Paragraph spacing?

If it’s a style, it’s a style.

Well, my only point is that there are several types of styles, and while they are members of the same kind they serve different functions. We do on the forum have lots of problems, as you pointed out here, of users not being specific with their terminology. Editor styles are not the same as compiler styles, who may be used as-is or co-opted by a Section Type. These are different uses while they may all be classified as styles, just as a greyhound and dachshund may both be classified as dogs, but do not do exactly the same things.

I count three kinds of styles, which I listed before. Each can be overridden in Compile, making them compile format dependent, not section type dependent. Everything else is formatting, not styles.