Set illustrations [and other content] to always be on the right hand page

I acquired Scrivener to format a book I’m printing for personal use. I chose the 6 x 9 book format.
There are several full page illustrations involved. How do I get the program to compile them to print so when in a book they will be on the recto/right hand page?

I have spent over a week trying to get this done and have over 20 pages of notes on what I’ve tried to get everything to come out right, and this one has me stumped.

I would also like new text sections to start on the right hand page, and that also doesn’t seem to be something I can set.

Currently my set up is:
Novel Format
1st illustration
text 1
text 2… etc.

Front Matter
Title page
Blank page


This isn’t something the software can do. The expectation here is that you’d be doing final layout and design in tools more inclined toward that process. Scrivener is more just for the early-ish writing phases. The compiler can help cut down on a lot of busy work though, setting styles, basic formatting and so on.

As a matter of fact (to add to or complete @AmberV’s reply), once you are done with writing the content, it should be real quick to fix in LibreOffice (free, open source).
(There are, of course, far more advanced apps as far as editing a book layout goes, but based on your description of your needs, that one, which is free, should do.)

All you need to do is to compile your Scrivener project (your book) without the images, to your 6 x 9 format.
[As AmberV said, there is a lot of very convenient pre-formatting that can be done in Scrivener. I guess that it all depends on how much you’ll want to learn the software at this point…]

Then insert the images back in, using this view mode in LO:

(That above is a screenshot of LibreOffice Writer, bottom right corner of the main interface.)

This would also be an easy fix, the same way, inserting page breaks where needed.

→ You must start from the beginning of your book, as each insert will push the following content further down one page.
(Otherwise, should you have already an image inserted further down the book, that image would then end up on a left side page…)

If your book has a table of content, that will have to be fixed too, once you are done inserting images and fixing in page-breaks.

Thank you both. That certainly explains why I couldn’t find a way within the program to do it. I will poke at LibreOffice, I guess.

When I suggested using heading styles and such, the idea there was to make this a 30-second fix in the layout phase, rather than having to scroll through the document, inserting manual page breaks (a bad idea to use in general), inserting images by hand, and so on.

LibreOffice: page breaks on recto settings for the Heading 1 style

Generally speaking, layout and formatting should be handled by the stylesheet. One just needs to get a styled document out of Scrivener, which is where the majority of the compile setup work should go, disable all of the “page break” insertion in the Separators pane (good for quick-and-dirty proofing, problematic for actual final design), and then once the document is loaded up in desktop publishing software, a template or stylesheet is applied to the structure we’ve given to the text, and seconds later you have a 90% finished book. The rest is mainly going through page by page and fixing awkward lines, widows and so forth. It’s not unusual for that phase of the project to take a week or so—and for obvious reasons you really want to be doing that in page layout software. That’s only way to do it.

Same goes for ToC—that should be inserted by the DTP, from the heading structure. The thing in Scrivener is just for quick proofing. I wouldn’t even use it for that honestly, it’s so easy to insert a ToC in a word processor.

Images should have styles on them, so the same sort of treatment we’ve given to headings, only now to generate page breaks that only appear on the left side of the page, from the stylesheet, not as manually inserted breaks and so on, and probably a break after the caption if you want full-page images on the verso.

So I guess overall that’s the tactic I would strive for in Scrivener. Think less about formatting and more about giving yourself a solid skeleton on the text so that styles can handle all of this dirty work for us quickly and in a procedural fashion. Maybe even consider something much simpler to start from like a manuscript format. There is a reason publishers ask for a basic setup like that: it’s easy to design from a standardised and abstract declaration of intent rather than something highly formatted already. With a tuned workflow, a compile Format paired with a stylesheet in LibreOffice, one can be quite efficient with this part of the project.


Thanks for the screenshot.
I didn’t know LO could do that. :slight_smile:

Yep… Indeed, much better than what I suggested.

On the Mac, you could put each image in a document of its own, give those documents a section type — call it “recto”, for instance — and tell Compile to start those sections on a recto page, as in the screenshot.

Windows Scrivener doesn’t have the setting, though, and if it did, Compile would add blank pages as needed to make it work. Using the setting (on a Mac) to start chapters on a recto page is reasonable, but doing the same thing for every image seems a bit ugly.

Thanks. I’m running Windows, unfortunately.

At first I thought this would be the solution for adding page breaks. I could live with reformatting my word doc each time I compile (to see if page breaks break my publisher’s defaults). Then I recognized that it brings up another substantial disadvantage: the definition of header or footer with placeholder <$pageGroupTitle> gets useless (at least for me).

Scrivener documentation for this placeholder:

Gets replaced with the title of the document that first comes after the page break most recently preceding the header or footer in which it occurs.

So I need the page break within Scrivener because without any page break the content of the <$pageGroupTitle> placeholder in the header (or footer) remains the same from the first page until the last page. I don’t think that the content of header or footer should be described as “formatting”.

Or do I mix something up?

To clarify on one point, I wouldn’t waste time reformatting from scratch every time. What works best is to have a template or dummy document with all of your styles and document settings designed the way you want the document to work, and then import the compiled file into it (however that is done in Word, with LibreOffice it is Insert ▸ Text from File...). In most cases it should take a few seconds to get a largely finished result from what was compiled.

As for page headers and footers, that is another thing I would leave to the template setup, for the reason you give. You would want an odd-even page setup so that each side can have its own header and footer, most likely, and insert the correct field value:

For LibreOffice users, you would add a field (Ctrl+F2), from the Document tab, using “Chapter name”, assuming you’ve set up the chapter numbering feature to use the heading 1, heading 2, etc. styles.

This is an example of a template file in LibreOffice:

Note that the chapter numbering is dynamic, added by the style, Scrivener only outputs “Black Book” here. The Heading 2 style (this template has parts) forces right-page placement and assigns a “Chapter Page” page style with no header and a page number in the footer. Subsequent pages in the chapter use the Left and Right page styles automatically, and have the correct fields inserted.

So Scrivener would be doing very little in this case—mainly just making sure styles are assigned correctly.

I don’t think that the content of header or footer should be described as “formatting”.

Ideally it should be though, one should be able to take raw styled text and drop it into a different document design and get a different layout automatically. The notion that it should be static text and forced section breaks to achieve dynamic data like what the current chapter is, is a bit on the “brute force” spectrum.


2 posts were merged into an existing topic: Empty line above titles after compiling?

Am I understanding this correctly?

I have a style sheet from the publisher which is a Word.docx. I could

  • Import it into Libre
  • Save the Word.docx as a Libre template (Style_sheet_publisher1_template)
  • I could then open the template as a dummy project, and import other docs into it? or maybe paste match style?
  • Alternatively, would this template now be a page style in Libre that I could use in the manner you suggest here -

[Edited to correct terminology (I think)]

I couldn’t speak much to the particular details that would come about through opening a .docx into LibreOffice and then expecting it to “just work”, for this particular workflow. It would, in my experience, require a little bit of adjustment required to really make it shine. This goes back to what I was writing about in the other thread, of how the DOCX format in general seems a bit limited to me compared to ODT, when it comes to this kind of workflow.

Page styles, for example, are something I don’t think Word has even the slightest concept of, so it would surprise me if this .docx file you have has anything more than what was generated automatically just so the software doesn’t break.

If I were to embark on a similar project myself, I would probably load the .docx in Word and read its intent, and attempt to translate that by hand into a fresh new LibreOffice document. But it’s hard to say when giving advice via a few sentences of description. Who knows, maybe mysteriously this one template works fabulously without any modifications at all.

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I will work on making it a nice shiny page style. :blush:
Thank you!

Just to add to the mix. For a Scrivener (structured with styles+section types) project, using Pandoc as the intermediary with the compiler: Pandoc can utilise a LibreOffice document as a template directly:

Pandoc takes the ODT and extracts the stylesheets to apply to your output directly. In this workflow, you can use named styles in Scrivener and these should get converted to the same named styles in LibreOffice (at least it does so for Word)…

I think if Scrivener could do this direclty (use a template ODT or DOCX, it is trivial to do this technically as it is just a file copy) it would be a great feature update for Scrivener 4 users…


Yes, I do have some ideas written up to make this whole process better. It’s not difficult to drop an ODT/DOCX in the right folder and set up Processing, but on the other hand—shell stuff is a foreign universe to some people. Being able to distribute a Format that has a design built right into it would be pretty nifty, and as you say, not really that difficult to do technically.

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That is a pretty nifty trick to add to my collection! I’m extra glad I switched to Libre! {snoopy dancing}
Thanks nontropo!

from Pandoc’s user’s guide (21 Mar 2024) (emphasis mine)

For best results, the reference ODT should be a modified version of an ODT produced using pandoc. The contents of the reference ODT are ignored, but its stylesheets are used in the new ODT. If no reference ODT is specified on the command line, pandoc will look for a file reference.odt in the user data directory (see --data-dir). If this is not found either, sensible defaults will be used.
To produce a custom reference.odt, first get a copy of the default reference.odt: pandoc -o custom-reference.odt --print-default-data-file reference.odt. Then open custom-reference.odt in LibreOffice, modify the styles as you wish, and save the file.

Just fyi for those with a Word.docx instead of a Libre.odt, the instructions are the same, with a bit more elaboration.

Eh yup! (But I can follow step by step instructions very well! :wink: )