Setting Fonts/Styles for Section, Chapter, Scene Heads, Etc

So, I am new to styles in Scrivener, but I have set them in other programs. When I go to scroll through the document, I see huge section and chapter heads, which I don’t like. I want to be able to see the manuscript as I scroll through in the format it will look like when I turn it to Word and then import it into Indesign.

I tried changing it through the Styles Panel, but that didn’t work.

Can someone help? Thank you!

Please read at least the introduction to the chapter about Styles in the Scrivener manual. Scrivener Styles do not work like Styles in other programs, and assuming that they do is likely to make you very frustrated.

Also, if you haven’t already, I’d recommend taking a look at our Interactive Tutorial, available from the Help menu. It’s a good overview and explains how Scrivener differs from conventional word processors.

To get that out of the way first, it definitely should be working like styles in most programs, so it would be best to describe exactly what steps you took in attempts to do so.

As for the rest, unless you are very strict about formatting with yourself, that’s generally not how Scrivener is meant to be used. It would probably be a good idea to work through the interactive tutorial at this time, as that’s a big topic, but the whole design premise of the software is that you write in a comfortable environment rather than writing in an environment that looks like a print-out or a book. (If that is comfortable you, that’s fine, and you can write in an environment like that even if your editor wants something very different, like Courier.)

My advice would be to forget about formatting right now, if you’re just starting out with a new book. That’s a conversation for months from now. For the moment, just find fonts you like, and set up styles so they are comfortable to your eyes.

Another thing to think about: that list to your left that lets you create titles for sections and indent them topically? Try to start thinking of that as your headings, not text you type into an editor. Scrivener works best with short sections, and can be easily set up to generate headings on output for you, from those names in the list.

The Styles panel won’t change the font used for titles in Scrivenings view, which is what I suspect they are describing.

Yes, if they have turned on titles in Scrivenings then that’s a global setting in the Appearance: Scrivenings: Fonts tab.

Thank you so much! I just used the style panel and so it probably didn’t work. It is much easier for me to scroll through from time-to-time and see the headings not so large. The panel on the left works wonders for following sections and headings.

Again, thank you for your quick reply and excellent advice!

That is exactly it! Now I know!

Can I change the global settings for these in Scrivenings?

To make sure we’re on the same page, you’ve used the View ▸ Text Editing ▸ Show Titles in Scrivenings menu command, and are looking for a way to make those smaller? If so, that’s the global setting I was referring to above.

As for the styles panel, try using it like this:

  1. Type in some sample text to work with in the editor, and set it to the style you want to change.
  2. Make your changes to the font size, etc.
  3. Open the styles panel, right-click on the style, and select the redefine option. Usually you can just save the settings window that comes up without reviewing it, and after doing so all other instances of this styled text will change to match the revised look.

And just to be sure, in case we are talking about two different things, styles are like styles in a word processor where if you change them in a document, it only changes that document. In Scrivener the “document” is the whole project. So it’s not a global setting, but when you start a new project in the future, you can import your revisions from the previous project via the styles panel, with the ... button.

In the future there will be a way to set your current project’s styles as the global default for all new projects, too. They just haven’t had time to put that in yet.

I have View ▸ Text Editing ▸ Show Titles in Scrivenings marked. It will not allow me to change the section heading default size and font in Scrivener. Maybe there is not option?

I don’t know! That option works fine for me, maybe you have to click out of Scrivenings and back in for it to refresh. Try a different font or two as well, maybe the one you chose is something it doesn’t like for some reason.

Okay. Thank you, Amber!

I am sorry for the delay. Thank you so much. I am taking your advice.


When I go into Scrivenings with Show Titles in Scrivenings selected, I am coming up with my section heads in Sitka Heading marked No Style. When I go to select the section heading it won’t allow me to change it to anything. Does that make sense?

I am not using the Front Matter template.

Here is the image. Can you help a little more? Thank you.

These titles are not a part of your text, they are added by the software, in between text sections, to help you see where you are in the binder outline. They directly relate to the names of things you see in the binder, and changes made in one place will show up in the other.

So no, they aren’t styled and cannot be, they don’t “exist” in that sense, in the editor.

Thank you!! You are my life saver.