Single-spaced? Double-spaced? Can I control this?

I bought Scrivener a while ago, but haven’t really turned to it until now. I have v for Windows.

I think this is a Compiling question, since the line spacing on the Editor screen doesn’t really matter.

I’m starting out with the default Short Story format. I’ve noticed that the Compiler thinks that an 8.5x11" paper sheet, with 1" margins all around, has about 25 lines. All of the lines of text appear to be double-spaced, and the paragraphs seem to be separated from one another by four empty lines not two. (Yes, in my Editor I do separate my paragraphs with a double-enter. Just as I’m doing in this post.)

Back in the days when we wrote our drafts by hand (or on typewriters) (for me, that’s about two-thirds of a lifetime ago), I learned to double-space my drafts. Why? So that my reviewer would have plenty of room as he settled down to write down all the things I had gotten wrong.

But the final version, of course, was delivered single-spaced. With paragraphs flagged either by beginning with an indent or by being separated with a single blank line.

I’m not seeing this in my compiled Scrivener file, and I didn’t tell Scrivener to double-space anything. How can I control this?


Everything related to formatting that is (or is not) different from what you see in the editor after you’ve compiled is handled in a compile format.
These are what you see listed in the leftmost column of the main compile panel.

Double-click the one you compiled with, duplicate when prompted.
You’ll then be able to have a look around, and tweak what you want different.

Run a few tests. Don’t be afraid to destroy the compile format, you’ve just made a clone of it.
You can always start over with a fresh new duplicate.

I would advise that you refer to the manual, about the compile process and compile formats.
(They can get overwhelming if you dive in blindly.)


Thank you for your reply.

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I’d also point to our 4-part series titled “Getting Your Work Out” on the Mac tutorial videos page

You can click on the dropdown and select “macOS” to see its video page.

I’m suggesting you view the macOS compile videos because our developer has not recorded a Windows-specific set of compile videos.

While some of the settings shown on the Mac version are different from the PC version, the overall compile process and the steps needed to customize the compile settings are similar. You might find seeing that process demonstrated is helpful as you dig into customizing your settings.


Thanks, Ruth. This looks useful. I’ll take a look at them.

Outis, are you submitting to a specific person who has stipulated single spacing in the final manuscript? Or generally to literary agents and publishers? The reason I ask is that the prevailing thinking on spacing has evolved (unless you’re self-producing your own e-book) and they now want lines double spaced. In fact, a lot has changed since the good old typewriter days. I’m a veteran of that era too - on a manual machine, if you please!

The standard submission format now appears to require that lines be double-spaced throughout; new paragraphs indented half an inch; no extra blank line between paragraphs; only one space after a period, not two (but always check a firm’s individual guidelines because details can vary).

I’m nowhere near the Compile stage yet, but am glad to learn that I can do test-runs of them. I’ll investigate that as soon as I’ve got my feet under me, as they say here.

Huh. First I simply posted my reply as yet-another “reply in this thread.” Then I realized that I should post it as a reply to you, Bonnie. So I deleted that post and tried to put its content here.

And then the BB’s software complained that the content of this reply was “too similar” to the post that I had just put up – and had just deleted.

Nutz. I’ll restore my remarks in that one. With any luck, you’ll see a notification about my reply that’s been generated by … at least one of them.


Dang. And it insists that the post is deleted, and cannot be modified again. Well, let’s see whether it will accept my previous content here. Gack.

Hi, Bonnie. TBH, I’m nowhere near to submitting to anyone. I simply wanted to look-over the few pages of this short story that I had written so far, on-screen, in a single “document,” more-or-less as you might see a short story in (say) a magazine. In my naivete, I had mashed the button “manuscript.”

After seeing these replies, and poking around a little with Scr, I began to grasp the wide differences between compiling something as a “manuscript” and compiling it for final publication. (Among other things, yes I discovered that manuscripts that are being submitted – to an agent, to a publisher, whatever – are generally expected to be double-spaced. Ah.)

So now, as far as writing is concerned, I’m simply stalled. Once I build up a head of steam once more, I’ll take another look at the (bewilderingly many) options Scr offers.

One thing that colors all this, in my head, is my experience with word processors, going back to WordPerfect for DOS in the 1990s (and Perfect Writer in the 1980s). They gave me much more granular control of things like line-spacing than M$ Word gave me, even back then, and I loved them for it. (I think I’m still in mourning for WordPerfect … )

To have no direct control of so simple a feature as line-spacing (in Scr) – to find that that feature is buried below layers and layers of “formats” and “styles” and other stuff (I still haven’t found exactly where that feature sits) … well, it took me aback. Still does, kinda. I’m kind of nervous about selecting a style/format that someone else has defined, and trusting them to have given me what I need even though it doesn’t “look right” to me.

But – I’m determined not to be a Luddite. I’m willing to work with The Program. Once I figure out how to do that.

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If you only want to get an idea of what your text looks like on the page, I have a feeling that you don’t need Compile yet (not that I’ve ever ventured near the thing). But you can set up the document you’re using in Editor to your desired requirements via the formatting bar at the top (which looks like the one in an ordinary word processor, and offers font, point size, bold, underline, italics, line spacing and all the usual goodies). Just put it into single line spacing for working purposes (if that’s your preference), with your chosen font & size, etc. You’ll need to click on the text in the main body of the document for the format bar to activate.

Bottom line, Editor and Binder are your friends. Stick with them until some of the dust settles. (It’s still settling for me too.) I loaded in a bunch of dummy pages ripped from GutenbergOrg to experiment with - thus does Alice in Wonderland hang out with Huck Finn and Ebenezer Scrooge and Dracula. I’ll miss them when I graduate to Real Work.

I’ve also read (don’t ask me where: my brain is a giant bowl of mush from information-overload) that it’s probably best at this tenderfoot stage to choose “No Style” (click the drop-down menu of Styles to the left on the formatting bar) which presumably keeps things as uncomplicated as possible.

Once you’re happy with your page settings, if you wish to make this a blank template for all your pages, first clone a copy of the DOCUMENT* in your Binder which you’ve been using: Right click on its icon in the Binder’s sidebar, then hit “Duplicate”. Rename the new copy “My Template” or something generic like that, open it up, and strip all the text out. You’ll probably also want to set a half-inch indent tab.

Then go to the Format menu, scroll down to “Make formatting default” and click on it. You’ll be asked whether you want this to apply only to the project you’re currently working in, or all of them; so just pick whichever option you like. This means that any time you create a fresh page, it will be set up the way you want it (though you can always change things on an individual new page, which won’t affect the template).

To see your work as it would look on the printed page, from within the Editor:

Go to Page View (View > Text Editing > Show Page View) which displays either one page or a double spread, depending on which you select.

From this you can read your work on your screen, or print it out (File > Print Current Document), or save a PDF of it. (I’m on a Mac so I’m not sure how Windows does that these days, but I seem to recall it’s through its print command.)

To get back out of Page View, retrace those same steps cited above, but now you click Hide Page View.

Speaking of the File menu, make sure you have your page set to “US Letter” if you’re in America, or A4 if in Britain/Ireland - not sure what the rest of Europe does. So: File > Page Setup > Paper Size and choose from its drop-down menu.

  • (I shouted “document” in caps above because you need to beware of “Save As” in the File menu, for reasons I can’t even remember - but they were pretty daunting so steer clear for now.)

Whew… guess that’s enough bombardment for now! Hate ta tell ya what time it is here…

PS: I love that word Gack. My new fave.


Thanks! I’ll take a look at this.

“gack” - you’re welcome. A word quietly lifted from an ex-friend from college days (a little over 50 yrs ago … gack!) …

The trick is to file off the serial numbers before anyone else sees it … :wink: :sunglasses: