Some questions on formatting...

This is my first forum post on Scrivener and I would just like to take a moment to say, what a fantastic application! I have been an interface and user experience designer for many years and owned many applications of all varieties and purposes. It is rare to see an application so fitted to its purpose and yet not confining, bravo.

I have used Scrivener for several projects to date but I am still a bit confused about formatting. I want to use the application for a specific template peer review paper and my essay portal. Each requires a specific formatting that I would like to emulate as closely as possible. In a way, like like writing for newspapers, I am trying to write to the ‘visual flow’. I am used to applications like Indesign where every formatting trick is possible, I am not looking for Scrivener to be all that.

The first question: How do I set the spacing between paragraphs? I would like to avoid the double line methodology. Can you set the amount of space after a paragraph? In other words, paragraph styling?

Second question: Can you setup double columns in Scrivener?

Thanks for any help.


Many thanks for your kind words - much appreciated, and of course it means all the more coming from a UI designer.

To answer your questions:

  1. Yes, you set this up via the spacing control in the format bar:

Choose “Other…” from the bottom of that menu to bring up the spacing options (or you can go to Format > Text > Spacing…). There you can set paragraph spacing before paragraphs, after paragraphs, and so on.

Note that the format bar appears in several locations, allowing you to set the formatting at different granularities. If you use the format bar above the editor, this will just set the spacing for the current text. If you wish to set the default for all projects, instead use the “Formatting” pane of the Preferences. If you wish a particular project to use a different default formatting from the rest of your projects, you can use Project > Text Preferences… to override the formatting preferences for that particular project. If you want to override the formatting just in your exported document, you can use the “Formatting” pane of Compile (choose to override the text and notes formatting and then set the formatting accordingly in that pane).

I hope that makes sense. In a nutshell, the Preferences allow you to choose the default formatting for new documents, the Project > Text Preferences… allow you to set different default formatting for a single project should you ever need to, the editor allows you complete control to change formatting for individual paragraphs as you see fit, and Compile allows you to export or print using different formatting if that is what you require - but if you just want to type using the formatting you will use in the final document then you can ignore that.

  1. There’s no way to view columns within Scrivener at the moment, no, although you can choose to have an exported RTF file arranged into columns.

Hope that helps.

All the best,