still having trouble with indents and margins

There’s probably a way to fix it, but it’s not obvious (which it should be), and I got so frustrated last time I took a break for a while, and now I’ve forgotten how to do everything. When I copy text in from Word, I get double-indented tabs. Margins seem to be quite a bit narrower than they are in Word. Line spacing is random. When I export back to rtf, they also don’t seem to be consistent–sometime tabs are normal, sometimes not. Sometimes line spacing is normal, sometimes not. Sometimes font is italicized when I told it to be, sometimes not. Sometimes quotes are smart, sometimes not. And here’s the kicker–I can’t always fix it in Word, even by deleting the line and retyping.

This isn’t cool. I need an exported file to be submissions ready or at least editable and fixable. I need to know what the margins are going to be. I can’t really think well if margins are double indented and if something is single spaced halfway through a paragraph and then double-spaced randomly.

I can’t really decide whether to work with this half-written novel in Scrivener or not. It seems to making it messier. Maybe it would be okay if I were starting from scratch? It just seems so cool, and I want that corkboard thing, but I just can’t figure out how to get my text into and out of the program. What am I missing?

I’m new to Scrivener too, so not an expert, but I’ve had similar problems. My work was imported from NewNovelist via rtf, and I had all sorts of weird issues with indents, margins, italics and so on, some of which were resistant to change. I got it fixed in the end using the ‘Convert formatting to default text style’ option, although there are still some issues with quotes, and occasionally a piece of text copied and pasted from elsewhere reverts to weirdness and has to be beaten into submission again.

Then the compile just plain didn’t work. The thing came out with almost every document set with silly margins so there was only one letter per line! This is a known bug, apparently, and will be fixed in due course. The pdf export worked, but rtf, docx, etc, were all screwy (although fixable in Word).

My view is that Scrivener is so vastly superior to anything else I’ve tried, I’m happy to give it the benefit of the doubt. It’s still in Beta, after all. But I’m not a published author and not likely to be (I just enjoy dabbling) so creating a submission-ready document isn’t a priority for me.

Thanks. I so get this theoretically. It’s like Word, OneNote, and the slide sorter view in PowerPoint combined into one thing. Except not as cool as Word, really, or OneNote, but almost. Worth it to get them together in one place. Anyway. It’s just that what am I supposed to do right now today? I’m not just playing here; this is my life’s work.

If it’s not fixable, even in Word, then I don’t know. I would try compiling to different formats, to see if that helps. Say, compile to rtf, open it in Word, fix what can be fixed, save in doc (or docx) format, then see if the rest can be fixed. Type the unfixable bits fresh into a new Word document and copy into the exported Word document. Play around until something works. It will work eventually.

The Mac version has none of these import/export problems, and the Windows version will be bug-fixed and on official release soon (weeks rather than months, I believe), if you can wait that long. Beta versions are always risky, but this has to be one of the least wobbly Betas I’ve ever encountered (I’ve seen release software far, far worse). But if you do bump into one of the bugs, it can be frustrating, to say the least.

Question - do we have an easy way to fix the double indent situation yet?

I just downloaded the software recently so I’m in the process of importing novels-in-progress, and the double indent situation is frustrating. It takes a silly amount of time to go through each section, paragraph by paragraph, fixing the indents.

I tried the “Edit > Paste and Match Style” avenue, and only the first line comes in indented correctly. The rest are all double indented and I have to go through and delete the extra space. I also tried to highlight the whole section in Scrivener and the “Documents > Convert Formatting to Default Text Style” is unwieldy despite having the option to pick and choose which pieces of formatting you want to keep or convert - none of the options for conversion fix the double indenting.

I realize those are only a couple of options to try, so I’m hoping someone will be able to tell me something else I can do to fix that issue while I’m importing all my shtuff. :slight_smile:


What I’ve decided to do for now is use Scriv for the new sections of my novel and for new projects. If I like how it works for the new sections of this novel, that is. I’ve given up on importing or even copying stuff in and out of it.

I agree it’s pretty great for a beta, esp a small company beta.

For older stuff, I’ll go on using a combo of OneNote, PPT slide sorter view (for the corkboard type function), and Word… That may sound clumsy, but I know my way around it, and learning something new takes time away from writing. It needs to be bomber and super easy before I’ll switch material I already have over.

I do hope the dbl indent gets fixed soon anyhow. As I said elsewhere I ran into this with another British-based text editor (MyScript Studio), and they said this was just the default and there was nothing they could do. They seemed surprised anyone would raise this issue. My question was, why would anyone code this as a default? Tell your software engineers to cut that out. Maybe it’s like driving on the left side of the road. :smiley:

For the double-indenting that we’re talking about here, is it just a tab plus an automatic first line indent? What it sounds like is that sometimes in the original document a tab character was used to indent a first line and other times there may have just been an indent via the ruler’s first-line indent marker. When you import to Scrivener, if there’s a first-line indent set in the ruler, then any lines that also have a tab character will appear to have a double indent. (Paste and Match Style will not change this if you’re pasting into a style with the first-line indent set, since the tab characters would remain.) This should then be fixable by using find/replace to just remove the tab character, although I think that searching for special characters like that hasn’t been implemented yet, though it definitely will be coming and might be in the next beta (by the end of this month). I’ll check on that. Meanwhile, depending where you’re at, you could potentially do the find/replace before you import. Or if all your lines use a tab, you could just remove the ruler’s first-line indent in the documents in Scrivener.

I’m not clear whether this is what you’re talking about with the margins, but you can change the editor’s margins by going into Edit>Options and adjusting the margin width under the Editor tab. That’s just for your digital workspace; it has no affect on the compile settings.

There’s also an issue with “weird formatting” that results sometimes from splits, which is also either fixed for the next beta or will be fixed shortly, so some of the line spacing and wrong indents may be from that; it’s largely an import issue, though, and Lee’s definitely working to fix that up so that .doc import as well as .rtf and .docx goes smoothly, since obviously a lot of people need to bring in work from Word. Sorry this hasn’t gotten all implemented yet, but it’s rough work and made worse by it not being consistent, so it’s been a bit of a bug to pick apart. I know it’s not any fun for you working with these files though.

Compile likewise is undergoing lots of fixes, and that indent issue with the one-letter-per-line should be corrected for the next beta; we’re doing some double-checking to see if we can break it, but it seems good! So thanks for your patience and for reporting all the bugs you’ve found.

It does sound like you’ve been indenting your paragraphs with by hitting the Tab key. If not, you should be able to save your Word file to an .rtf and simply import into Scrivener. Scrivener margins apply to on-screen viewing only, until you compile the document.