Style won't apply

I have had this problem before. When I highlight a range of text (say 12 pt Courier in this case) and select default style in ruler, nothing happens. I try to change it in preferences to the default Optima. Nothing happens. I must be doing something wrong, but no idea what. Can anyone help. It’s something in Scrivener that has always driven me nuts - even though Scriv is my favourite program.

There are some cases in Edit Scrivenings were font and other formatting changes will not be possible, are you working in E.S. a lot? If so, it might be that if you selected the last paragraph in a certain fashion, you are hitting this limitation. Make sure that the selection does not extend into the whitespace on the right-hand side of the editor, and stops right at the end of the text instead.

Thanks, Amber, but that didn’t seem to be the problem. I even tried it with single blocks of text. However, I found the only way to change it was highlight, and use the top menu to scroll down and select convert to default text. Only other possibility I can think of is if I’ve copied and pasted text in from Word, which I know can contain embedded code - that might screw up Srivener.

And thanks for your dictionary help also - your tip worked.

Okay, when you described this series of actions, I realised what is wrong.

There are some key things that need to be explained here:

  1. The ruler contains a “style” drop-down. This is provided by Apple and has nothing to do with word processor type styles, nor does it have anything to do with Scrivener’s preferences. In fact, all Cocoa applications share this same menu. So “Default” in there has Zero to do with Scrivener’s preferences—you can select “Default” from the ruler in TextEdit and it is certainly going to be ignorant of Scrivener’s preferences.
  2. The [b]Documents/Convert/Formatting to Default Text Style[/b] is, as you surmise, a feature designed to adjust the appearance of the document so that it conforms to the preferences you have set up. It operates on the entire document however. There is no need to select any text, and indeed any such selection will be ignored.

So, the style in the ruler is not analogous to the menu command, and is completely oblivious of any application preferences. Whatever you have stored in “Default” must not contain font information or something—it is difficult to say because who knows what you did to create that style, or if you didn’t, I don’t remember what Apple puts in “Default”, by default. :slight_smile: It might just be some ruler settings and no font settings at all—hence no font change.

In other words: Use the menu command when you want to reset the font to your preferences! You could set a ruler style to contain these settings as well, but once you set it that is how it will always be, it won’t update if you change your preferences—it’s a self-contained set of formatting rules. Plus, I would recommend using Scrivener’s tool instead of styles, as styles are somewhat scorched earth. Scrivener’s tool will honour some formatting, like bold and italics—i.e. it will retain minor formatting while changing the underlying font and ruler information.

Thanks for taking the time to write such a full answer, Amber. I really appreciate that.

So, if I create a style called Body, 12 pt Times, single line space, first line indent, now paragraph spacing…that will appear in the styles menu. And if I highlight the text it should apply that style. But it doesn’t somehow. Unless, I have to set to default style using the convert command first?

Sorry to be so obtuse.

Oh, and you mention Scrivener’s tool? What do you mean by “tool”?

Scrivener’s “tool” is its style settings. It’s better to go into your Preferences and change the text formatting there to what you want, then Convert to Default (while you have all the files that need to be converted in Edit Scrivenings). The Mac OS style settings in the ruler are notoriously finicky.

Many thanks to both of you. I will try out your suggestions.


Funny I thought it was vic-k.

Thanks, Carradee.

And yes that is what I meant by using Scrivener’s tools, rather than the Apple ruler tool. Incidentally we’ve scrubbed out all of that unintuitive stuff from 2.0, which will have its own formatting preset functions. The basic limitations will be the same: apply once / no connexion to preferences; but the overall interface for using and setting them will be much more Apple-like than Apple’s quaint version.

Oh thanks be to God!

I’m 20,000 words into a rather diverse project and properly marking block quotations has been really making me neurotic with fear that I will have do do it again someday in a less than straightforward manner.

Not to mention that I’m already experiencing the problem of having different fonts creep in throughout as I import rtf outlines and paste quotes in sheer excitement and hurried frenzy that I finally have a hold on describing the concepts in the work. Searching the forums has produced two forks of organic growth. One fork leading to the multimarkdown solutions and the other fork to this solution. MMD sounds intriguing but I don’t wish to divert project energy to learn it and apply it well. I’m sort of done learning tools for the moment because I’ve been working on meta-projects like that for two years while assembling and researching. That led me to scrivener and devonthink with jaunts into mindmapping and omni outliner.

The RTF style solution is ideal in familiarity to me, but threads like this confirm my fears and experience thusfar in as much as the apple ruler acts more like a drunk friend than an employee. I love my drunk friends, but I need am employee right now for this task.

Moreover, I’m not quite sure at what time I ought apply the dreaded apply default in order to fix the font diversity in my project. If I do it now, I’ll have less paragraph styles to fix. If I wait for 2.0, then the paragraph styles will be more easily applied. Thus my query: will the font situation be more granular in 2.0 also? In other words, is it worth going along in my merry and haphazard fashion hitting large word target on a hunch that paragraph styles and fonts will be more easily fixed in 2.0?

I say “more easily” because my comparison point is the “apply default formatting” mentioned in the past.

Yes, in general Scrivener will allow more “slop” in that it provides better control over precisely what gets transformed, either when using the convert to default formatting tool, or during compile. So, for example you could set up the compiler to give your document a uniform look and feel (as you can now), but without the choice between all or nothing. You can say: over-ride everything except indents and tab stops. This would let you run a bunch of higgly-piggly fonts and sizes through the compiler and get a nice clean look, but your blockquotes are preserved. Same goes for the convert to default formatting tool. There will be options that give you control over just what it impacts, hopefully resigning it to a less dreaded status.

All in all, given the description you’ve provided, unless you need to compile for Oktoberfest, I’d wait for 2.0. :slight_smile:


You can save yourself the problem of fonts being all over the place when pasting in text and URLs copied from other sources by using “Paste and Match Style” instead of simple “Paste”. As I use the former so much more than the latter in applications like Scrivener, I have used the keyboard preferences pane to swop over the shortcuts for the two, so now in Scrivener Cmd-P gives me “Paste and Match Style” and Shift-Opt-Cmd-P is for those occasions when I do not wish to match style.

The only bugbear I have found is that each time I install a system upgrade, I have to reset the shortcuts