Switching Between Indented Style and Block Style

I’m working on a translation in Scrivener and want to temporarily increase paragraph spacing to make it look more like a CAT (Computer Assisted Translation) tool layout, but I plan to revert back afterwards.
The tutorials advise keeping body text to no style, so I’m cautious about creating one.
Any suggestions?

When you need an Editor Style, you need an Editor Style…


It’s worth looking into why that advice exists, and seeing whether or not it applies to your scenario. In reading §17.1, which discusses this matter, it frames the entire conversation on how compiling works, and closes with the note that this all describes how its default settings work, and that if one wishes to compile with a “Normal” paragraph style they may certainly do so. It just takes more learning and work.

E.g. if you do that and then try to use the “Manuscript (Times)” compile Format without any adjustments, it probably won’t work the way you want because you’re telling the compiler you want all of your body text to not look like 12pt TNR. But, if you go in and edit the Format and tell “Normal” to look like what the manuscript body text should, or merely rename the “Body” style we throw in there to catch people trying this, then you’ll be fine!

But again, you’re talking about something you want to do while editing, that isn’t even within the scope of compiling, right?


Using the styles panel, it is super easy to later set all text of a specific style back to no style.

You may also simply delete the style out of the project, all text of that style will then fall back to no style. (While preserving the current formatting in the editor, in this later case. ← But you’ll lose it at compile, just like for any other no style text.)

…And, as AmberV and Antoni said, it is not a complete “no no” to use styles for your body text. In your case I say go for it.

1 Like

When is “afterwards?” The whole point of the Compile command is that you can use whatever format you like in the Editor, and change it for your final output. There’s no need to mess with styles to accomplish that.

1 Like

Thank you for your detailed insight. Compiling is a bit challenging to me. Typically, I export to a Word document and if I had to, I use a desktop publishing software.

I meant to say that after I finished translating, I revert the project back to the default style, which I am accustomed to. While translating, I might also edit the original text; that’s why I prefer to do it in Scrivener’s “text mode”.

For what you describe, styles might be the easiest tool to use for this. When you want to reset things back to “normal”, you define the style and all the text changes back as well, and then you can delete the style from the project to unassign everything from it. Easy.

You can of course also change the default formatting in the Project ▸ Project Settings... panel, under the Formatting tab. This allows this one project to override the normal defaults in Settings. With that, no styles are needed, all new items use the new formatting, and you can use the Documents ▸ Convert ▸ Text to Default Formatting... menu command to update batch selections of text items to the new look (or back to your normal application defaults later on).

Which is better is entirely a matter of taste. Personally I would use the latter method if all of my text in this project should be different for a while. It is just as easy really, and in the meanwhile I could more easily compile test copies without having to worry about the translation formatting coming through.

1 Like

I found out you can easily select no style text with the Styles Panel, which wasn’t obvious at first—I thought I’d need to use the Search command. Then, I learned from you that deleting a paragraph style causes any text that was using it to revert to having no style. It’s a bit convoluted, but doable. Thanks for the tip!

It might look like it is, but I wouldn’t say that.
The feeling will likely go away after a few runs.
The styles panel is very convenient to handle styled paragraphs and text segments in bulk.

1 Like

I’m more familiar with InDesign’s approach to “styles,” so this has been an “adventure”. But I can work with it. Thanks again for your input!

1 Like

This is one of those areas where the design in Scrivener was very intentionally tilted away from standard word processing / desktop publishing philosophies, mainly because we wanted the software to be functional without having to learn a single thing about styles. We wanted that to be the advanced feature, if anything. For most people you do get the benefit of a stylesheet-oriented workflow without touching the feature itself—being able to have your text adapted to submissions guidelines without writing in those guidelines, for instance. It’s the kind of thing you can do in a word processor if you know what you are doing, but it’s a lot more complicated to do so.

In hindsight, we maybe went a bit too far with it. It turns out a lot of people know their way around styles, and find Scrivener’s approach a bit weird. It’s something to think about for the future anyway. The original user manual didn’t have a “Think Different” section in this chapter on styles. That had to be written because so many people where trying to use the new styles system like they would in Word or even something more sophisticated like InDesign.

1 Like

Just name them shtyles. (?) :stuck_out_tongue:

Or stacafids
Scrivener Text And Character Attributes Formatting & Indentation Data Sets


Shurely you jest!
— Shhean Connery.


I understand the tilting away, but maybe it needs a tiny nudge towards the familiar, just in case those styles start to roll backwards.