Text not aligning at the bottom of facing pages

Hi I’m a newbie to Scrivener and already perplexed!
I’ve copied and pasted a novel from Word for Mac to Scrivener. I can’t get the bottom of the text to align on facing pages.
This is driving me nuts. Any words of wisdom will be massively appreciated.
I’m not too good at tech lingo being an old boy, so it’s okay to talk to me like I’m a novice!

Why have you copied and pasted, rather than compiled?

What is the nature of the document? Does it contain headings etc.?

Tell us more, to help us help you.



1 Like

Just a wild guess here - do you use widow/orphan control?

In plain words, widows and orphans are when page breaks leave a single line of a paragraph at the bottom or top of a page. You can set this not to happen. If so, the first line of the paragraph - which was alone on the bottom of a page would move to the next page with the rest of the paragraph.

Maybe this has some bearing?

That’s interesting. I haven’t used the widow and orphan control—I’m still trying to get my head around everything! I saw the option but I wasn’t sure how it would work with justified text?
Thanks for your response, I really appreciate it.

I’ve only copied from Word then pasted it chapter by chapter into Scrivener. Even in Word the text at the bottom of the page doesn’t align with the facing page.

Word also has widow/orphan control.

Also, the native format for Scrivener is rtf (rich text format). Meaning it understands this format best. Word normally saves to . docx (or older versions to doc).

  • You can save your word docx to rtf. (The option will be under the dropdown menu “save as type…” Rename your doc with RTF (and a date/version) in the title so you don’t mix them up.
  • Then you can import the RTF version (it just plays better with Scrivener)

Re: copy/ paste- In the future, try importing the RTF instead -it’s a lot easier/accurate plus-

  • If you use word features like title, headings etc, you can import and split. Which will automatically organize your Scrivener binder the same way.

(There are other ways to split, or mark your doc for splitting too, but no need for details now.)

I’m not at my computer, so I’m doing this from memory. Someone else may be able to elaborate better if you are interested in the details. :blush:

Thanks for all your advice. I’m going to do a trial with a chapter from Word saved as RTF and make sure widows and orphans are turned on. I’ll paste that into a new project in Scrivener.
Fingers crossed, I’ll report back with success—don’t hold your breath.

1 Like

Try with 2 Chapters using the “Import and split” command - see if it puts each chapter its own separate doc too! :blush:

What are you hoping to accomplish with Scrivener that you can’t in Word?

Generally speaking, Scrivener is not the tool you should be using if you are trying to adjust fine details of page layout.

I’m using scrivener because it was recommended to me by another author, and I hoped it would fix this problem, which I encountered in my first novel. A guy I paid to format that one for KDP fixed it but wouldn’t tell me how he did it or what program he used—wanted to make more money out of me, I guess.
Maybe it’s because my original manuscript in mac for word is also not aligning at the bottom. I’ve trawled the internet for a fix and found nothing useful. Several people on a forum pointed out that Word is a word processor and as such hasn’t got the refinements.
So, as you can see, I’m not technically savvy and struggling to master everything.

As @kewms hints, Scrivener not designed to be a do-everything page layout program. Microsoft Word has more features for that, but even then might fall short of your expectations. Don’t know. There are more professionally-orientated page layout systems/programs out there and maybe your “guy” used one of those.

Meantime, I noticed that an internet search for “microsoft word Text not aligning at the bottom of facing pages” comes up with some ideas using Microsoft Word to polish off your novel for printing.

Any chance you could send me the URL? What I’m confused about is Scrivener’s purpose after your explanation. When I did my research it advertises itself as a writing platform for authors. I’m not disagreeing with you, I’m just trying to learn. You clearly know a hell of a lot more than me.
I also tried affinity publisher but it has bugs relative to exporting PDF’s. I now know why that is but I refuse to use a program that can’t even sort that out without the user having to do extra things.

Go to your favorite search engine, and type the search terms

microsoft word Text not aligning at the bottom of facing pages

I looked at Google’s response and what looked to articles about using Microsoft Word to do what you want. I did not test, try, or validate any of the ideas presented in the links.

Indeed. That’s what it is. And with the compile features can do a lot more, but not everything.

Edit: quick check using Scrivener and/or Word. Look at how paragraphs are set for “keep with next” and “keep together”. maybe that controlling page break location.

1 Like

The key word there is writing. Not formatting.

Scrivener’s focus is on all the things you need to actually write the manuscript: research, outlining, writing, editing. It has never claimed to replace dedicated page layout tools.

To go back to my post, I asked if your text contained headings, etc.

Text will only line up at the bottom of facing pages if the total line-height is the same.

Let’s say you use 12pt Times with a line-height of 1.2. That means each line takes up 14.4pts, so based on that a given number of lines will fit on your page. If both pages have only standard lines of body text, their bottoms should match up. But if there is anything that interrupts that flow, like a heading set at 16pt Times with a line height of 1, 8pts above and 4pts below … that is 28pts; on any page, with only one such heading, the text bottom will be 0.8pts higher than one with no headings, and the bottoms won’t align.

Or if you add 2pts space between paragraphs, your page bottoms will only align if you have exactly the same number of paragraph breaks on both facing pages.

So it all comes down to the maths. I think InDesign (I’m not sure about Affinity Publisher) has a way of sorting this for you, but neither Scrivener itself nor Word (I presume) can do it. You have to think carefully through your font size, line-height and inter-paragraph spacing settings (basically use first-line indent and no inter-paragraph spacing for body text) to ensure that all the non-body elements like headings come to an exact multiple of your body-text line-height. Only then should all your facing pages align.


1 Like

The way to do it would be with the vertical equivalent of kerning. Inserting additional space between lines to make the total come out right at the end.

Definitely not within Scrivener’s capabilities.

Also consider the scene Separator, which can be set as an alternative font and size. I’d assume it adopts its paragraph spacing from the text above and below.
Then there’s also the consideration of how you prefer your bulleted items (non-breaking line space or not).

For what it’s worth I glanced through some 20 books among those on my Kindle collection (Amazon website viewer). Whether fiction, non-fiction, academic or whatnot, all have signs of frequent bottom-line disparity–the Scrivener User Manual, too. Perhaps printed material is different, I wouldn’t know, I no longer have printed books.

1 Like

With ebooks, don’t forget that the user can adjust the font size at will. I’d be surprised if they didn’t have disparities.

1 Like

I asked AI. The numbnuck Copilot can’t get away from answering: pay attention to how the bottom lines align consistently across the pages.
I told it to report itself to its designer for reasons of stupidity. Then it has the cheek to respectfully disagree.

1 Like

Hi Mark, thanks for your reply. It makes sense. I should have thought about it better because in my early days I worked for Letraset drawing and cutting characters for fonts. How stupid does this make me look!
I used to use quark express which never had that problem, so I guess I’m being overcritical of DTP. Affinity publisher lined everything up, too, but unfortunately it has real trouble making PDFs from books. Guess why? Yup, it’s all to do with leading!

1 Like