Universal style

Hi. How do I apply the editor style of one document (font, font size, justification) to all existing documents? I’ve defined the style but is there a way to apply it universally to all documents that I’ve already created and will create in future? Thanks.

Once you’ve formatted one paragraph to work the way you want, you can use the Project → Project Settings → Formatting pane to make it the default for this project, or Scrivener → Scrivener Preferences → Editing → Formatting to make it the default Scrivener-wide.

Then, the Documents → Convert → Text to Default Formatting command will reformat existing text to the new default.

But that doesn’t make the style Scrivener-wide. It makes the formatting Scrivener wide.

The style handling is the weakest area of Scrivener in my opinion. I long to have a default style available and applied rather than default formatting. Irksome after years of working in structured markup to have deliberately to deal with formatting.

We do not recommend using a universal style, for a variety of reasons.

If you prefer structured markup, you might want to make use of our Markdown support.

As a one-time member of WG8 I disagree with that.

It’s unlikely that L&L is going to rebuild Scrivener from scratch in a way they don’t want, though.

I know but that does not mean I agree with the way it works now.

For a “style” that you plan on having set then idle for the length of a project development, using the default formatting makes no difference at all.
You may even consider it being a style of its own.
I use styles a lot, but it is in the context of using them as progress markers (sort of).
Otherwise, I wouldn’t gain anything from styling as much as I do. (As a matter of fact, close to the end of a project, I revert to the “no style” default formatting.)

Given how you can modify the default formatting anytime you want (including at compile) it truly makes no difference.
Even so, compiling an epub (as one “why better not” example) from files/documents for which the body text’s formatting you obtained through a style will prevent having default text attributes. (Or more precisely, your epub file will have default text attributes, but your book’s coding will never defer to them.) Making the e-reader potentially slower, having a file that is heavier than it should. (To what extent? I don’t know.)

This being said, if you insist, you can bulk apply a style to what is “no style” like this:


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The mechanism may seem limiting for users who want Scrivener to be Word, but actually, Scrivener styles are far more powerful than Word styles. Users of LaTeX and Markdown benefit in other ways, but below is an example of the way I get mileage from it.

I have a style for dialog that travels from one person’s brainstem to another’s across a 22nd century version of the world wide web. I want three things:

  • to decide at compile time (not sooner) what character format to use
  • to decide at compile time what punctuation to use and easily change it
  • to clearly delineate that dialog in the Editor

Here’s an example in the Editor:

Here it is in a compiled PDF:

And this is the setting that controls punctuation:

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