What does the second combobox (drop-down list) in the Section Layout format bar contain?

Perhaps I missed it somehow, but I’ve searched everywhere I can think of, Googled it even, and cannot find this information. In the Compile Format Designer, this drop-down list appears as the second item in the format bar for Section Layouts, and as the first item in the format bar for Styles. It contains Body Text, Header 1, Header 2, Header 3 … Header 6. What are those? How do they affect objects/text they are applied to? Where can I see their formats? Can they be modified? Can items be added to that list? The help pdf does not seem to mention those drop-down lists at all and, in fact, the format bars depicted in the manual don’t seem to even show them.


Could you post a screenshot, please?

Forgot to mention this is for compile to ebook.

Screenshot follows. The drop-down list in question has Heading 2 selected.

What you’re seeing is Scrivener’s standard formatting bar. Whatever commands you select will apply to whatever text is selected in the preview pane – “SECTION TITLE” in this case.

If you assign a Style, like “Heading 2,” then the output text will also have that Style assigned. (Although what that means will depend on the software used to open the output document.) If you want to change what Heading 2 looks like, use the Styles pane of the Compile Format Editor.

In the Styles pane, again, the commands will apply to the preview text below them. So you would select the Style you want to change and then format the text so that it looks like you want.

As I said, this is the same Format Bar that you’ll see elsewhere in Scrivener. It’s discussed in the “Format Bar” section of the manual. (Section 15.7.2 in the Mac manual, I’m not sure about the Windows manual.)

I did suspect that they were some sort of styles.

What, then, is the difference between that ‘style’ list and the Compile Format Designer styles listed directly to the left of it, the list with ‘Bordered Title’ in the screenshot?

The styles in the left drop-down, I know where they come from and how to change them, etc. But the ones in the drop-down in question, I have no idea where they come from. I cannot find any style named Heading 4, Heading 5, Heading 6, or even one named Body Text anywhere else in my project or compile screen, and that list is not discussed anywhere I could find in the manual, even in the format bar section (the screenshots and discussion there do not have the drop-down list, perhaps because the compile type was PDF or something else which does not feature the list).

I guess part of the deal is that I am confused as to why there are two lists. The first list seems to be all that’s needed. Perhaps there is some subtle difference between the two style lists that I am missing and could take advantage of if I knew the difference between them.

Ah, I see the issue.

The second list maps the selection to standard HTML elements. An ebook reader may not know what “Adolfo_Standard_Style” is, but it will know what “Body Text” is. (That’s why this second list only appears when compiling to an HTML-based format.)

You’re right, though, this is not well-documented. I’ll tag @AmberV (Documentation Guru) to have a look at this thread.

I see, or, actually, don’t see. Ha ha. But, I got what I needed to work for my eBook compile output by leaving that as Body Text and using the ‘regular’ Format styles list to get the formatting I needed. I look forward to reading about that mapping in more detail when the documentation is updated with it.


Thanks, I’ve added some wording on this to describe this dropdown and how it changes the underlying HTML heading levels, an ingredient for accessible and easy to navigate ebooks or web pages. They have less to do with formatting and more to do with structure. “Body text” in this case is essentially the “off” state, and produces normal paragraphs, for example:

<h1>Section Title - Heading 1</h1>
<p>Some "Body text" which you want all of the prose to be.</p>
<h2>This is a subheading within the chapter - Heading 2</h2>
<p>Some more normal text</p>

So basically whenever a layout’s Separator setting creates a new section/page break (making it appear in the ToC), the first heading within it (usually the chapter heading itself) should be Heading 1. For a novel that is usually all you have to worry about as any further structure within the chapter will if anything just be scene breaks. But if your book has a descending hierarchy of subheadings within a section, then you want those section layouts use heading 2, heading 3 and so on. Everything that isn’t a formal heading, that shouldn’t be in accessibility navigation tools for jumping around between sections, should be body text.

It’s worth noting these are “best practices”, and not every ebook reader will even use them, or complain if you use them incorrectly. You often don’t have to worry too much about it. But if you do want a well-formed ebook that is future proof and will work as good as it can in all kinds of ebook readers, it’s worth putting some thought into them.