what's going on in the RULER?

so currently, when i create a new document in scrivener, the ruler looks like this:

^…v… … …^
0 .5 1… … …10

so basically, a little triangle aimed up on the boundaries of the ruler at 0 and 10 and a little downward facing triangle at .5 .

what the heck is this?

i’m not familiar with word processor conventions so to me, it seems like the upward triangles are determining the left and right margins and the downward facing triangle is determining the first TAB… but that seems not to be the case. my cursor begins at the downward facing triangle.

so what is it?

also, is there a way for me to change the default so that i either don’t get the downward facing triangle or that it is left justified with the upward facing triangle at 0?

thanks. this has always been a niggling mystery to me and i just want to get it worked out once and for all.


The triangle markers set the paragraph indents. The two pointing up control the left and right indent, for instance such as you might set for a block quote that should be inset from either side of the page by an additional inch from the margins. The one pointing down, which is set by default at 0.5 inch, controls the first-line indent, what you might otherwise do with a tab character. These days it’s fairly standard to use the ruler settings to handle this rather than a tab, and it makes it easier to apply formatting changes to your text. You can however add tab stops to the ruler by double-clicking on the ruler or right-clicking and choosing the type of tab stop you’d like to add.

You can drag these indent markers along the ruler to change their settings for any paragraph; if the upward-pointing one on the right is snapping to the right of the visible ruler, moving with the edge if you resize the editor in the Scrivener project window, then that means it’s affixed to the right margin, which is how you’ll almost always want it. Block quotes that need to be indented from the right margin or script formatting are among the few reasons you’d ever want this different.

To set the default for new documents, click on the Editor tab in Tools > Options… and drag the first-line indent all the way left in the ruler above the sample text area to set it at 0. To convert existing documents to these settings, select them in the binder and then choose Documents > Convert > Formatting to Default Text Style. (You can set tab stops and the tab stop interval in the Editor options as well, and the tab stops will likewise be updated during the conversion unless you select to preserve them.)

Keep in mind too that you can easily override this formatting during the compile stage, so if you prefer to compose without indenting the lines but require the indent for your manuscript submission, you can apply that later without affecting your formatting within the project. This is an example of where the first-line indent vs. a tab character makes a big difference, since actual characters can’t be added or removed in as streamlined a process–you’d need to use a Find/Replace action within the text to deal with those rather than just applying different ruler settings for the output.


paragraphs… that’s what they are… thank you so much. that was driving me nuts.

and thanks for filling me in on how to get rid of them! heaven!