Home > Scrivener  > Formatting: Using the ruler
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The ruler features in onscreen formatting, that is, when you are writing or editing your text, and in page formatting within the Compile / Formatting pane.

The two rulers are not linked. So you can set onscreen formatting to suit you while working on the manuscript, and set (different) page formatting for export purposes.

The ruler can appear at the top of a document, or be hidden.

  • Select Format / Show Ruler to reveal it.
  • Select Format / Hide Ruler to hide it.
Ruler symbols

The symbols on the ruler reveal the current settings for indentation and tab stops. Here is an example:


  • The down-triangles at 0 and 6 indicate the left and right indents. This is the amount by which the text is offset from the left and right margin respectively.
  • The rectangle at 0.5 represents the indentation for the first line of each paragraph. If you want hanging indents, this rectangle needs to be left of the left indent marker.
  • The right-triangle at 0.5 and at 2 are left-align tab stops.
  • The diamond at 2.5 is a centre tab stop.
  • The left-triangle at 2.75 is a right-align tab stop.
  • The circle with a dot in it at 3 is a decimal tab stop.

The same symbols appear on the ruler within the Formatting pane of the Compile function.

compile ruler

Ruler settings

para indentsChanging the ruler settings for indentation or tabs is straightforward. You have two choices:

  • From within a document, select Format / Text / Tabs and Indents … and complete the Paragraph Indents form with your required values.
  • Change the settings on the ruler itself, either within the document or within the Formatting tab of the Compile funtion.

How do you change the settings on the ruler itself?

  • You can move any of the current settings by clicking on them and dragging them along the ruler to the new position. The measurement is revealed while you drag so you can be quite precise in your placement.
  • You can add a new tab stop by clicking at the required position on the ruler. The default is a left tab. To change that, right click on it and select the tab type you require: centre, right or decimal.
  • Deleting a setting: dragging a tab stop so that it coincides with another effectively deletes it. Dragging it beyond the right-hand indent also makes it redundant. However, to delete it altogether, drag it up or down until it disappears.

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