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Header image | Formatting with S3: All projects, this project, this documentFormatting: know where to start!

Literature & Latte provide options for you to control formatting at three levels:

  • For all your projects
  • For this project
  • For this document

Before you start using Scrivener (bit late, Anne!), or at least before you start a new project, it will save you time and frustration if you  think about what formatting you want. Even if you leave this decision-making until later, after you’ve written your manuscript all is not lost … you can format whatever is in your project. Trust me!

Formatting for all your projects

You have the option to customise the default settings for all your projects.

Select Scrivener / Preferences / Editing / Formatting to reveal this pane.

These settings determine the formatting for the main text for all new documents in this project and all other projects. You can also control the font for Notes and Comments & Footnotes here.

The formatting settings are managed via a toolbar

and/or a ruler.

As formatting tools, the toolbar and ruler turn up in other places too (in the Editing pane and in Compile) and I explain the settings which apply to them all in subsequent blog posts in this series.

Notice that the Formatting pane reminds you:

Formatting for this project

If you want to control the formatting for just this project, but you don’t want it to apply to all your projects, the route is Project / Project Settings / Formatting.

Project / Project Settings / Formatting

On arrival, the formatting tools are greyed out, so you must tick the box: Use different …

Tick the Use different box. | Formatting with S3: All projects, this project, this document

Notice that Scrivener warns you.

Use different ... reminder | Formatting with S3: All projects, this project, this document

Again, this settings only affect new documents – and only those in this project.

And the formatting settings are managed via the toolbar and/or the ruler, both of which I explain in later posts in this series.

Formatting for this document only

You can also apply formatting at a document level and this allows you to override the other two higher level settings.

The tools are the same: the formatting toolbar and the ruler – and these are explained in later posts in this series.

Why would you want different formatting for a single document?


There are two reasons why you might think you want to apply formatting at document level (rather than the two higher levels).

  • While editing your manuscript, you might find the font size too small to read onscreen.
    Rather than changing the font size, Literature & Latte offer a Magnification control. It’s positioned in the bottom left corner of the Editing pane. Click on the ∨ to reveal the options. (If you want all the screen enlarged, you’ll need to tweak the Apple Preferences.)
  • The document could contain text which you want to lay out in a particular way and you think you’d rather do this in the Editing pane, where you can see (using Page View) how it looks on the page.
    Literature & Latte allow for this. In Compile, there is an option to format As Is. As isIf you have just one page that has ‘weird’ formatting, use this route. However, if you have many documents with this formatting requirement, you’d be better advised to set up a style (or several styles as necessary) and control the formatting through Compile. This allows you to change your mind about the end result through a simple tweak in Compile, rather than having to amend every instance in the manuscript.

Remember: what appears in the Editing pane is not necessarily what appears when you output your manuscript. Compile includes the option to set up different project formats for different output streams. It therefore make more sense to determine the settings in Compile – even if you currently only have one intended output route – and not worry about how the text looks in the Editing pane.

So, that’s formatting in a nutshell, but …

My project is a mess of formatting. Help!

Often what happens is you get partway through a project and then realise you don’t like the formatting settings.

As described above, you have two options:

  • Change them for all your projects
  • Change them for this project

This will set the formatting for all new documents … But what about all those documents you already have – and in which you have a mix of formatting styles?

How to change the formatting for all existing documents

Having set the formatting for all projects / this project, to bring the old documents into line, this is the process.

  • In the Binder, select the Manuscript / Draft.
  • In the Editing pane, check that you are viewing the entire manuscript. Your Group mode setting should be Scrivenings.Group mode
  • Place your cursor within the Editing pane, click and then Select All. (Edit / Select All or CmdA) All of your text will be highlighted.
  • Make the changes to the formatting using the formatting bar and/or ruler to match your decisions made at project level or all-project level.
How to avoid the formatting getting in a mess from here on?

Formatting goes wrong if/when you import text from elsewhere (eg Word) because the text brings with it its own formatting information.

To avoid this situation, always use Paste and Match Style. There are three ways of achieving this.

  • Right click and choose Paste and Match StyleRight click
  • Select Edit / Paste and Match Style.Edit / Paste and Match Style
  • Use the Keyboard shortcut: Option/Shift/Command V.
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