How do I fix or convert formatting in my project?

Each item in Scrivener is a bit like a separate document on your hard drive. They can all have their own independent formatting. You may for example wish to have your notes in one font and your draft text in another, to help keep them visually distinct when working in Scrivenings mode. In addition to this, individual portions of text can have their formatting changed, and you will continue to type in that new format until you change it back again. Block quotes are a common example of where some text may differ from the text around it in how it is displayed.

This flexibility lets you fashion great looking documents, but that means that it can sometimes become dishevelled, especially when pasting text from one rich text program to another (and in those cases, you may wish to learn how to paste without carrying formatting along for the ride).

Setting up Default Formatting

First, you may want to change how text looks by default. Perhaps you've been doing that by hand every time you create a new document, or using a formatting preset or style. You can set up which formatting you would like to use by default, in Scrivener:

  • On Windows, use the Tools ▸ Options... menu command and click on the "Editor" tab.
  • On the Mac, use Scrivener ▸ Preferences... and within the "Editing" pane, click on the "Formatting" tab.

    Also be aware that Scrivener for macOS allows you to override the global settings for individual projects via Project ▸ Project Settings..., within the "Formatting" pane. If this option is in use, new documents in the project and those you convert to the default text style will use these settings, not the settings in application preferences.

Use the ruler and provided formatting tools to set up the default look of you documents. The "Aa" button on the left of the format bar opens the font options.

Normalising Formatting in Existing Text

Default settings only affect documents you create in the future. If you wish to change existing documents to the current default, or clean up some formatting that went awry, select the desired documents in the Binder and choose Documents ▸ Convert ▸ Text to Default Formatting. (Note that if you open a container document in Scrivenings view and have focus in the Editor when you run this conversion, all the documents open in the Scrivenings session will convert.)

Tip: You can hold the Option or Alt key while clicking on the disclosure arrows to reveal large portions of the Binder at once or use (View ▸ Outline ▸ Expand All) to disclose everything.