Since I spend a lot of time in Scrivener working on writing projects, I want to make it as comfortable as possible. For me that means large fonts that are easy on these old eyes. Fortunately, the only formatting options that can’t be overridden in the compile process are bold, italics and underlines. That means I can set font styles and sizes in the workspace that make it easy for me to see what I’m doing but have the final product set in more platform-appropriate type. I’m loving that!
If you’re like me, you probably won’t even think about doing something like this until you’re well into a Scrivener project. In my case, I recently imported my first book, The Future of Memories, as a Scrivener project so I can bring it up to date. It came in with all the fonts, styles and colors used in the PDF edition of the book so now I want something that’s easier to work on. I’m doing a review to define which areas of the book need more information/updated information/new content so updating the format has been included in the review process. Here’s how it works.
Once I’ve got a text element set up with the font, size, line spacing and other formatting preferences I want, I select it and choose the Format > Formatting > Redefine Preset From Selection command, then choose the element I want to redefine. In this example, I had body text selected so I would chose Redefine Body. I would do the same for block quotes, headings and sub-headings within the draft. Notice there’s also an option for setting up new presets – like maybe a caption or something similar.
Once everything’s the way I want it, I can then make them your default presets so every new project will be set up just like this one. To do that, I go to the Scrivener Preferences panel (Scrivener > Preferences), choose the Formatting button then click the Use Formatting in Current Editor button.
Now, whenever I need one of these formatting presets, I’ll select the text to be formatted, click on the Presets button in the toolbar and choose the preset I want. It works for me.
When trying to position text for the web, you’ll quickly find that spaces don’t work well and tabs don’t exist. There are three very useful options for arranging text – indents, block quotes and lists – and each has its own idiosyncrasies. Here’s a quick overview of each and how you can put them to work in your content. Let’s start with indents.
In this example, we need to have several lines indented from the left margin. This is done by pressing the Indent button in the toolbar. Once you have used the button to indent your content, the Outdent button (shown grayed out to the left of the Indent button) will light up. Use it to return your text back to its previous location.
The block quote is used to spotlight large amounts of quoted text. The standard is to indent block quotes from both the left margin and the right. Some themes will further style them with borders, italicized text or even over-sized quotation marks. These design elements don’t usually show up on the editor – which is one reason you have a preview option available to view your content. The HTML tags also define this text as a quotation so handicapped users reading your content with a screen-reader device will be told this is a quotation. As a result, you should only use this function for actual block-size quotations. If you just want to indent several lines of text, use the Indent function.
In the world of HTML, this is known as an unordered list. You know it better as a bullet list. Since many people tend to scan the content of web pages, bullet lists are a great way to present information. List items (there are four list items in this example) can be a single line or multiple lines of text. Each time you press the Enter key you create a new list item. Once again, the style sheet used for the site will determine the actual styling that appears on the finished page. The amount of indent and spacing before and after each list item and the list collection is determined by the site’s theme. So are the graphic icons used as the bullet points.
One other type of list – the ordered or numbered list – is also available to you. This list presents numbered items rather than bulleted ones. It is used for text being presented in sequential order – like the steps in a process. Once again, these lists can be any length. When you press Enter, you create a new item in the sequence.
Like block quotes, lists also inform blind readers that these are organized lists so should only be used when the content justifies it – not just to indent content.