The Scrivener Basics Blog

Scrivener Basics | How to Set Up Your Favorite Working Font

If you work at your computer for hours at a time it is best to customize your workspace with the most readable working fonts.

Note: In other writing applications you might choose a built in style via the Styles button on the Format Tool Bar but unless you are using styles for something specifically requiring a style, Scrivener recommends you set this to No Style whilst working in the Editor.

When you eventually compile your document for export Scrivener makes it easy to reformat your style at the touch of a button without effecting the original document. So you can export

  • to print media in 12pt Times New Roman,
  • to Kindle in 13pt Ariel
  • and to your website in 11pt Comic Sans

And go right back to working on your 13pt Arial manuscript in Scrivener.

For those who are writing eBooks only, eReaders have their own built-in range of fonts so it is unlikely that the font you set will be reflected on your audience’s eReaders.

Set the font and font size for your working text in the Editor:

  1. Click on a single document in your Scrivener Binder and do one of the following: Either find a sample of text from somewhere else on your computer or from a document on the internet that already has formatting you like, copy it and paste it into the Editor. Orype a sentence or two directly into the Editor, highlight it and change its font style, font size etc. using the Formatting Tool Bar.
  2. Then select your formatted text.

If you are on a Mac:

3) Go up to Main Menu > Scrivener > Preferences. To bring up the Preferences Dialogue Box.

4) Click on the Editing tab at the top of the Preferences Dialogue Box.

5) Choose Formatting from the sub menu.

6) Click on Use Formatting in Current Editor box. All new documents that you open in Scrivener will now be written using this formatting.

If you are on Windows:

  1. Go to Main Menu > Tools > Options and open the Editor tab in the Options box.
  2. Click on the blue Show Fonts symbol.
  3. Which brings up the text dialogue box. Choose a suitable font, style and size.
  4. Click on OK in the Select Font box and then OK in the Options box.

NOTE: If you position the Preferences Dialogue Box on your computer screen in such a way as to be able to see your Scrivener project behind it when making any changes, you can preview your changes as you make them.

If you want to change your default font halfway through a project, select all your previous documents and go to Main Menu > Documents > Convert > Text to Default Formatting…

Choose which attributes you want to convert from the options menu and click on OK. 

Copy and paste text formatting on the fly.

You can copy text from most external documents and paste it into the Editor of an open file in your Binder but all its formatting comes with it. Drag the Copy Format and Paste Format tools into your toolbar to be able to match imported text to your own text quickly and easily. (As shown in Menus and Customizing Your Toolbars)

  1. Copy text from somewhere else and paste it into your Editor.
  2. Select a few sentences of some text from within your project which is already formatted the way you like it. 
  3. Click on the Copy Format icon in the Toolbar.
  4. Select all of the newly imported text.
  5. Click on the Paste Format icon in the Toolbar.
  6. Your imported text will take on all the formatting attributes of your sample text including line spacing and paragraph indentation.

NOTE: If you like the formatting of an external document you can just as easily copy it, paste it into your project and reverse this process by copying the formatting and pasting it onto your own text.

Set the font and font size for display text in your Binder:

You can also choose the font and font sizes for the display text of all your file and folder labels, headings and titles. Note that this will customize the displays of all your Scrivener projects not just the one you are working in. 

Don’t forget to position your Preferences/Options menu above your project so that you can see what your text selections will look like.

If you are on a Mac go to Scrivener > Preferences.

  1. This time click on the Appearance tab.
  2. Select the region you want to customize from the sidebar menu. I chose the option box that sets the Binder font for all my file and folder labels. 
  3. Open the Fonts tab.
  4. Click inside the fonts field to bring up the fonts menu.
  5. Select your preferences from the Fonts Dialogue box. You don't have to use the ones from the Kindle collection, I just happen to like them.

If you are on Windows go to Tools > Options.

  1. In the Options dialogue box this time click on the Appearance tab.
  2. In the Fonts section open up the General menu and click on Binder.
  3. Click on Select Font to bring up the Select Fonts menu. Choose your preferences and click on OK.
  4. Click on OK in the Options Dialogue box when you are done.
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