How To Change The Editor Font In Scrivener For Windows

I love Scrivener.  It’s got so many awesome awesome features.  But one thing about it makes me want to go on a crazed, Sweeny Todd style hacking spree.  The fact that the default font is Courier New.  :shudder:  I despise Courier New.  I believe it should be stricken from fonts everywhere (sadly you can’t delete it from your machine as it is considered a system font).

I have spent HOURS searching for information on how to change this, poring over the Scrivener manual, asking @ScrivenerApp, googling, to no avail.  I’d been resorting to changing everything scene by scene, which is an understandable pain in the patootie.

But I finally figured it out on my own.

So I wanted to share here with nice easily searchable terms and a title and SCREENSHOTS because this is not remotely OBVIOUS.  First you must go to TOOLS–>Options–>Editor.  That will get you to this window.  Now see that little random italicized A?  Yeah, that’s the button.  That’s what they use as their symbol for font.  WHY they can’t have a dropdown menu for font like EVERYBODY ELSE, I don’t know.

So click the button.  That takes you here.  Now that’s perfectly reasonable looking isn’t it?  Pick your preferred font.

Now this will only affect NEW stuff.  If you want to change the default on old stuff (like, say, all the scenes you laid out for the ENTIRE SECOND HALF of your book the other day) you need to select all of the scenes you want to change and then go here.

That takes you to this window.

At this point you decide what all you want to change.  In my case, I just converted font only because everything that I was changing was a new scene.  It is my understanding that if you are to run this feature on existing scenes (or other documents), it will preserve font size, alignment, tabs and indents, spacing BUT NOT ANY ITALICS OR OTHER FONT FORMATTING.  So use on existing stuff at your peril.

In any event, this is how you change the Editor font in Scrivener to something that makes you less stabbity.

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112 comments

  1. Ooh, I wish you had Scrivener for Mac! The default font for it is Optima, and it’s annoying. I will have to follow your research and see if I can figure it out.

  2. The process is similar in Scrivener for Mac. (Actually, that “A” looks kinda like a standard “Font” button in some programs I’m familiar with.)

    …I happen to like Courier New and Optima. Granted, I also am one of the few who likes Times New Roman and (size 11) Verdana and who hates Arial and Helvitica, so I’m odd.

    1. This whole trend toward icons only with no words drives me batshit crazy. I don’t WANT pictures. I want WORDS damn it! I want my nice pretty drop down menu! They say that the icons are supposed to save time, but it doesn’t for me. It takes me twice as long to figure out what button to click because there’s no word!

  3. Don’t forget to back up your document BEFORE you make a big change like the one you described.

    I agree with your rant about icons. What’s obvious to one person may not be obvious to the next. I’ve been known to walk into the wrong restroom when someone used something offbeat to designate which was which.

  4. I actually found that in Scrivener, but I think I found it totally by accident and thought “That’s what Kait was talking about when we were on our trip!” Then I forgot to tell you. *looks sheepish*

    Some of the games on my iPad have icons instead of words, and it takes me forever to figure out what they mean sometimes. How hard would it be to include both the icon and the words?

  5. Thanks Kait, I spent 30 minutes trying to change the default font then decided to search for a solution instead.

    The guy who designed the options ui is a moron.

  6. Hello Kait,

    Felt like I helped you as best I could within the word limitation bounds of Twitter:

    You: “How do you permanently change the Editor font for all docs in Scrivener for Windows?”

    ScrivenerApp: “Hello Kait. You can go to Tools > Options… > Editor to change the default font used for…”
    “… documents. And then use Documents > Convert > Formatting to Default Text Style to change offending docs. :-)”

    You: “FYI, the really important part you’re leaving out is that it’s that random little “A” that gets you to FONT.”
    “We Windows folks expect a nice drop down box.”

    ScrivenerApp: “Glad you sussed it Kait! Coded from the ground up according to Windows standards by the way. 🙂 All the best, DJ.”

    The tool tip ‘Show Fonts’ appears as soon as you hover over the problematic “A”. This is all naturally covered in our Scrivener Manual on page 214. Font formatting *is* conserved for any binder documents that you decide to convert to your new font settings. We obviously wouldn’t want new font settings to automatically alter anything you had already written in order to prevent the overwriting of documents with a specific layout.

    Glad to hear that you love other aspects of Scrivener, and thank you for spreading news regarding how to change the default editor font.

    All the best, David
    Scrivener, Literature & Latte

    1. I think it’s just one of those things where when you know what it actually is, it seems totally obvious and you don’t think to mention it. I have this happen all the time with stuff I’m familiar with. And perhaps I misread the bit about the formatting in the manual. I thought it said somewhere something was going to be blitzed. Might’ve been an older version tutorial I was reading online somewhere. I did actually read the bit in the manual on 214 but it still was not obvious to me, as I could not figure out to what the manual was referring once I got to the relevant screen. So I wanted to make something with nice easy screenshots that would show up in a google search for those of us who were having blond moments.

        1. Ok I feel REEEEEEEEALLY stupid after going back for the FIFTH time to look at that page in the manual and it’s like right there… :DOH!: The A blended in with the line of the B and the i and the U. >.> That’s my story and I’m sticking to it…

  7. Thank you. You have no idea how much time I’ve wasted trying to figure this out. Also, I agree that Courier New is horrible.

  8. I was able to find the option shown above. However, it doesn’t let me change anything within that box other than the line spacing. The buttons highlight when I move the cursor over them, but when I click nothing happens.

  9. Can I just beat Ellie by saying one thousand thank you’s. This has been a complete pain! Working between Linux and Windows machines and using Dropbox to sync there have been other issues to worry about and this is one that has been the proverbial burr under my personal creative saddle!!

    One more, 1001 and thanks you’s…

  10. i just downloaded scrivener onto my new laptop for a novel i’m going to write overseas and without this bit of advice i would have shot blanks instead of explosions of genius each paragraph because courier new doesn’t inspire in the least, so thanks much!

  11. Thank you sooooooo much! You have saved me from so much grief! I have also found Scrivener to be REALLY helpful, but the font WAS such an eyesore… until now! 😀

  12. I thought I remembered how to do this before, but that was three computer/operating system wipes ago, so glad I found this! Even when I changed the font for a single document in Scrivener, Courier New would occasionally creep back in, especially if I’m moving text from one document to another. Going to pass this on to my friends who are also using Scrivener!

  13. THANK YOU!!! Why they couldn’t bother to put it were you can change the font on EVERYTHING ELSE in the program I have NO idea. THANK YOU for saving me more time. I wish I’d googled before messing with this stupid thing for half an hour!

    LOL Back to WRITING! 🙂

  14. Wow … MANY thanks for this. As great as Scrivener is, some things are so convoluted, it makes you think it was a government committee creation.

    So here’s another question – how do you get it to print page numbers and a header for specific sections? There are just specific texts that I’d like to print, and have a text (specific text) name + page # on top – just like you might do with a specific Word doc.

    Anyway, THANKS!

    ~Doug

  15. Thanks so much for this. I’ve only just downloaded Scrivener and I share your hatred of Courier New. It’s just…ugly. I wish Scrivener were more user-friendly from the outset. I work in the video games industry and consider myself quite tech savvy so I rather naively thought using Scrivener would be straightforward. I *really* hate reading manuals and try to avoid it as much as possible. Hence, I’d hoped that Scrivener would be intuitive and I could just figure things out as I went along, yet I fell at the first hurdle. I’m starting to think that it might be a long time before I can get to the part where I can do some actual writing, lol.

  16. I love you!!! Thank you so much for leaving this here for me to find it in Jan of 2013! I even have Scrivener for Dummies and could not figure this out. Your instructions are concise and helped me so much. I can’t stand working in anything but Times New Roman. WOOT! You made my day!!

  17. Hello Kait. I was wondering if you know or if anyone has come across a way to add new fonts to those in Scrivener’s default list. I’d like to type in the editor using an old typewriter font. Any ideas?

        1. Hello Dan. You can add fonts to Scrivener by adding them to your underlying operating system. This is fairly straightforward using OS X, and I’d presume Windows doesn’t make adding fonts too complex either. This video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AIR7_ch9No (chosen at random), shows you how simple the process is. I hope that helps.
          All the best, David
          Scrivener, Literature & Latte

  18. Thanks for this tip as I was getting frustrated trying to figure out how to change the default without it reverting back with every new note. Thanks again!

  19. Thanks Kait – default font problem solved. In the bad old days it used to be – find problem, wrestle with problem, solve problem. Now it’s more like – find problem, google problem, find someone who’d actually done the work to solve problem (YOU!), steal solution. I can’t decide if this is a good thing or if it’s slowly destroying my work ethic … Nice blog.

  20. I was going for exactly this–I couldn’t figure out why I could change every font BUT the default writing font!! I like Calibri as it’s easy on my eyes, and I have been changing every single document one at a time. UNTIL NOW! 😀 Thank you!!

  21. Thank you SO MUCH! I just figured out how to change all the files in your binder at once:
    If you select all of the files in the binder like you would in a regular windows folder (click the top one, hold down shift, click the last one and they all become highlighted), you can then reformat all the files at once the same way you described. I’m running 1.0.2. Sorry if this has been posted already. I did a quick scan of the comments so I may have missed it.

  22. Thanks for this! I just spent about a half hour fiddling with every other font setting in the program after my recent reinstall and I couldn’t remember how to find the only one I was looking for. The sad part is that I’m sure that if I ever need another font change I’ll end up googling for this post again, because I can’t think of any scenario where I’d interpret a pale blue “A” as signifier for font options.

  23. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! I will now put down the dull spoon with which I was about to dig my own eyes out. Courier is from hell, which is why the publishing industry insists upon it for all their manuscripts. 🙂

  24. You are a rockstar! I just started using Scrivener and this is the first thing I wanted to customize about it. HATE courier font. If I wanted a typewriter I wouldn’t be writing on my computer.. I tried figuring this out on my own and you just saved me a bunch of frustration and time. Thanks!

  25. Okay, I know you posted this a really long time ago, but I wanted to say thank you. I’ve spent the last hour trying to figure out how to change the default font. This was exactly what I needed. Thank you so much!

  26. You’re a genius. This post was the first Google result for ‘scrivener courier new default’. Thank you.

  27. I’ve been going through another battle round with Scrivener fonts. I’ve finally got it all to appear on the screen as Calibri. But still PRINTS as that stupid Courier font. I cannot find a place to change that font.

    I sure wish they had a single button feature where you could have it do “All Calibri All The Time On All Screens And On All Printers” (or whatever other font you wanted to use.

    Anyway, do you know how to have it PRINT your desired font?

    It amazes me how such a great program can have some of these wonky things going on.

    1. No idea. I have never printed directly from Scrivener. I always compile into a Word doc if I’m printing (because I usually need a Word doc for other things).

          1. Dave … I’m watching that video. I gotta tell ya, there’s a “feature request” out of this, and it’s similar to what I experience with my video camera.

            There is “manual mode” which lets me choose aperture and a whole slough of other stuff. And then there’s my favorite – the BIG EASY button. Press “Big Easy” and it covers 95% of my shooting.

            It’d be great to see something similar in Scrivener.

            Right now I’m using it to put together my business plan. It’s awesome being able to create sections, add pages, move ’em around, etc.

            All I want to do is be able to print out the whole doc in one “big easy” process. If it’s possible to create something like that within Scrivener, I’m sure you’d find some (even more) happy fans.

            😉
            ~Doug

            1. Hello Doug,
              If you just want to get your text out exactly as it was input, without Scrivener changing the formatting or adding anything, simply choose “Original” from the “Format As:” menu. This will output the manuscript exactly as you entered it. You could combine this with Kait’s advice, simply using the “Original” setting, compiling, and then opening your output in Word, or wherever, to tweak it as you wish. So, our BIG EASY button is “Original”, but we’ve made the compilation process as versatile as possible, which means there are going to be plenty of options if you want to put your head under the hood! 😉
              Cheers, David

              1. Hey while we’re at it David, is there a tutorial somewhere that explains what all the title levels and such are in compile? I never QUITE get things right when I compile and end up having to go in and change them all by hand in whatever I compiled them into.

              2. Hello Kait,
                If you watch the rather lengthy 18 minute video tutorial I referenced previously , you’ll see that it covers compilation levels. This shorter video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pN38dfz0LWc should also help get the theory of compilation levels across. The latest beta iteration of our Mac version highlights the binder documents that are being affected as you manipulate compilation options. This feature will be rolled out with our next version release, as we’re aware that compilation is still confusing for some users, 😉
                All the best, David

  28. Scrivener could do a few things to make this program more user friendly. My biggest beef is with the printing. I can’t even fathom how to do simple printing with it. At this point I just copy and paste whatever I need into Word and then print that.

    But imagine how could it would be if you could highlight various pages on the right with Alt + Click and then right-click and select “Print selection”!

    1. Hello Doug, I too used to be puzzled by printing until I twigged how powerful Scrivener’s separation of writing from output is. The output functions (called compiling) include going to print. One way for short prints is to compile the documents you select for print then veiw as pdf, and print the pdf if it looks right for your puproses. There are lots of more elegant ways, often addressed in the Scrivener videos.

  29. I changed every font on the general settings and still had Courier New. I was going crazy and didn’t know what to do. Found your solution and it worked! I love Scrivener but changing the font was a scavenger hunt. Thank you:))

  30. Just found this post of yours. Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you. Its been driving me bonkers how to change this too! 🙂

  31. THANK YOU!!!!! I was about to just copy and paste my entire document into Word because I could not for the life of me figure out how to do this! You saved me hours and hours of my life!

  32. Oh Bloody thank you so much. I, too, think I love you. Luckily it’s just been driving me mad for today.. I entered 5 chapters from Word and was going nuts with each scene… THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!

  33. Just another drop in the bucket…

    But THANK YOU OH HOLY CHEESE AND CRACKERS THANK YOU.

    I wanted to stab my eyeballs with a fork after the fiftieth time of Courier New reasserting itself on a random copy/paste or other freak editing accent.

    You have my undying admiration and my eternal thanks. And if that doesn’t say it well enough:

    Thank you!!

  34. Hey, awesome little tutorial. The best part is your ATTITUDE! Holy crap, love it.

    So great to have someone pissed off when talking about software. Instead of “this is this, and then that works perfectly, and isn’t all so lovely, you moron who couldn’t figure this out by I, genius, easily did”–which is NEVER helps and is never how software goes.

    So, yeah, loved it. Would love a whole site of Scrivener and other tools as explained by you. Even a book. I’d buy it in a second.

    I have NEVER laughed when reading a “how to” ever in my life. Really appreciate your sense of humor and your wonderful writing style. Thanks for that!

    Tip of the chapeau. <>

    1. I have a deep and abiding hatred for this trend toward icons instead of words for things. Because so many of the icons are NOT universal, NOT obvious. Chrome is currently on my poop list for this. 🙂

  35. Thanks you so much. I was really going to have to stop using Scrivener if I had to change the font very single time!

  36. Thank you! I was about to delete the trial version of Scrivener and make do with something else when I thought to do a search for an answer. I, too, abhor Courier or any monospaced font for writing. We don’t read (fiction) books in such fonts so why would we want to be forced to write and read and rewrite and reread (repeat many times) our manuscripts in them?

    My aching eyes thank you!

  37. I love Scrivener and it is my first tool I use always (not only for writing), but I echo the batshit craziness of some of the features and controls.

    I Agree that the [A] should instead be the word “Font” – don’t make me try to guess and think through some designer’s idea of an icon that represents a word in their mind when we grew up since babies learning how to relate ideas to words. And don’t make me have to hover on everything just to find out what it is. Make it so intuitive that the 95th percentile can understand what it is instantly by looking at it.

    Just look how many people responded to this post and others about the JOY OF FINDING HOW TO DO THIS.

    And HOW in the H-E double hockey sticks are we supposed to change the [A] (“font”) in Document Notes? I set it in:
    Tools > Options > Appearance > General > Document Notes

    …and nothing changes. All of the Document Notes still hold onto what ever font and ugly background format and colors I pasted from. And even when I reset all fonts to default they are still the same jacked up pasted in format. And about the “affects only new documents” caveat–no it doesn’t. I can hit CTR+N and create a new document, then when I go into Document Notes and TYPE in new document notes in a new document the font is always random. I have document notes in so many different fonts it’s a joke.

    Where is the right click “context menu” that I can use when I click in Document Notes, Select All, and then select Font?

    Scrivener is such a good tool that I would rather pay $ 99 or $ 149 and get a complete tool that allows more and better control of things like this.

    And I bought the book Scrivener for Dummies to figure out things that are not intuitive, not obvious, or are hidden in random menus (rather than placed where things like them always appear in other programs), or that I missed in the linear tutorial. In Scrivener for Dummies I discovered custom meta data and it does NOT exist! I want that feature. There is no ability to add custom meta data. I get Status and Labels only.

    And when will we Windows users get things like free form corkboard?

  38. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been searching through Scrivener and the book Scrivener for Dummies for months now looking for this exact fix. Thank you!

  39. Thank You! At first it was no big deal… I just changed the font each time… but it became like a dripping water torture…. something so irritating and it was driving me bonkers. And like everyone else I could not work out why
    Tools > Options > Appearance > Fonts > Default
    did not work! (Why is that even there if it doesn’t work? Meh, who knows.)
    So thank you once again.
    PS I have Evernote’d your page because I never want to lose how to do this 🙂

  40. Thank you for this. I hate hate hate Courier New. I’ve been revising a manuscript. I used Garamond, but when I delete text and make a revision, it reverts the new text to CN. ugh. Thanks to you, I won’t have to deal with that on my new manuscript!

  41. The “A” button, REALLY SCRIVENER?!?! So that’s where the fonts are hiding. Thank you so much for the screenshots and all!! I thought I was so smart when I changed the font under the Appearance, but nope that didn’t work, haha.

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