Somehow Scrivener knows it’s italic, definitely doesn’t think it’s “Emphasis”, seems not to think it’s anything at all.
Yeah, that’s the roots of it showing through, what is the basic formatting toolkit provided by NSTextView. The whole Style system is built on top of that (what you get in TextEdit), as bespoke markup in the RTF file that Scrivener applies as you use it. If you crack open one of its internal RTF files in another word processor you’ll see stuff like the following:
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<$Scr_Ps::0># Heading Text #
Kurnap ik <$Scr_Cs::1>lydran kurnap brul<!$Scr_Cs::1>? Er urfa thung morvit helk srung tolaspa er urfa groum, gronk brul nix vo; ti gen sernag velar. Rintax arul flim groum ma; gen delm zorl nix arka erk? Qi su flim, gronk irpsa qi ik anu brul berot morvit; ux erc whik.
isn’t going to insert those codes. It’s a part of the core text engine that basically just plugs in the RTF \i marker along with some font table info—same as TextEdit would. So that’s why the shortcut doesn’t map automatically to a style that may or may not be defined in the project (and for that matter may not look italic; “Emphasis” can be bright red if you want). And that’s how it “knows” the text is italic without any styles in place—because underneath the style tags there is still an RTF file that is full of hard-coded formatting (even with
styles in use, but our implementation aside, that’s how RTF works even if the parser is using native RTF stylesheet features; it’s a bit old fashioned in that regard). If that’s still confusing, join the club. RTF is confusing.
Our putting “Emphasis” into the default stylesheet is meant to be a hint for those that would like to take a more defined approach to formatting: where the Format Bar tools are merely a front end for defining how styles should look in the editor, rather than as tools for actually formatting anything directly. It was never meant to imply that at any point the Format Bar buttons would somehow automatically map to styles.
That said, I would guess most people are perfectly happy just clicking the “I” button, and don’t really care if it is mapped to anything meaningful. All that really matters is that it looks right, and so long as you never need anything but that text to look italic in all cases, then I suppose it’s a fine enough approach—not one I’d ever be inclined toward, but I get the appeal. So, whether you look at the format bar as a style format editor or as a way to format your text directly, it makes sense to have these controls readily available.