Are changes made to imported file saved to original file?

Couldn’t find this in User Guide: I imported a Word file into Scrivener and saved it with same file name. I did a simple save, not changing path for the file. I’m a brand new user and so I’m not sure where the file would be saved (I just realized I should go look at Scrv folder). Anyway, is it safe to assume that this file is then independent of the original file? That is, will the original file remain unchanged regardless of what I do in the Scrivener file? If so, I need some way to mark the original file so that I know there may be more recent changes made in Scrivener. I probably have missed something in Tutorial or User Guide, but I couldn’t find this.

I’m not a mod, but I had the same question when I started using Scrivener and tested it thoroughly and found out…

Documents imported as .txt, .rtf or .doc files as reference are imported completely and saved in the DOCS folder of the project. Any changes made are done to the copies now in the project folder, not the original.

So no, changes made to the version in your Scrivener project are not backed into the original file. You can export the one from the project back to the original location and that will keep both versions the same.

If the original file is a Word file, to overwrite the original I would have to export as Word file with same file name, right? That seems like something I will have a hard time remembering to do every time, and just as hard a time remembering that I have moved to Scrivener when I’m working in Word. I suppose the assumption is that once you move a file to Scrivener, you will no longer edit the original, but I’ll run into trouble with that, being immensely forgetful.

I wonder if there’s anyway to automate this. That is, to set things up so every time I save a file in Scrivener it automatically exports to original folder and overwrites original file in its original format, in addition to saving in .scrv format. That’s asking a lot. But as the beautiful woman in Leonard Cohen’s song “Bird on the Wire” says, “Hey, why not ask for more?”

Yes, it would be nice to have the option. One thing I’ve noticed though - the export, though it says .doc, is actually still in .rtf format - I use to port the exported files to my old Palm that had Docs to Go, it didn’t understand .rtf, so after the export I had to open each file and re-save as a Word 97 file.

Myself, most of my imports are changed in Scrivener, but I want the originals as they started - quirky of me, yes, but they’re usually ones that I might use in a different way elsewhere. So I want the originals pristine.

Your mileage may vary. :slight_smile:

I don’t know if this is helpful to you, but I keep a lot of files as PROJECT REFERENCES-- such as my original screenplay in FINAL DRAFT, or my Budget as an EXCEL file, or a WORD or PDF in landscape format, or a Word .doc that has complex programing. or big video files

Perhaps you can keep track of your original word doc as a PROJECT REFERENCE? That way you can right click on it in Scrivener to open in your default program and copy/paste changes.

I don’t think the majority of writers would want the original file automatically updated as it is the ultimate backup. Seems a bit dangerous to me…
project references.jpg

Marta - I am brand new at this, so there are many many things I don’t know about yet, and project references was one of them! Thanks for alerting me to this. I have just ordered Scrivener for Dummies, which authors on Goodreads rate high except for lack of differentiating between Mac and Windows versions. (I use Windows at present but also have a Mac and may move to Mac version based on reviewers’ comments that Mac version is much more powerful.) So anyway, I have questions about project references but Scriv tutorial is too limited on this topic. I won’t bother you with these questions, I’ll wait for the Dummies book to arrive and see if it does a better job of explaining than the Scriv tutorial.

The academic and programmer in me is twitching at this. It’s better practice to have a file you compile to and never, ever overwrite the original, even if it’s imported into Scrivener. That way if something happens, you’ve got something to restore from.

Also, I generally make different files every time I compile. (I delete older ones and only keep the 5 most recent.) Redundancy is a good thing if something goes horribly wrong. That way you don’t lose everything you’ve worked on. The story of a person losing their entire dissertation because they didn’t have good backup practices? It happens at least once or twice a year.

Redundancy is your friend. Redundancy has always been your friend. There’s no excuse not to, once you’ve got a system going since hard drives are really cheap and big these days. And, for the love of your deity of choice, use unique file names for each project. “Project.doc” or “file.doc” isn’t descriptive and won’t help you out, if you need to go back to said project in a year or so.

Thanks for your input, garpu, but I think you are assuming the Word file I import is my only copy? I not only have backups running frequently, set up to save older versions, I also sync between computers, external hard drives, AND Google Drive. I’m about as redundant as you can get. But I do have one main Word file that is the hub/key, always the one that get updated and backed up and synced. That’s the system that has worked for me until now and I’m not willing to change that until I am more familiar with Scrivener. And that’s why it’s important to me that the version of a file on Scrivener is identical to my working Word file. I’ll have to work out a system to accomplish this.

I might change my mind about this as I get more familiar with Scrivener; perhaps I don’t understand the mechanics of it well enough yet (I’m a beginner beginner), but I have memory problems to work with and I am quite likely to change something in Word and think I have changed it in Scrivener or vice versa, and no amount of task-listing helps if I don’t remember to enter what I do in the task list. :confused: Yes, I know once I have imported into Scrivener I ought to do all my work there, but I have to allow for my individual form of brain dysfunction, and no, I’m not kidding about that. My up-til-now system of keying everything to that one main Word file has worked very well for me and I’m not ready to drop it by having different versions in Scrivener than I have in Word files.