Backing Up/iCloud

So, purchased Scrivener yesterday and am working through the manual. Nowhere can I find a satisfactory answer to my concern about backing up my projects: I want to back everything up to iCloud but when I save a project to the desktop and then try to drag it onto iCloud pages like with anything else on my desktop, it will not work.

When I try the Back up to option on Scrivener I am not given an option to back it up externally of my mac.

Scrivener’s autosave function is all well and good, but what if the mac is stolen or lost?

Any guidance much appreciated

As I understand it, there is a problem with iCloud, which is that it cannot handle package files like Scrivener’s projects, even though these are constructed using Apple methods. Basically a Scrivener project is a folder that looks like a file on the Finder; you can right-click or control-click on the project and Show Package Contents with all the subfolders and files and documents. Apple has built iCloud in a way that cannot handle these.

You should be able to put your Scrivener backups on iCloud, since they are compressed into a single archive (if you turn that option on in your Preferences). I see no way on my system of choosing iCloud as the default backup location in Scrivener, though - I suspect this is another area where Apple is being Apple. So to get the compressed backups onto iCloud, you would have to do so manually, I guess.

On the other hand, Amazon’s cloud drive, Google’s Google Drive, Dropbox and others will create folders on your Finder, so you can tell Scrivener to backup your projects to these cloud services. They do not work well with uncompressed Scriv Projects though, if you should ever attempt to open the project on the cloud. The usual advice is to save (compressed) backups to these services, and should you ever need to restore from them, copy them from the cloud onto a local drive or machine, uncompress, and work on. Another tip (as I understand it) is to close the project and use the backup that is created upon closing, so that the special markers inside the project are not set to say that the project is still open somewhere.

  • asotir

This issue has been raised and addressed many times on these forums, and yet for the first time (probably because I wasn’t paying much attention to it) I realize there is something I don’t understand well. Files like filename.pages are also packages. Why iCloud can handle those packages but not a package like filename.scriv?

Yep, until 10.10 is out and Keith has finished any changes needed for compatibility, iCloud doesn’t work for storing packages.

For the others, although placing zipped back-ups on Dropbox, Cubby, Google Drive, etc. is the recommended system, it is not the case that active projects cannot be stored on them … with the exception, I understand of Google Drive and, I believe of Microsoft’s offering, though that might have changed. Google drive has problems with Scrivener’s package format.

For the record, I collaborate with a friend using a shared Cubby for the active project, and my other active projects are also in a Cubby. I/we have had no problems to date — I have the back-ups on Dropbox. I believe also that Lit&Lat themselves use Dropbox for an active project.

So provided you pay attention to the cautions about waiting for everything to sync fully before you shut down, especially if you’re accessing it on more than one computer, then, in my experience, you should be OK.

Mr X

Because a Scriv project contains a mort of files of various kinds, possibly numbering thousands, some or any of which are being modified on disk every time automatic back-up comes in. Pages files are not so complex, or so I understand.

Also, Pages, etc. is an Apple product; maybe they have access to some engineering devilry which is not available to independent developers.

By the way, I had occasion yesterday to open a .doc file I’d exported from NWP using the latest version of Pages. All inter-paragraph spacing lost and no way of re-setting it. The old version of Pages was so much more capable!

Mr X

The new iCloud Drive service under Yosemite seems to handle scrivener package files. I am running Yosemite public beta 2 and I saved an open scriv file to iCloud Drive then closed Scrivener. Double clicking on the file in iCloud Drive opens it in Scrivener without issue. I have made just this one quick experiment though, so cannot say that this will work for everyone. But it is at least promising for the final release of Yosemite.


Returning to this, Yosemite, it seems, will solve your problems of wanting to use iCloud as your back-up repository.

But to say that Scrivener doesn’t give you the option of backing up externally is not actually true. Sure, it doesn’t, like Pages, automatically assume you’re going to use iCloud for storing/backing-up your work, but if you go to Preferences —> Backup, you will find that you can choose your back-up location, and that location can be anywhere … except for the moment iCloud unless you’re using the Yosemite public betas, I’m not. As I said above, my active projects are in Cubbies, my back-ups are on Dropbox. I could back-up to an external disk like an NAS-drive or a Time Capsule, but I don’t as I do a complete bootable back-up of my computers on a regular basis.

Mr X

iCloud Pages can store Pages documents only. You can’t just drag “anything” (a video, photo, program, etc) from your desktop and store it in Pages.

“Back up to” can back up to any internal/external resource you have available. Expand the dialogue box to show all the drives in Finder.

If you have Dropbox, SpiderOak, Cubby or similar, use that for cloud-based backups:

  1. Scrivener
  2. Preferences
  3. Backup
  4. Backup location … [choose your cloud service]
    Select the option to compress/zip the backups.

The new OS X Pages can do paragraph spacing…

Well, I have 5.2.2. In my “Format/Styles” inspector, I can set the baseline spacing to 1, 1.2, 1.5 or 2 and nothing else. There are no buttons, arrows or anything else for Before Paragraph and After Paragraph. I don’t think Apple has updated that since introducing version 5; that is only true of Pages ’09, version 4. At least on my MBA with Pages updated only 2 or 3 days ago! I still keep ’09 around because of the lameness of 5.

Paragraph spacing has been available in all the Pages 5.x versions since launch.

Click the arrow next to the word > Spacing to view all options.


Personally, I think Pages 5 is excellent. Works very well as a standalone software in OS X, and is invaluable when sharing files with iOS devices and/or the web-based service.

I confess I missed that, so I apologise. It was much more obvious in the earlier version.

Actually, I’ve never really liked Pages, whereas I’m much happier with Nisus Writer Pro. But I keep Pages around for .DOCs and .DOCXs which have tables — particularly complex tables — in them. The other thing about ’09 is that it can read and export RTF which is very useful in relation to Scrivener et al.


Hi Mark

Easily missed: Apple could make it clearer.

Never used NWP…perhaps I should take a look. Was a Word user, but these days I use Scrivener (with Markdown for web-based writing), Pages, and IA Writer as they fit my needs well enough, and they haven’t caused any issues when dealing with clients and their projects. Even tables have been okay so far. Appreciate that other people have different likes and needs.

I agree about RTF in Pages 5. Wonder if Apple will add support for it in future iterations. Not been an issue as such for me, but it must be inconvenient for a tranche of users.