Backing Up Work

Hello Scriveners. Quick question from an ultimate Scrivener (and writing) newbie: I’ve read that many writers will back up their work by sending themselves an email of their daily/weekly scrivenings. I tried that and failed - apparently because of file size. How can I save only the text (and not the research,etc) in this manner? Thanks!

Your e-mail method won’t work because of the project file size and complexity.
A better procedure is to sign up for a free Dropbox account.
Dropbox will place a folder on your desktop.
Create in it a folder for your Scrivener projects.
Then, each time before you quit, use the File: Backup to… command.
Check the box that says Backup as a ZIP compressed file
The filename will have a date-time stamp in it.
After a while, you may delete the early copies to reserve space.
Good luck!

Or you can set up the automatic backups to use Dropbox or the like as discussed here: viewtopic.php?f=30&t=25900

If you really want to back up your work via email, compile your project to some format that would be useful to you if you ran into trouble (RTF or Doc, for instance). You could also try the “Back up to…” option that Druid outlined above, and just choose to .zip compress the backup and mail that; you have to do that because a Scrivener project is actually a bunch of folders and files, despite how it appears on your Mac.

I would recommend Dropbox, on condition that you only have one machine access the file at any one time. (in other words don’t have the file open on a desktop and a laptop at the same time - plenty of comment on the forum about this.)

I have a dropbox folder set up and save all my Scrivener files there (so this backs up everything to an online folder on I then have Scrivener automatically save backup files to a Copy folder (, which is a similar service to Dropbox.

And then I have an external drive to a full back up of my system’s hard drive once a week.

Good luck.

Thanks a bunch, guys, for all your tips. All this is very new to me – I don’t even have experience with run-of-the-mill word processing, much less Scrivener, so I’m a babe in the woods. One more quick question: I have quite a few trial-and-error files in the Trash and can’t seem to get rid of them. What am I missing here – the “Empty Trash” command is always greyed out?

UPDATE to my post directly above: For some reason the “Empty Trash” command (under Project menu) suddenly became available! But it does not work! I’ve had Scrivener only a couple of weeks. At first, there was no problem with this – I was able to empty the trash. Now, nothing I do works. Would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks again!

I read this thread and am wondering: why hasn’t anyone mentioned ‘time machine’, especially since you are Mac users? Do you not consider that a viable backup?

Time Machine won’t immediately give you what you’re likely to want if your hard disk - a higher-risk point of failure - packs up. That is, it won’t give you a bootable clone of your hard disk that will allow you to get back quickly to where you were when disaster struck. For that, you need software that will copy, or update, your entire hard disk externally on a frequent, regular basis, say three times a week. I use SuperDuper for this, plus Time Machine for versions, backing up to partitions on an external hard disk on my desk. I have two external hard disks, one on my desk and one at my son’s house, and swap them every six weeks or so. But there may be better ways, and of course how obsessive you are about this will depend on the financial and sentimental value of what your hard disk contains.

Oh, good to know. On my last Mac when disaster struck, I simply reloaded my last time machine backup. But, then again, maybe I was lucky in a manner of speaking. I’m going to go back up my scrivener projects today! Thank you.

I found the ebook Take Control of Backing Up Your Mac useful.

Thank you once again, Hugh. I just got a PDF copy on the internet. Sigh. So much to learn about this electronic world of ours. Fortunately, the world abounds with people willing to help others so I appreciate you being one of them.