backup/sharing-Confused newbie

Hi all,

Just bought the Mac/Windows bundle and I’m trying to figure the best–read “easiest”–way to backup and share projects. We’re using 2 macs with iCloud and 2 PCs on Win10 with OneDrive

Am I right in thinking that we can’t use either cloud service to save and share like we we do with Word docs? If I decide to pay for Dropbox, will that work for backups and sharing–or is it hit and miss? Alternatively, can I save projects to a flash drive at the end of each working session and use that as a back up and to share? Am I missing something that easier?

thanks very much for any advice you care to share

As you can see if you inspect it with Windows Explorer, a Scrivener project is actually a folder, with subfolders and potentially hundreds of files. It’s a much more complicated entity than a Word document. So, the most important requirement for any file transfer mechanism is that it preserve this structure.

Note that “backup” and “sharing” are not the same thing. The purpose of a backup is to give you a static copy of your data that does not change and will not be affected by anything that might damage the live copy of your project. Sharing, by definition, allows other computers to edit the data, which means that the other computer can damage it.

(The distinction is especially important with synchronization services, because changes on the other computer will be written back to the live project. In one case, a user forgot to deauthorize sharing on his work computer when he changed jobs. When his former employer deleted his data, the changes propagated back to his own copy.)

Scrivener’s automatic backups (Scrivener -> Preferences -> Backups on the Mac) can be configured to save .ZIP files. That would be the safest choice for file transfer and backup purposes, as the ZIP format compresses everything into a single file, making sure everything stays together. If you use ZIP backups, you can save them to iCloud or Google Drive or email them around without any particular concerns.

However, ZIP backups are terribly inconvenient for sharing live projects between systems or collaborators. You need to un-ZIP the archive before Scrivener can edit it, so you’re very likely to end up with lots of different versions of the project scattered around. Managing conflicts between versions across different computers can get very confusing. Which is why people use services like Dropbox: simply save the live project to the Dropbox folder, and Dropbox will automatically share it to whatever systems you authorize.

But, since the project isn’t compressed, whatever sharing tool you use has to protect the relationships between the component files. Many tools, notably iCloud and Google Drive, seem to be unable to keep up with Scrivener’s frequent save operations, which can cause the project’s master index file to be out of sync with the actual contents of the project. Disaster ensues.

We use Dropbox internally and recommend it. It is also the only service currently supported by iOS Scrivener. OneDrive seems to work reasonably well, subject to this advisory: … e-advisory
ICloud is known to be problematic. Users have had good results with Box and Cubby, although careful attention to the configuration options seems to be required.

Whatever service you use, please read this article, on best practices to avoid synchronization errors: … c-services


Thanks, Katherine. Sounds like zip files or a flash drive will work best for me

Surprised that you all are selling Mac and Win programs that don’t work with iCloud and Onedrive–no matter what the reasons. Your customers use them and we shouldn’t have to jump thru hoops and/or subscribe to other services to use the cloud w/ Scrivener. Just sayin’


You should complain to Apple. We’ve repeatedly explained our concerns about iCloud to them, yet it remains unreliable for package formats like Scrivener’s. More detail can be found here:

As noted above, OneDrive can be used, provided appropriate precautions are taken.


Hi Ted,

Just in case you didn’t already know this: If the total size of your projects is under 2 GB, you can use Dropbox for free. (Dropbox Basic Account)

This is not obvious from the Dropbox site, so thought I’d throw it out there.

I use Dropbox for syncing Windows & iOS Scrivener projects, and so far it has worked perfectly.