Best Practices for Saving Original Copies of Chapters

I think I’m doing this wrong.

When I start writing, I click on the previous version of whatever chapter I’m working on, then click “Duplicate,” and start revising.

This means I end up with dozens of copies of each chapter. This makes for a lot of files in the Binder, and lots of time backing up.

Any suggestions for how I can move old versions out of the binder, and what might be a better approach to saving original versions?

Thanks so much!

Why not use the backups as backups of older versions? If you set the backups to save lets say the 10 latest versions you will always have 10 older versions of your project which you can go back to if you decide that an earlier version was better.
Backup options are set under Tools - Options, I think.

Then there is the Snapshots function, which saves a previous version of a specified text within the active project. It is described in the manual.

In theory it should take an awful lot of text duplication before it slows the project down, but if you’re at that point then it is a good time to find a new way of doing things. Myself I prefer Snapshots for most revision level tasks. They don’t cover whole chapters at once because they only work with individual binder items, but that’s okay with me. They can be more efficient because you only duplicate what you need to out of the chapter—but you can snapshot multiple items at once in preparation for a larger edit, too. I like to use a uniform snapshot title (available as one of the alternate menu commands in Documents ▸ Snapshots ▸ ) for stuff like that, so that each section has a common reference point in the Snapshot list that is easy to look up.

The other approach is to use project backups. This will be better if the whole is part of what you edit, as well as the text. A full project backup will store the individual positions of items in the draft folder and everything else about the project at the time of its taking. While Scrivener has an automated backup system, I like to use my own set of backups for “milestones” like this, and the easiest way to do that is with the File ▸ Back Up ▸ Back Up To… menu command. That convenient adds a date stamp and can zip compress the file so I don’t accidentally edit it in the future, getting it mixed up with the main project.

The idea with project backups is that if you need to go back, you’d load that old copy up alongside the current copy and compare, copy and paste as need be, or drag and drop elements from the backup binder into the current one. So you don’t need to preserve anything inside the binder to get any of that, meaning you can simply work in place.

And of course one can combine all of the above, including with what you are doing now. For simple proofing edits Snapshots may be good enough, and every once in a while you want to take a full project “snapshot” with a backup, and other times duplicate sections you want to edit so you can see the original in the other split as you rework it—and maybe you later delete the duplicate because you don’t really need it since the backup has it.

So one thing you could do as a first measure is create a backup with a useful filename that indicates it has all current revisions stored. Then in your live project you can go through and delete all of the older stuff you no longer want immediate access to, and empty the trash. If you need those things in the future you can just open up the backup you created.

Keep in mind the golden rule of backups: it doesn’t exist unless you’ve tested recovery with it. :slight_smile: Right after making an important backup like that, double-click the .zip, drag the project copy out to a temporary place like Desktop, open it, and make sure everything looks good with it. You can trash the copy you examined—and now you know how to passively look up things in old backups without harming the original, too.

Hopefully you find a good combination, or even a single approach that works well for you.

Snapshots is the way to go. Backups are for backups.