can I compare 2 files for differences?

I work on 2 windows computers and move files between them on a USB stick. Somewhere I got confused and now I have 2 versions of the same file, each with different additions adn updates. :open_mouth:

This is a very big and bitty file and when I work on it I update all over it, not sequentially, so it’s not obvious where all the updates will be.

Is there an easy way to analyse/compare the 2 files to pull out the differences?

Please say yes.

Georgie

Depends in part on what you mean by 'file". A Scrivener project (the thing you open, save, etc. in Scrivener) is actually a folder (name ending in .scriv) that contains an index file (name ending in .scrivx), subfolders and numerous individual files, including lots of .rtf document files.

COMPARING WITHIN SCRIVENER

As far as Scrivener itself goes, a quick search of the forums and manuals on “compare” suggests that the Mac version of Scrivener contains a “snapshot compare” capability by which one can compare the current text of an individual document within a project with snapshots (earlier historical copies of the document saved within the project), but that the Windows version does not yet.

COMPARING OUTSIDE SCRIVENER

One scenario might be to export or compile (or copy/paste) the portions of interest or entirety of the project in question out to some other writing/word processing format and use some other writing/word processing app that has document compare capability to do the compares. A search on “document compare” via your favorite search engine should suggest such apps and the formats they need. Some will be free (at least on a time or capacity limited basis), some will cost. You might try more than one, to see how the results compare.

Another scenario might be to use file or directory oriented compare utilities to compare two different project (.scriv) folders for differences in names, timestamps, and contents. Searches on “file compare” and “directory compare” via your favorite search engine should suggest such apps. Some will be free (at least on a time or capacity limited basis), some will cost. You might try more than one, to see how the results compare. CAUTION: Only do this against a copy of the project folder, with Scrivener not currently running, rather than the actual project folder, to be safe.

For excellent real-world technical reasons, most of the files have numeric, rather than meaningful-to-humans, names, that makes manually determing which corresponds to which name visible within the project in Scrivener difficult for us humans. There is a search.indexes file, in XML format, down in the project folder’s Files subfolder that can be used to figure out which name equates to which number. An XML aware viewer/editor app is required to be able to easily view that information. Again, search for such apps via searching on “XML viewer” or “XML editor”. Some will be free. Some will cost. CAUTION: Only do this against a copy of the project folder, with Scrivener not currently running, rather than the actual project folder, to be safe.

OTHER COMMENTS

I highly recommend using date/time stamps in folder and file names wherever possible when it comes to backups and such, as operating system date/time stamps can wind up changed for valid reasons without one realizing it. I believe that setting Tools > Options > Backup to “use date in backup file names” will result in date/time stamps being added to both regular and File > Back Up > Back Up To manual backups.

Hope that is of some assistance.

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Wow. Thanks, SpringfieldMH, for such a comprehensive reply. It is indeed of help. I’ll have to pursue this later when I have spare time and in the meantime have backed up both files separately.

I guess the short answer then is that there is no easy way to compare/contrast files in windows. I use Scrivener mainly as a research tool and would have thought this might be useful!

With thanks,
Georgie

Try loading your documents in outline mode, with the “modified” date field showing. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to add sorting by columns in the outliner, but you can visually scan down the list for recent modification dates. With both projects open, you can toggle back and forth between projects to compare these dates.

This is a good idea, but it only shows which files are different, not what’s different about them, which I think is what the OP is looking for.

I came here seeking the same sort of answer… comparing various iterations of a Project.
I sent out compiled copies of a boook for review and comment. As I received the feedback I made edits and renamed the Project accordingly. However, somehow in a late night fit of brain flatulence, I updated an older Project copy with several edits. I needed too fix the mess and found the only solution was wading through Scrivener’s offered Comparing function. Too tedious. So, compiled every possible mistake laden Project version into .docx files and did a compare in MS Word. Found and incorporated all valid changes into one file. Now, with tens of chapters and subchapters to go, I need to copy and paste back manually. Not a happy user at this prospect.

Assuming that you now have a DOCX with all the previous changes sorted out: I would simply make a new Project, and use Import and Split to bring the DOCX in and drag and drop templates etc. as you can into it from an old version;

or, alternatively, move the whole of the contents of your best old project out of Draft/Manuscript into another suitably labelled folder, and again use Import and Split to bring the DOCX into Draft/Manuscript and sort out any remaining issues there.

Zip up any of your other versions so that you can’t accidentally do the same thing again!

:slight_smile:
Mark

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