Cloud and Cross Platform Scrivener

Please forgive me if someone has already asked this question. I did some searching and couldn’t find an answer.

I typically do my work and play on three different devices. MacBook Pro, iPad Air with a Zagg Rugged keyboard (love this thing), and a Surface Pro 2. The Surface has been resurrected because of its high degree of portability and desktop like functionality when plugged into a monitor, mouse and keyboard at my office.

I find that if I’m riding my bike I can either bring the Surface or the iPad and have a highly functional work environment.

Except for one thing. I only have Scrivener currently installed on my MacBook Pro. So, I have to lug the laptop around if I want to write.

I know that an iPad enabled version of Scrivener is in the works. I’ll just have to wait for that.

But, I’m thinking of buying Scrivener for Windows so I can do writing work on the Surface. Big problem here, though. How do I continue working on a project with the Surface Pro that I started on the MacBook Pro? And back and forth?

Has anyone solved this problem? Or even considered it? Logically, it seems like a variant of a problem somebody must have already faced when working between two Windows or Mac computers. Unless I’m missing something.

I have been collaborating with a friend in China for several years now. She is on Windows, I use a Mac. Because of the 8 hours’ time difference our situation is not unlike yours working between the two platforms yourself. We keep our active projects in Cubby; Dropbox would do just as well—in fact you need to keep active projects in Dropbox to work with the forthcoming iOS Scrivener—but it is blocked in China. Both Dropbox and Cubby work well; I personally would steer clear of Google Drive—many reports of problems— or One Drive, or for Mac iCloud Drive.

In all the time we have been working together, I can only think of two occasions, and they were near the beginning of our collaboration, when we had a conflicted file, and that was due to not waiting for Cubby to finish synchronising before shutting down one computer or opening the project on the other. With care over sync’ing, and always making sure to close the project before leaving the computer—I actually shut Scrivener down—it is smooth. There have been several threads on this. I was pushed into talking about my experience in

though you can ignore all I said on that thread about having to use the Windows version through Crossover, as the Chinese coding problem sorted itself out and I haven’t had to resort to that for a long time. You will need to be aware of the differences in capability still existing between the Mac and Windows version until v.3 finally arrives.


Cool. Sounds like I just need to read up on how to keep active Scrivener writing projects in Dropbox. That shouldn’t be too hard to find.

Thanks! … c-services



Edit: Fundamentally it comes down to making sure everything is fully sync’d before shutting down the computer you’ve been working on, or opening it on the other computer. :slight_smile:

This looks like it should work perfectly as long as I follow the procedures described in that document you linked.

Guess I’m buying Windows version of Scrivener.

Good luck and good Scrivening! :slight_smile:

By the way, I’m sure you must be aware, but on Windows, your .scriv project appears like a regular directory; you have to go into that and open the .scrivx file you find inside. No packages on Windows.


I assume this is an unusual use case for the typical Srivener customer. It seems the vast majority of writers - or at least those that use Scrivener - work on a single computer/workstation/device. Or at least that is what I infer from the current state of Scrivener. Though support for an iPad app is a pretty important step and will enable a lot of Scriveners to be more mobile, I think the actual driving or upper level use case is independent of a specific device or platform.

To me, that upper level use case is support for distributed writing project work. The ability to seamlessly set down your project in one location and pick it up in another without having to spend too much thought about which supported device/platform you are using.

That said, LL is a small company and I completely understand it has to go after the 80% first. But I’m hoping that the more distributed work load use cases are starting to show up in their road map discussions.

I think you’ll find that there are a considerable number of people who work cross-platform as individuals as well as collaboratively. Scrivener works perfectly well for most. The potential issue is for those who want to work collaboratively but who are in the same or near time zones, who have to manage time allocation to each member, as a Scrivener project cannot be open on two machines at the same time. The 8 hours time difference between the UK and China is a complete pain for personal relations, but is a boon for collaborative Scrivenings!

And if you search the forums you will find discussions of how to work with Scrivener in combination with GIT, including the pitfalls that may open up.

Keith and the team are well-aware of cross-platform needs, in fact it is a sine qua non that any and every project should be editable in the Scrivener on any platform.


I apologize if my earlier comment sounded like a complaint. It was only intended as a suggestion.

I’ve spent much of my life working with product management teams at various software companies. I always feel obligated to articulate, even if only briefly, the applicable use case(s) to whatever issue I’m working on at any given moment.

To be more clear, I really, really like Scrivener. Very well executed application. The comment I made earlier is simply my thought on what would take the product to the next level (of market penetration). I’m sure some will agree. Others will not. Do with my feedback what you will.

As a user with four or five licenses on an iMac, Macbook Pro, and two windows machines, my writing has literally ground to a halt in the middle of 30,000 words for a new novel.


If I opened the book on Windows, there was stuff missing. Going from mac to mac there was stuff missing. All of it was and has been stored in dropbox.

I am VERY eager for the day when all of this will work together and not lose whole sections of my novel. Until then, I am limited to just the MB Pro when I have the time instead of being able to sit and add to the book when I am on any of the computers that are licensed to use Scrivener.

It works without problem, moving between computers, provided you remember how Dropbox works. You work on your local machine, quit and save, and give the Dropbox app on the current computer time to upload any changes to Dropbox. When you get the green Go, then you can close. When you open next computer, wait for the Dropbox app to download the latest version from Dropbox to your computer, and then go ahead opening in Scrivener.

All kinds of cloud syncing actually requires that the cloud service get a chance to download and upload. As long as you remember that the cloud service is literally, physically a hard drive somewhere elsy, everything works just fine. When you forget, that’s when the problems start.

There are no plans for a cloud-based or real-time collaboration version of Scrivener at this time.

It’s a really hard technical problem. Google Docs, with an enormous team and nearly infinite resources, took five years to get it right. And still doesn’t support the sort of multi-document organization that Scrivener has.

As noted above, Scrivener does support use of the same project across Windows, macOS, and iOS, and in fact many of our users work across multiple platforms.


The most common cause of this problem is a Dropbox synchronization error, leading to different machines having different versions of the project. There’s a procedure for resolving such errors here:

If that doesn’t help, please send an email to our support address.


I have been working on two different Mac’s for a year or so, alternating back and forth, and now also my iPad Pro has entered the workflow. Once I had a problem, created by myself, but I never lost any text.