Cloud Sync

Hello. I’m returning to Scrivener after a long hiatus. A year ago I had a computer crash and I had to purchase a new PC. I thought I could just jump right back online and go to work with my Scrivener projects just as I had prior. Sadly, that didn’t work.

All my files were lost due to my misunderstanding as to where to sync in the cloud. In my initial enthusiasm, I jumped into the product without reading the FAQ about cloud incompatibility. That didn’t seem to matter on my original computer, but when I got the new one, it did. No access. No way to extract them. I’ve had more than one Scrivener expert try to help me. No avail. I’ve scanned through this forum and all the advice to others with similar issues doesn’t work in my situation.

So, I learned the hard way, frequent compile is your best friend. That takes up a lot of space, but it’s better than losing work all together.

Being badly burned by this experience, I shut down Scrivener.

I think I would like to start using it again, but I have great trepidation. After perusing the FAQs about cloud sync, I still have “Qs”. Where should I save my files and how do I set up my computer to automatically save to the correct place?

Also, I did find one of my manuscripts where the synopsis cards survived, but nothing else. Is there a way to print the synopsis cards? I haven’t found it yet.

Thanks for any help.

Karen B

I’ve been watching this for a couple of days. Seems it was lost in the shuffle. Hoping someone from L & L can offer suggestions as to how to save work going forward. Thanks!

what do you mean by “cloud sync”? If you have your files stored on something like dropbox you should be able to open them from any computer running Scrivener. Not sure if there is some Mac vs PC incompatibility as I only use a PC. But storing “in the cloud” should be no different than using a USB drive (or any drive for that matter) - the only difference really is the path the data takes.

For me I have Dropbox installed and work from a folder in that. That is a local file, but Dropbox backs up to the cloud in the background. I can go to my Dropbox online account and download from there is if have to - ie if my local copy was lost

If you haven’t already found it, this document is a good place to start when considering using a service like Dropbox for your Scrivener projects: To sum up the main points with regard to using it safely:

  1. Never open a project on more than one computer at the same time
  2. Always check that a project has finished synchronising before opening (on Dropbox, look for a green tick over your project icon)
  3. Don’t shut down your computer until Dropbox has finished synchronising.

To answer your other question, you can print out your synopses from the Corkboard view by selecting File > Print Current Document…


Seems to me as though there is confusion on the OP’s part about robust backup strategies, and what sync actually is. If proper back up strategies are in place then losing entire projects should be almost impossible. Backups should also be made to external hard drives (ideally a couple, regularly rotating one off site so that in the event of fire or home theft, you still have your work backed up elsewhere). Dropbox and other cloud services can be used as back up locations, but are a bad place to store the only copy of your work. Scriv can create and store backups, usually on the same drive as the project is saved, but Scriv is not designed to safeguard these backups.

Where were the projects originally stored? Where was Scrivener directed to file backups? If the answer is the same location, then that may be the problem. If not, then perhaps it may yet be possible to recover the projects?

Some thoughts on backup strategies can be found here:

(Time Machine is of course Mac only, but the other advice is universal.)

Actually downloading a complete project from Dropbox requires having the Dropbox software installed on the local machine. If you try to download from the Dropbox web site, you’ll discover that a Scrivener project contains several folders, and Dropbox will only download one of them at a time. (That is, it won’t recursively download the whole tree.) It’s possible to reassemble a complete project, but somewhat tedious and painful. This is one of several reasons why Dropbox is not a great choice for your primary backup tool.

Now, to the OP’s question, it’s really hard to offer useful advice without knowing more about the specific situation. It might be helpful to look in the Files/Docs subfolder of the damaged project – both locally and in the cloud – since that’s where the .RTF files containing your work will be. But it’s hard to make more detailed suggestions without more information.

The Compile -> Formatting pane allows you to include the synopses in your output document, just check the appropriate box for each outline level.

On my own system, projects that I need to use on multiple computers are saved in my Dropbox folder, but Scrivener’s automatic backups are saved on the local machine. (And each Dropbox-connected system has its own automatic backup folder.) Both the originals and the backups are protected by other methods. (See the article I linked above.)


re dropbox downloading - my experience using Windows is that you log on to the dropbox website, rightclick on the folder you want to download, click “download” and a zip file of that folder including all subfolders etc downloads. Unless you have a synced local copy in which case Dropbox will just open that local version

In my experience Dropbox is much better than the Windows native OneDrive. OneDrive seems to have all sorts of problems with syncing whereas I have not really noticed any problems with Dropbox. Tip: dropbox syncs in the background and you can set the bandwidth which is very handy if you have poor internet speeds. OneDrive does not have that for example, it just hogs your entire bandwidth

Katherine, thank you for your reply. I’ve had many Scrivener users take a look, including some back and forth with Literature & Latte techs. Everyone has a suggestion and I’ve tried them all. The files are not anywhere. No RTF, no Zip, nothing. We’ve looked and looked. Corrupted somehow and died a horrible death. I had some of my work compiled and saved offline. Of course not the one I’m looking for.

After I got the new PC last year and jumped back into Scrivener, I had the error message described here: … e-advisory
Now I will add this: I lost my Scrivener program on the crashed PC and had to upload a new one. Perhaps that had something to do with the problems.

But back to the advisory. Did I read that BEFORE I jumped into Scrivener? Of course not. So I take full ownership of my error.

But before I start using Scrivener again, I need to understand how to save work. Can you point me to instructions on how to set the saving function? If it goes to OneDrive automatically (as all my other work does) how can I have an additional location? Is that automatic or do I need to do a “save as” function to have additional location?

I know this question shows how little I know about Scrivener. I’m almost ashamed to admit I’ve taken two online workshops by some top instructors. Somehow I must have slept through this part of the courses.

For the record, I have a PC with Windows 10 and MS Word.

Many thanks for any advice.

(gregh1957 thanks for your reply. I’m going to look into it. I have a Dropbox account but rarely use it except for sharing files. I might start! Now, on to setting this up in Scrivener!)

When you create a new project, Scrivener will ask you where to put it. So whether to save it to OneDrive is entirely up to you.

Scrivener will also take automatic backups, following the options you specify in the Tools -> Options -> Backup pane.

You can use the File -> Backup -> Backup To command to save an additional copy to an additional location at any time. This won’t happen automatically, but it’s the option I recommend if, for instance, you want to save a copy before making major changes so that you can revert to it if necessary.


Hmm. That option isn’t available when using the Dropbox site from a Mac. Which seems odd, as it might be browser-dependent but shouldn’t depend on the destination OS. Are you accessing Dropbox through a browser, or through Windows Explorer?


@Katherine - if I access through Windows Explorer then I am accessing my local copy, using a browser I access the cloud copy. So that test was done using a browser. It seems strange this would be OS dependent. Here is the relevant help page

re Onedrive - it really is terrible, worse under win10 than win8/8.1

Ah ha!

The option re-appeared when I looked at a folder that wasn’t already sync’ed. Learn something every day, thanks!