Collaboration?

I’ve finally reached the stage in my project where I’m ready to work with an editor. She has asked about Scrivener and whether or not it has collaborative abilities. Frankly I have no clue. I’ve done a search on this site and found some references to the ability to use Scrivener with Dropbox (though it sounded kind of scary and not very practical, having to make sure that we were never opening the file at the same time and such). Is there any practical way to transfer the scrivener project file between computers without corrupting it? I see that there are many useful editing tools and comment tools within the software, my problem is transfering the file between the two of us. Any ideas? :blush:

Unless your Scrivener project files have a bazillion PDFs, most are small enough to email around. I’d export a backup as a zipped archive and email that if you’re leery of Dropbox. (You do need to be careful that you both aren’t working on it at the same time, which as you said might be problematic.) You could even have your editor export the notes and send those, so that you don’t confuse the two projects. (And he/she could just expect a fresh Scrivener project when you’re ready, etc.)

Thanks so much for responding. So just to clarify: If I exported the backup as a zipped archive it would remain in the scrivener format so that all the comments and editing notation would be in place? And we would both need to have scrivener, right? That really seems like the best option so far. I was really hoping someone would say that I could just email the files, you just made my day :slight_smile:

That’s correct. A Scrivener backup is just the whole project folder zipped up—there is nothing fancy about it, it is 100% the state of the project as you left it, all the way down to where the cursor is blinking in which document, if the editor is split, whether the ruler is showing in the editor and so on. The best way to make these backups is to use the File/Back Up/Back Up To... menu command. This will automatically datestamp the file and offer the zip compression option, both options will be nice and mandatory, respectively, when throwing a file back and forth. If you have a datestamp on it, there is no ambiguity over which is newest.

Thanks for responding. So I tried backing up the project and sending it to my editor but when she got it there was no text in it, only chapter titles. Just to get familiar with the program, she added some text to it and sent it back but it still didn’t show up on my end. Are we doing something wrong?

It sounds like all you sent your editor was the one single “project” file, rather than the whole project folder. The menu command I provided is the easiest way to send a project. All you have to do is open the project you wish to send, make a backup .zip somewhere temporary like the desktop using File/Back Up/Back Up To..., and then attach that .zip file to an e-mail (or send it via some file sharing service).

But if you’d really rather use Windows Explorer, that is totally fine (the menu command just wraps all of these steps up into a single command). Just make sure that (a) the project is closed and (b) you’re compressing the entire “my project.scriv” folder, not any singular components from within that folder. The whole thing is your project, comprised of may dozens of files. If you just send the binder file, then all that will open is an empty binder. All of the names and labels and keywords and such will be there, but no data, just like you described, because data is stored elsewhere in small files.

Thanks so much for responding! I did the File/Back Up/Back Up To... as you suggested and had the “back up as zip file” checked off. Is there a certain way we need to open it? I’ll try it again in case I slipped up somewhere. Any advice is appreciated :slight_smile:

Just some practical advice, from two writers who collaborate on fiction.
Sending a Scrivener project file to an editor is like, um…
Like sending a rehearsal tape to the drama critic at the NY Times.
You don’t want her/him to see a work in progress, but your best efforts
If we are talking a pro editor at a publishing house, that is.

If by “editor” you mean a friend or colleague who helps clean up your prose,
My advice is the same: send only your best, most polished draft
Preferably in a file format that’s easy for her/him to open.
And then that person will write comments on the file.
You get it back and Track Changes (works in Word, Pages, NW Pro)
And keep exchanging files until you’re both satisfied.

In short, when another reader/editor is involved, you’re done with Scrivener.
Export the draft to a word processor and start moving it toward publication.

Sole exception: if the collaborator really understands Scrivener
And knows how to make comments, backup as Zip file,
And distinguish between variant versions of the project file.

Hrm…would tend to agree. My binder structure bears little resemblance to the compiled output. (I generally keep other ideas and things forked off and in the story until I’m sure I have what I want/need. Then those files are shunted off into another folder entirely. it would be tricky to explain to another person exactly what I intend to be the final output.)

You make a really good point. This editor is somewhere in between there. She is just starting out in the field but I am paying for her services so I should treat all interactions as professionally as possible. I suppose it’s time for me to shell out the money for Word, eh? Anyway, thanks for the advice :slight_smile:

Nothing special, if you’ve ever worked with zip files before. If you haven’t all you need to do is double-click and it will open like a folder. It will be “read only” so you need to drag the “my project.scriv” folder out of that window and somewhere handy like My Documents or the desktop. A zip file is just a handy “container” format that packs bunches of files into one single file, making it useful for transactions such as e-mail, which do not handle folder structures with files in them very well (if at all), when attaching stuff.

We quit on Word long ago because it was a memory hog and hard to run on older machines.
We turned to Pages, which is NOT perfect but it’s relatively light, fast, and just $19.99.
It opens Doc and Docx files, reads them, and exports back to them in those formats.
So our editors (all Word-serfs) never know the difference.
We always export our Scriv drafts in RTF for the best import into Pages.
(It does not work so well with footnotes, but that’s not a feature we need.)

And BTW, if you sign up for GMail, you get 5 gb of free storage on Google Drive
Plus free use of Google Docs, which is very Word-like and also imports Word or RTF files.
You may share documents with another user, exchange comments on the file, and
Even watch each other typing revisions, which is true collaboration!

Good luck on your projects.

I don’t think it’s necessary to “shell out for Word”, since Open Office is free and can open from and save to .doc and .docx formats. Or, if you’re a college student, you might be able to get a deal at your university for very discounted prices on software. I picked up Office 2010 Enterprise edition (with every single Office program) for around 15 bucks at my school.

Second LibreOffice and OpenOffice. The doc/docx format from it was fine for my dissertation. :slight_smile:

I actually have open office (it is what we were using before we attempted this whole scrivener thing) but I’m unsure how to use track changes in it. Perhaps I should move this to an Open Office forum somewhere but before I go, do any of you know how to use a track changes feature between multiple users in open office?

comments work very well in the latest (4.whatever) versions of Libre Office. There doesn’t seem to be anything complicated about them now – insert where you like, using insert->comment, or ctrl-alt-c and then they will show up for your collaborator. It’s not as good as the live, real-time collaboration in google docs, but it is as good as the coments were in Word, last time I tried them.

You can also keep revision marking going with edit -> changes -> record changes.