Compare Documents Feature Missing

Can you please, please, please, provide a decent compare feature. A writer who gets his/her ms edited by professional editors needs to be able to compare the original text with the edited text, without having to do a snapshot and all the other totally unintuitive process of doing a compare using the Inspector. This is absurd that this useful feature is not available in this already capable writing package. Writers get their stuff edited. Writers need to be able to compare their original with the edit in order to decide what edits to accept and what not to accept. I’ve been using Scrivener from the year dot, it seems, and this simple feature is still NOT AVAILABLE. So…put the original document in (say) the left editor, the edited document in the right editor, hit the COMPARE button on the toolbar…bingo. That’s how simple it should be. Left editor for the original (or the nominated one), and the right editor shows all of the markups and changes. C’mon guys and gals. It’s not rocket science. Stop telling me Scrivener doesn’t support this and do it. Please.
Phew. Rant over. But please, please, please consider it.
Best regards

Tell hour editor to use Scrivener and the snapshot function and your problem is solved.

Make a backup of the project, just in case. Take a snapshot of a document. Then, using copy and paste, completely replace your original text with the edited text. Use the standard comparison tools to compare the new text to the snapshot.


Yes, I agree 100% – this has been a source of frustration with Scrivener for ages.

Make up your mind – which one do you want?

It’s a source of frustration that no user has complained about in over eleven years until now! :slight_smile:

A compare feature between editors would be meaningless in 99.9999% of cases, since usually the editors are showing completely different text. It is entirely meaningful in snapshots, though.

Actually I made more or less the same request about two years ago;


So did these folks:


One point made in my post and several of the others is that snapshots are not the only scenario where one is likely to need to compare - I and others describe situations where we are importing a lot of similar versions from other sources and seeking to reconcile or compare them.

Snapshots track my writing across revisions. I do not want to “pollute” my history with a different writers version, and so then get in a dance of temporary-replace my text, snapshot, compare, duplicate edit, unsnapshot resnapshot!!!). I would happily use a compare documents command (based on the already existing code that does snapshot compare). The comparison view could be in a copyholder. This would substantially simplify my workflow.

There is already an option to view Snapshots in a Copyholder.

There are no plans to add this, though, for the reasons already stated.

Why not just run the texts through a diff program: deltawalker, kaleidoscope, beyond compare , or a text editor with diff like BBEdit or sublime Text?

In the meantime, here’s what I do:

I compile to a DOCX file every time I create a new version or when I sent a copy to my editor. I do a compare to the old DOCX to make sure I didn’t make any big mistakes such as eliminating a scene.

Note that I include the scene names to be used later, like this:

When my editor returns the DOCX file, I go through and accept or reject changes. Finally, I move the text back into my Scrivener documents. I automate this in part via a macro application. I believe that this process could be totally automated using the scene names.

If that automation were implemented, this solution might be better than doing it within Scriv, since the compare change evaluation processes are mature and well-implemented in OpenOffice (and Word). Also, more editors are likely to use DOCX.

I also need this. The snapshots are great, when I’ve made the changes, but It’s not all right to have other people’s work in my snapshots for many reasons, including simply that their comments are not my own, and remembering which is in what is not realistic. I need to be able to compare marked up and commented versions with my versions from different areas (my feedback folder vs the actual document).

To expand on the advice to use a reference copy you paste into with snapshots; if you don’t use the feature for anything else, External Folder Sync can make most of this process automatic. Using the Collection option within it, you can set it to only sync the one reference document ever. So you have this one RTF file on the disk. When you get some revisions back in, you save the document over the top of that file, replacing it. When next you load the project, or run sync, it automatically takes a snapshot and then updates the binder with what is on the disk, and sets up the binder so you can quickly access the item, ready to compare.

But of course, Snapshot + Paste is also handy enough, so if this is only done a few times, setting up external folder sync may be overkill. Useful if this happens a lot though!

Yes, it’s absurd this feature doesn’t exist.

Having used Scrivener for a couple months (after figuring out horrendous it was to try to write in Microsoft Word), I’ve noted that it works really well but fails miserably. That is to say, as long as I follow proper workflows it’s a great program, but when I deviate I find myself in software hell.

Isn’t that how all software works? :slight_smile: I mean, Scrivener is quite a bit more flexible than most programs—especially these days, where you get ten features if you’re lucky and nothing else outside of that works at all, but no matter how deep the program, if you use it in a fashion it isn’t designed to be used, you’re bound to run into friction.

Hi Gerard,

Your lack of specificity makes this post a fairly useless thing, in that nothing is gained by it: L&L can’t improve their product, other posters can’t assist you with possible solutions/workarounds to your challenges, and you remain in software hell. :imp:

But if you ever want to actually improve your situation, then you should create a post detailing your challenge and upload a screenshot to show us what you’re seeing. Odds are very high you’ll receive some helpful responses. :slight_smile:


I’d like to chime in.

Yes, there are workarounds. Workarounds that need quite a few steps. Steps that are prone to errors, by accidentally messing up the text by copy and pasting it around and even overwriting the document to create the snapshot.

Steps, that will break a users workflow and are a great distraction. Steps, that take time and additional software.

Please, add a ‘compare’ feature.

Thank you.

1 Like

Here’s a workaround I use fairly regularly.

Not too many steps, and in my experience pretty safe.

Go to

Drag your before and after/earlier and later files from Scriv into the boxes there.

It’s good, and free. And I am not affiliated to them.

You saved me a lot of work AND my sanity – all with this single link. Thank you!!!