Dragging vs. Duplicating my .scriv file into Dropbox?

I am setting up sync for the first time between my Macbook and my iPhone. I followed the tutorial video. Something worries me: Do I drag my .scriv file from my laptop hard-drive into my Dropbox > Apps > Scrivener account? This removes the file from my harddrive and puts it in my Dropbox.

I notice if I drag the .scriv file to my Dropbox folder on my laptop, the file is gone from my Documents folder. However, if I upload the .scriv file to Dropbox using the dropbox webpage, the .scriv file is preserved in my Documents folder.

Basically I don’t understand if I’m supposed to move the .scriv file from my harddrive to dropbox, or duplicate the file, then move the duplicate.

Thanks for your help.

So long as your Scriv project is set to make backup copies of itself regularly (like whenever you close it), you should just use the Finder to move the .scriv file from your Documents folder to that subfolder of your designated Dropbox folder. (No Dropbox software is involved in moving your project file. Just drag & drop in Finder.)

Nothing particularly funny is going on here: In Finder, dragging a document from one folder (Documents) to another (for example, a subfolder of your designated Dropbox folder) always Moves the file rather than Copies it. That is the default behavior. And the Dropbox folder on your Mac is just a folder like any other. Putting things in it does not remove it from your hard drive — that folder and everything in it is on your hard drive . It is just that the Dropbox software running in the background on your mac syncs whatever is in that folder with copies the Dropbox service maintains on its servers (which is what your iOS Scriv will access).


P.S. If you decide to keep a copy of your project somewhere for safekeeping, give it a different name or compress it into a zip file so you don’t later mistake it for the project file that is your master copy.

Note that gr’s answer assumes that you have installed the Dropbox client software on your Mac and configured it so that it is running. If you haven’t done that and you are trying to manage this through the web interface, you need to stop – while it’s technically possible to do this via the Dropbox web interface, it’s so involved and fiddly you will not like the results. Make sure you have the Dropbox client software installed and running; that’s the piece that does what gr says – it looks at your Dropbox folder on your hard drive and makes sure it synchronizes the files/folders there with the contents of your Dropbox account.

On your iOS device, you don’t actually need to have the iOS Dropbox client installed; L&L included the necessary developer bits in the iOS Scrivener app so it can hook up to your Dropbox account and perform that synchronization itself. (This is necessary because of some of the security restrictions on iOS.)

Thank you both! Thanks for the clarification about the DB app - yes I have it, and the paid version!
I have a couple more questions please:

  1. Are your backups .zip files ?
  2. Do you set up auto-sync between your main device (MacOS for me) and your DB?
  3. Is there any purpose to saving backups to iCloud or any other cloud server that cannot open .scriv files?

So, here’s what I use, as I have Mac, Windows, and iOS:

  1. I have the Dropbox app on both Mac and Windows with a 4GB quota.
  2. I store only my active Scrivener projects in the local Dropbox folder under App\Scrivener. This means only my active Scrivener projects are syncing between my three devices.
  3. I have OneDrive on all devices with a 1TB storage quota, so this is my preferred storage solution.
  4. My Scrivener-wide backup preferences on both Mac and Windows are set to backup to my OneDrive\WritingBackups folder. They use the date/time, are zipped, and allow an unlimited number of backups. This way, all of my backups from whatever device are synchronized with OneDrive and if I need to, I can download them from OneDrive.
  5. Under my OneDrive folder, I also have a WritingArchive folder. I move all of my inactive Scrivener projects here. Again, I can retrieve them from any device and move them into Dropbox\Apps\Scrivener if I need to, but this way they aren’t taking up my DropBox quota and they’re not actively syncing and potentially causing sync delays.

If something happens to DropBox, only my active project copies are affected – I can still retrieve my backups from OneDrive. If something happens to OneDrive, my active project copies are still available on DropBox. I can use OneDrive’s selective sync to help manage disk space on my Windows device (which has a smaller SSD) but still be able to download backups and archived projects when I need to. I can always use the web interfaces to download everything I need to. And on my Mac, which has a larger SSD, I sync the entire contents of DropBox and OneDrive to the SSD so that my Time Machine backups are grabbing local backup copies of all my files as well.

I answered a question from you in another thread, but just to make sure you understand.

Dropbox is a folder on your hard drive! So when you move the project using drag-and-drop in -finder, you move it from one folder to another folder, on your hard drive. The only difference is that the -dropbox app monitors the folder named Dropbox and makes sure that the same content also exists on the Dropbox server hard drive.

Yes! The whole point of a cloud backup is that it is on a separate physical computer, and therefore is isolated from any mishaps that might befall your own device. (Theft, damage, insufficiently supervised toddler messing with your files…) If you need to restore a backup, you copy it from the cloud server to the local device, which can open the files.


My own backup practice is: My Scriv prefs are set to backup my projects to the default location on my hard drive and I have the zip option is on. I only have it set to maintain backups five deep. I backup my whole Mac to an external hard drive when my Mac reminds me to – what is the interval of those reminders? 12 days? I forget. (I have one such backup drive at home and one at work, so they are in physically different locations.)

If you are talking about auto-syncing the contents of the designated ‘Dropbox’ folder on your mac, then yes. That is just what Dropbox does. I mean, that is what it is for. If you are talking about anything bigger than that, then no.

I only keep certain selected Scriv projects in my DB folder – those I want always to be able to access from my iPad – For me, iOS Scriv is mostly for access to those projects, rather than doing significant work in them on mobile.


P.S. While we are at it, don’t forget to close out your Scriv project on your one device before opening it on the other!

Thanks to both of you.
I have my system figured out using a combination of Dropbox and OneDrive, and with backups in both and also in iCloud.

Using BOTH Dropbox and OneDrive with Scrivener is a little scary, but if it works, it works. Well done.