Emailing between Scrivener users

Is there a way to send a document, with comments and notes, to another Scrivener user via email? I know how to export, but it seems to only cater to word users. My friend and I both use Scrivener and want to send edits for each other via email, but I can’t figure out how I can without changing the integrity of the document. If anyone can help out, I’d greatly appreciate it. Thanks.

I’ll take a shot at this… but take my note with a grain of salt… and note that I may discuss options in a different sequence than others would… Apologies for the length… someone else could probably say it more concisely… and may have done so elsewhere in the forum or in a Scrivener related book/e-book/manual or class/training. And none of this is a reflection on Scrivener… it is a reality for any app dealing with databases, which is what Scrivener projects are behind the scenes. Forum administrators… if this is incorrect or inappropriate, feel free to move or remove.

First, before anything else, assure that you are routinely creating backups in addition to those that Scrivener creates, and that those additional backups are elsewhere (other/external drive, USB thumb/flash drive, CD/DVD disk, cloud storage, …). And routinely test and verify that you can recover from those backups. That’s not a reflection on Scrivener… that is just a fact of life for anyone doing computer based work they can’t afford to lose. Such backups could be created by periodically using Windows or third party utility to copy or compress/copy the live Scrivener project folder elsewhere or using Scrivener’s File > Back Up > Back Up To (preferably with zip option) to custom back it up elsewhere. See more about that below.

Due to a possible difference in terminology, I’m not certain if you are referring to sending all or part of a thing you are working on in Scrivener.

In Scrivener, a “project” is the whole thing you are working on (what you open, save and backup within Scrivener), which contains multiple items (folders, documents, etc.).

Conceptually and within Scrivener, those all make up a single whole thing, a project. Out in the raw Windows file system, those appear as a Scrivener project folder (name ending in type .scriv) containing subfolders and numerous files (most of which are .rtf formatted text files, each corresponding to an individual “document” within the project). Note that this raw file system detail is generally hidden on the Mac OS X operating system (the whole thing is generally presented as a single “package”, unless one goes out of one’s way to tell OS X to show the package’s interior details), but still subject to the same concerns and considerations.

So let’s take the scenario of wanting to send an entire project, assuming that the project size doesn’t exceed what your e-mail can handle. Within Scrivener, with the project open, do File > Back Up > Back Up To and save a backup copy of the project, being sure to use the “backup as zip file” option (which will compress the entire thing down into a single smaller physical file), to some location other than the actual project or regular backups locations. Verify that the size of the resulting compressed .zip file can be handled by your e-mail, e-mail it as an attachment (or pass via some cloud storage/share service). Your friend would then need to save and extract (decompress/unzip) the received .zip file back out into regular Windows file system form (extracts it out as project folder and all its contents), can then work on it in Scrivener, then, when done, re-compress the edited project (via Scrivner File > Back Up > Back Up To or via Windows or third party compress/zip facility or utility program) and e-mail it back to you. You would then extract/decompress it and proceed to open it with Scrivener, etc., etc.

If the entire project proves too large for this to be practical (exceeds size e-mail can handle, etc.) or you are only interested in sending select individual document items from a Scrivener project rather than the entire project… a possible scenario… In Scrivener, with the original project open, do File > New to create a new pretty much empty project and copy (can drag and drop) desired individual document item(s) into the new project. Do a File > Back Up > Back Up To of the new project, using the zip option as before, e-mail the resulting smaller compressed project, which the recipient would deal with as discussed above, recompress and send back to you, for you to decompress, open and copy or whatever back into your original project.

The above scenarios take advantage of zip compression and consolidation of multiple folders and files into a single smaller physical file, that e-mail can handle (trying to attach a raw file system folder with all its numerous subordinate contents to an email is at best an invitation to disaster) provided one doesn’t exceed the e-mail attachment size limit… and that is also simplest/safest to pass via pretty much any cloud storage/share system. A bit clunky, but safe once one gets used to the routine and possibly figures out how to streamline or automate it.
NOTE: In Tools > Options > Backup in Scrivener, be sure to tell it to attach dates to file names, to facilitate you and your partner being able to keep track of which .zip file is which. It will then automatically add date and time to the names, assuring unique meaningful names that can be dealt with intuitively.

If that is too clunky… there is the option of using the DropBox cloud storage/share system (and possibly others, but see caution below) to share the Scrivener project’s raw project folder and its contents (folders and numerous files within). The project folder (name ends in type .scriv) can be placed on DropBox, within an area (folder) that you specify to DropBox that your partner can share with you, after which both you and your partner can access it from within Scrivener, just like any other project.
Let me repeat… read the above Using Scrivenr with Cloud-Sync Services knowledgebase article and practice it religiously if you decide to use this approach. Again, this is not a reflection on Scrivener, but rather the realities of trying to share a multi-component database via a cloud storage/sync system.

If all the above is unacceptable or impractical, then you are likely down to exporting selected document items from Scrivener. Some export formats other than Word (.doc, .docx), including .rtf are supported. The catch is that you’ll probably lose some associated meta-data.

There are a couple of other options, sort of…
Currently only on/for the Mac, the external sync option. That will hopefully become available for the Windows version sometime this calendar year.
Currently on the Windows side, one can manually determine raw individual .rtf files of interest, copy them, work on them and then somehow bring them back in, but that’s DANGER WILL ROBINSON!!! territory. Involves assuring Scrivener is not running, then using an XML editor (Ultraedit (free trial/costs) or some free one) to view the search.indexes file down in the project’s Files subfolder to determine which .rtf file corresponds with which document within the project, then copying those files elsewhere, sending/working on them, then bringing them back in in some way (not sure how to do that… open and copy/paste from WordPad or some more robust .rtf editor into already open document in Scrivener).

Hope the above is more help than hurt.

While I think SpringfieldMH has covered the ground pretty much, can I point you to the thread:

in response to a similar type of query. But, I would also add that: (1) Cubby works just as well as Dropbox, and has advantages of amount of free space, and, I think, ability to locate “Cubbies” anywhere within your system; (2) Shirley and I continue to co-operate in the same way, though I’m now on Mac v. 2.7 and she’s on Windows v. 1.9, the Chinese coding problem resolved itself somehow, and apart from a brief glitch immediately after the release of the current versions, has not reared its ugly head again, so although I still have Crossover installed running Windows v. 1.9, that is an emergency backup … I don’t actually use it in our work together.

Mr X