External Sync and Multiple Computers

So I write on two computers and on my iPhone.

I put my project in Dropbox and then sync’d it with an external folder, also in Dropbox.

I edited the project on my phone.

I then opened up my second computer and opened the project, and noticed it did not sync with the external folder. Trying to turn on sync only told me it could not turn on because the folder already had contents.

Is it possible to externally sync a project and then use it with Scrivener on two different computers?

Huh. Now I opened the project back up on my original computer and it’s not sync’d anymore. Maybe because I opened it up on the other computer? Is there any way to re-sync it with the already existing folder?

It is not possible for two instances of Scrivener to share an external folder. So what probably happened was this:

Computer A edits project, syncs with external folder.

iPhone edits project, syncs with external folder. These changes are not yet stored in the original Scrivener project, because Scrivener hasn’t run.

Computer B opens project, does not sync to the external folder, but does update the base project. This project then syncs back to Computer A using Dropbox.

Computer A picks up the project from Computer B, meaning that it doesn’t see the iPhone changes either. The external folder is now marooned, without a connection to Scrivener.

To fix the problem, I would suggest the following:

  • Use the File -> Backup -> Backup Now command to create a fresh backup. That way you can recover if something goes wrong.

  • Find the external folder in Finder. Sort the files by modified date, so that you can see which ones the iPhone edit actually changed. Drag those files back into Scrivener, placing them in a separate area of the Binder. Manually inspect them to make sure they have the most current content, then move them into the appropriate Binder locations, replacing the obsolete versions.

(Yes, this is tedious. Because the connection was broken, Scrivener can’t handle the housekeeping for you.)

And finally, to keep the problem from happening again, re-configure an external folder on the system you use most often, and make sure that you always sync back to that computer before opening the project elsewhere.


Okay, thank you!