Feature: version control, branching, inheritance of sections?

One thing that keeps coming back to my head when trying - time after time again - to get familiar with Scrivener is that all the “sections” EVOLVE.
And by evolve, I mean not just “change over time, as they’re rewritten” - I mean they get split, they get combined, moved around, etc.

So here’s a question - will Scrivener ever have a full, built-in, version control of the sections themselves?

The way I see it, a section could be continuously “snapshotted” every few hours, or at will, basically keeping a running history as it’s worked on. Old version becomes “old”, new version becomes “current”. When it’s SPLIT into several sections - maybe the big paragraphs deserve being separate now? - that split is recorded as a new version: old section is “old” now, two new sections are “current”. We could also MERGE sections, why not: separate parts become “old”, new combined section is “current”. When viewed in the usual editing mode, only “current” sections show, but we could also delve into history to see how a section came to be: was it just born as it is, or was it rewritten from scratch ten times now, or was it combined from several?

This could, quite easily, get a project from outline to final form and back, if needed.

So… Is this ever going to happen, maybe? Or am I barking up the wrong tree?

It is already there.


This holds the whole history as you describe it. (When is a snapshot taken depends on the settings and the user.)
Or perhaps I simply don’t understand.

1 Like

I thought snapshots were for the whole story, not individual sections. Very well then, these do cover basic version control, then. They don’t, however, cover splitting and merging sections as I described.

They do, in a way.
If you split a section, the next snapshot will tell its half’s progress from there on.
(You could deduct that a document got split by seeing it is suddenly only part of what it was from a snapshot to the next.)

But if you want a visual of the binder, no.
For that you’d have to use timestamped backups, and I honestly don’t think it could be even remotely worth the trouble / management.

1 Like

Yup, splitting doesn’t keep any linkage to the original text, so the second part is entirely “new” without history showing.
And there’s no merging other than cutting text out from one place and pasting into the other.


1 Like

I must be going blind. I assumed it would be in the right-click menu, as Split is. Indeed then, there is a merge - but with all history lost. And… I see Merge isn’t Undo-able? So if I Merge by mistake, all my history is gone from the merged sections?

Say you really want it to be traceable :

Here is how I’d do it :

When you split a document, the two new versions share the same notes panel as it was before the split.
Use Insert / Current date and time and insert the date at the top of your notes panel before splitting. You can dedicate a space just for that, using


You can set the date & time up to milliseconds in the options.

Use that “tag” along with Project Search to track your documents’ evolution.

1 Like

Having to constantly tag the document’s evolution, when I’d expect the tool to do it all for me, isn’t exactly ideal. :stuck_out_tongue: It’s doable, sure, but not quite handy. Hence my question if it’s either currently possible without the hassle of having to manage notes by hand, or planned in some future version.
However, since we’re speaking versions: is there a story-wide history of changes stored somewhere, for easy access? Or is there just “snapshot manager”?

You want snapshots of the binder… (?)

To the risk of being unpleasant, I’ll say that I really don’t see the point.
I write novels.
I have an idea.
Then it turns into a mess.
Then it is no longer a mess.
Then it is a mess again.
And on and on… Until I have my story straight.

And I never felt the need for that.

Are you sure you need this ?

And what would it look like ? A log ?
Document X → Split
Document Y created.
Document Y renamed from Y to The underwater diner.


I write other things, not novels (yet!). With my memory bad as it is, I’d either use historical snapshots directly, or just feel safer knowing they’re there. “Wait a sec, I remember writing that joke at some point, where is it…? Search history… Aah, it got replaced by that one-liner quip last month, right. Come back, little joke, you’ll be reused elsewhere!” After all it’s just text, we can store hundreds of past versions at no risk of running out of memory anytime soon.

And yes, I’d certainly love a binder-level log like that! It’d help me remember what I worked on last, or what I keep neglecting. “Wait, I worked on that part, why doesn’t the events match that other thing…? Log log… Oh. Right, I replaced that OTHER thing last time I touched THIS, and then, apparently, didn’t get around to updating this one.”

Especially if I co-work on the binder with other people, being able to review THEIR changes, while the binder was in their hands (for lack of proper collaborative tools built in), would be terriffic.

1 Like

Good point.

I suppose a log of the binder’s evolution over the course of a project could have its uses.

Maybe have a look at this post of mine :

I was thinking more in the line of “what was I working on at the time I got carried away and spent 3 days on this new idea here, where did that come from?”, but I like the shaded progress labels a lot. Except that I’d get stuck trying to figure out whether I should apply “draft 1 bright” or “draft 1 darker”. Or when I completely rework that scene, did I just go back to draft 1, or is it getting mature finally? :thinking:

Yeah, I may have an overthinking problem.

My system is simple.

I revise a document :

Did it progress ? Yes : darker +1. / No : stay as it was. / No, but it is because it is ok for now : +1 darker.
It is bad : demote it.

. . . . . .
If we are gonna talk about this, we should do so in the other thread.

I run out of 255 shades of every color imaginable… :stuck_out_tongue:
Right. As soon as I have something worthwhile to add to your coloring system, I’ll reply there. :smiley:

Sometimes being too organized is a good way of getting nothing done. :wink:


You can set snapshots of every document you changed on manual save of the project.
That is a setting you can set in the option panel not sure think under general settings, but not at the computer.
Doing this every time you did a manual save you would take a snapshot of every change that occurred during that session.
But to be honest like Vincent said that maybe a nightmare to find a single change among all the snapshots. Better off copy anything you want to save and paste into notes for the document.

Wait, is there no “find in all snapshots” feature? :astonished:

Edit / Find / Find... works.

I didn’t actually say that, btw.