Help MERGING 4 similar projects

So…not sure how I managed this, between the version upgrade last year, making manual backups, working (dumbly) off a shared drive, and my own general stupidity - I have FOUR (count em) FOUR nearly duplicate files files. And I’ve somehow managed to work on EACH ONE OF THEM at some point in the last 6 months. So it’s a bit of a mess.

It’s a huge project…and I’m dreading cleaning this up. But before I start MERGING PROJECTS I wanted to ask here: is there a strategy I should be employing here? Does MERGE just bring in everything, duplicates and all? Or is there any auto-filtering that occurs? Should I start a new file? Or just grab the latest of the 4 dupes?

If it’s all just “raw” merging, which would result in sons of duplicate pages, scenes, binder items, etc. Is there any other in-program tools I can use to clean this mess up? Or will I just have to resign myself for a lot of clerical cleanup hours?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts, and yes, I’m aware I’m a moron :wink:

If you plan for merging, then using “Save As” to create a duplicate project, working on it for a bit, you can then merge that project’s changes back to the original… once. You have to create a new Save-As copy to do it a second time.

It sounds like the provenance of each of your copies is uncertain, and so “merge” probably won’t work. But maybe you should give it a try?

First, and this is very important, open the “main” project, however you arrive at which one is the main one. This is going to be the central hub into which you merge all the other changes, so maybe it’s best if it’s the oldest copy, with the least recent changes? It’s hard to be sure this is best without knowing everything that you changed; if it’s just the words in each document, or the addition of new documents, then the oldest is probably best. But if you created a lot of new metadata, then maybe the one with the most up-to-date metadata is your best starting point… You’ll have to decide.

Once you’ve figured out which project to start from, use File->Back Up->Back Up to… This is the best way to create mile-stone backups, as it allows you to .zip compress the results, and it leaves you editing the original, rather than the new copy. It also lets you put the data stamp into the filename, which is very helpful to future you.

With that backup as a safe-guard, you can try merging in the other projects. See what happens, and if it’s not a desirable outcome, delete the original, unzip the “Back Up To…” copy, and try another merging process.

If the merge function doesn’t work, then try the following to find the most recently modified files in each copy of your project:

  1. Use the project search (Edit->Find->Project Search).
  2. Enable the following options, disabling all others: Search In: All, Operator: Any, Options: Search ‘Included’ Documents, Search ‘Excluded’ Documents.
  3. Enter an asterisk for the search term (this matches everything)
  4. Click into the results, and then select all (CMD-a)
  5. If necessary, enter outline view, and add the “Modified Date” column
  6. Click on that column header to sort by that date.

Now you can find the documents in each project copy that were modified after the duplication, including documents that were created in one copy but don’t eve exist in the others. Use “Reveal in Binder” to find where new documents belong in the binder of your “main” project, and drag from binder to binder to copy. For documents that were modified more recently than in your “main” project, you can take a snapshot, then copy from the newer version’s text into the main project’s text, Using the snapshot’s inspector interface, you can then show the differences between the snapshot and the new text, and decide if that’s what you want in the main project or if you want to roll back to the snapshot.

I know, it looks like a lot of work, but once you’ve done the setup, you should find that you haven’t modified or added that many documents (time stamps should be the same for documents that weren’t altered).

Rdale’s advice is good, so I just want to reiterate:

Backup everything. Make backups of all the candidate projects before you start, and of all the intermediate steps as you go. There is no bad merge, no matter how disastrously misguided, that can’t be fixed if you have a good backup.

AND name your backups so that you can easily tell which is which.


Thank you both so much for the quick (and detailed) reply!
I’ll give this a shot over the next few days and report back :wink:

Very helpful.

And here all this time, I’ve been manually merging files… this changes everything for me,

Thanks again for this! I got up to this point…and I’m able to A/B most of the pages, becasue (thankfully) a lot of them we’re simply new, or drastically changed, so it’s easy to identify.

I have several dozen pages that are more difficult to discern. The non-script pages thankfully had WORD COUNT at the bottom, so I can use that to easily make a judgement call.

However I cannot seem to figure out a way to show the WORD COUNT on my scripts/scenes in screenwriting mode. I’m also not familiar with this snapshot technique, and honestly it seems convoluted.

Do you know of a way to easily display the WORD COUNT in a script?


The easiest way to display word count for a script page is to (temporarily) turn off script mode. The footer area can’t show both the word count and the script elements at the same time.

The second easiest way is to show that section in the Outline view with the Word Count column enabled.


Thanks! …and I think we may have found a helpful FEATURE ADDITION for the next .dot release? I would imagine I’m not alone in feeling that a similar middle-bottom word count display option in screenwriting mode would be helpful :wink:

Why not just load your draft folders into outline mode, and then add the word- (or better yet-character) count column for this purpose? Then you’ve got a very succinct way of finding documents that differ by the number of letters and punctuation.