Help with Sync to Dropbox

It appears I don’t want to use the External Folder Sync since all I want to do is sync my Scrivener projects. The options, Simplenote and Index Card for iPad mean nothing to me. The attempts I’ve made have ended up a mess on the second computer. Where can I go for step-by-step help? (And how do I delete my mess?)

Check out Keith’s sticky post on this. If you’re trying to work on the same project on different computers, you want to either just store the .scriv project directly in Dropbox (following the guidelines in the post) or use Scrivener’s “Backup” feature to create zipped backups of your project to Dropbox and always work by getting the latest .zip of the project from your Dropbox folder, extracting it to somewhere else on your hard drive, working, and then closing the project and storing a new .zip back in Dropbox (the last bit can be done automatically by having Scrivener create a zipped backup on project close and setting your Dropbox folder as the location for the backups). You’ll want to be sure to always grab the most recent file before you begin working so you don’t end up with a forked project (ie, two versions with different changes), but it’s a simple process and easy to make a habit of. This FAQ post goes over that, too.

I printed that one out and it was of no help. Sorry I’m so stupid. The only thing I got from that one is that syncing to an External Folder is NOT what I want to do.

How do I get my project, open on Scrivener, to Dropbox so I can then open it on another computer?

And how do I delete projects?

I’m sorry to be such a thorn. Number 4 on the FAQ sheet tells me to move the file to my second computer using whatever method I prefer. That would be Dropbox, I guess. (Which is also new to me.)

I’m assuming that once that is accomplished Numbers 5 and 6 will make sense.

There are a few different things going on here. The number four you refer to is part of the information about copying your preference settings from one computer to another, not moving project files between them. The link I posted should’ve gone to the last FAQ on the page, “How should I keep my projects up to date between different computers?” That gives information on using the zipped backup method. But I’ll try to explain both in more detail, so bear with me.

To store your project directly on Dropbox:

  1. With the project open in Scrivener, go to Scrivener>Preferences:Backup.
  2. Check the box to “Turn on automatic backups” and then the box for backing up on open or close or both.
  3. Check the box to compress the backup.
  4. If you haven’t changed the default location for backups, you can leave this alone; otherwise, or if you want to choose somewhere different, set it to somewhere on your local hard drive that is not Dropbox.
    Steps 1-4 are global settings, so this will apply to all your projects on that computer.
  5. Make sure that File>Back Up>Exclude from Automatic Backups is not checked. (By default it will not be checked.)
  6. Close the project in Scrivener.
  7. Open Finder.
  8. Navigate to the folder where your project is stored. This is probably in your user Documents folder, if you didn’t choose a different location when you created the project. If you don’t know where it is, try using Spotlight to search for it by name or search for “.scriv” (no quotes) and then look through the results to fine the one you want.
  9. Use Finder to move (not copy) your project from its current location to your Dropbox folder. It may help to open a new instance of Finder (cmd-N while you’re in Finder) and navigate to your Dropbox folder there, then drag the project from one window to the other.

Dropbox will begin syncing as soon as you place the project in that folder; you should see the Dropbox icon in your menu bar with the arrows in the blue circle indicating that it’s syncing.dropbox syncing.png Do not turn off your computer or put it to sleep, etc. until Dropbox has finished syncing your files and the icon changes back to the checkmark in the green circle.sync complete.png

Since you’ve moved your project, when you next open Scrivener it won’t appear in the “recent projects” menu; you’ll need to do a regular Open and then find it from your Dropbox location. You’ll only need to do this once on each computer.

To use zipped backups on Dropbox:

  1. With the project open in Scrivener, go to Scrivener>Preferences:Backup.
  2. Check the box to “Turn on automatic backups” and then the box for backing up on close (and open or manual saves, if you like).
  3. Check the box to compress the backup.
  4. Check the box to use the date in the backup.
  5. Set the backup location as your Dropbox folder (or a “Scrivener Projetts” folder within your Dropbox).
    Steps 1-5 are global settings, so this will apply to all your projects on that computer.
  6. Make sure that File>Back Up>Exclude from Automatic Backups is not checked. (By default it will not be checked.)
  7. Close the project in Scrivener.

When you close the project, Scrivener will automatically backup a zipped copy of the project to Dropbox, and Dropbox will sync with the server—as above, you can watch the icon in the menu bar to see when the sync is finished. When you go to work on the other computer

  1. Let Dropbox sync
  2. Open your Dropbox folder and copy to elsewhere on your hard drive (the Desktop is easy) the most recent project zip file (it will be called “” and the date stamp will let you know which is most recent—sorting by “modified date” in Finder will help also).
  3. Unpack the zip file and double-click on the .scriv file to open it in Scrivener.
  4. Work on your project as normal, closing when you’re finished.

When you close, Scrivener will again make a new backup to Dropbox.

To keep things clean and reduce confusion, you may then want to trash the older .zip and unpacked project that you copied out from Dropbox, so that you don’t accidentally open it later when it’s out of date. Always grab the most recent zip from Dropbox.

The guidelines then apply to both methods:

  1. Only ever work on the project on one computer at time, and always close the project before switching computers. (Scrivener should give you a warning about this if you try to open the project while it’s open in another location.)
  2. When you’ve finished working, don’t turn off the computer, put the hard drive to sleep, disconnect from the internet, etc. until Dropbox has synced your project. (As explained above, watch the icons for Dropbox’s activity.)
  3. Don’t open your project until Dropbox has completed syncing. (This is really more an issue for working directly on the .scriv from Dropbox rather than dealing with the second method of zipped files. After you’ve worked on the project on the first computer, closed it, and let Dropbox complete the sync, you need to make sure that Dropbox has had a chance to sync on your second computer before you begin working there. If your second computer was off, was asleep, etc. then the Dropbox folder on that computer has not yet been updated, and you need to let it connect to the internet and pull down the new files from the server. Watch the icon for activity. You might also want to try installing Growl notifications to let you know which files have been updated. For the zipped files, you’ll just need to make sure that Dropbox syncs and the most recent .zip file has been added.)

That was lengthy, but did it help?


Here’s an alternative, somewhat simpler approach, that I use:

(1) Put your Scrivener project file directly into your Dropbox folder and leave it there.
(2) Whenever you want to open it, set Dropbox to “Pause Syncing” BEFORE opening the Scrivener project file.
(3) After you close the Scrivener project file, set Dropbox to “Resume Syncing.”

That’s it.

Yes, there’s a risk that If you don’t pause syncing each time you open the file, then you could get into trouble for all the reasons so well documented elsewhere in the pages of this board. But the simple Solution = Always Pause Syncing whenever you have the Scrivener Project open.

As far as where to store your compressed backup – put it anywhere you want and hope you never need to open it (in other words, use it like any other backup file).

YES!!! I can go on my trip, write on the deck, and do this!!! I’ll be practicing for a bit. Then I’ll try the ‘simpler’ approach.

Hugs and Kisses!