How safe is saving Scrivener work?

Right now I work in Word and am paranoid when it comes to saving my work. First I save to my hard drive, then I save it to two flash drives. Is it as easy to back up Scrivener work in multiple places, as well?

As you can see from the screenshot I’ve attached Scrivener has a number of options available for backups. It only creates one backup to one location at a time, but as you can see there are a number of other choices that can be toggled. Scrivener will backup with each autosave and if you have it toggled every manual save too. If you need a back up in multiple locations you could always copy the backups from their default save location into the directories you need.

Of course, you can also use the more manual method of selecting the “Save As” option from the file menu. Though, I find it, a much more tedius way of making backups and like any application once you use the save as command scrivener will default to the newly created file.

I highly recommend downloading the trail version, if you haven’t already, and try these features out for yourself. That will give you a better working knowledge of how the backup works and whether it will fit your requirements.

Thanks. I have downloaded the trial version and am pretty committed to purchasing the program. For the price, I would buy it even if it only to replace my current index card collection with the corkboard/synopsis feature. :smiley: Already, I’ve discovered wonderful additions like the constant word count, which has already made me more mindful of my chapter lengths, and created better breaking points in my story.

Right now, I’ve been working in piecemeal though. I have a complete novel in Word and copy and paste sections into Scrivener, work on them, and then copy and paste them back into Word.

However, I thought I read somewhere that copying and pasting between Scrivener and Word was not a good idea, though I’m not sure why. To be on the safe side, I’ve started to compile the sections I’m working on into Word and then copy and paste from their into my master document.

But I am wondering if there is an easier way.

I think it has something to do with junk formating and invisible characters being caried over from Word. You can select “Paste and Match style” from the edit menu in Scrivener. This would prevent those sort of problems from cropping up by essentially using the default formating of the current document.


Oh and I just learned that you can manually create backups to any folder you like by going to File > Backup > Back up to and select the directory you want.

I’ve always been pretty happy with the automated backup and I guess I never really noticed the option in the menu there.

To clarify, Scrivener does not perform a project backup with each auto-save. The auto-save routine is just like using File > Save, overwriting the current file, the same as using Save in an open Word document or any other program. A backup is a separate copy of the complete project, saved to another location. The default setting is to perform the backup procedure when the project is closed, but as pointed out you can change this to do a backup when the project opens and/or when you manually save. Since the auto-save runs every two seconds of inactivity by default, performing a backup every time that happened would make the program practically unusable and would make your backups so recent as to be useless (or else would fill up your hard drive very quickly!).

For that reason if you reflexively use Ctrl+S frequently, you might prefer not to set up the backup on manual save. I personally am comfortably in the habit of just letting Scrivener’s auto-save do its job, so for me a manual save is basically just a simple keyboard shortcut way of triggering a backup. (I also do enough testing on projects I don’t want backed up that I have the other options turned off, but I wouldn’t in general recommend that. If you want to exclude a particular project from automatic backups, you can choose File > Back Up > Exclude from Backups. You’ll still be able to perform manual backups on the project.)

“Save As” is really better for forking a project than for a backup, since as pointed out, once you perform the Save As you’re now working in the new copy of the project rather than the original, so you’re leaving a trail of versions behind you rather than creating backup copies all stored separately from the working version. Some people are used to working this way, but it can easily lead to confusion about which is the current version of the project, so to avoid the heart attack when you accidentally open an older version and it looks like weeks of work are missing, I recommend the manual File > Back Up > Back Up To… instead.

You can also use File > Back Up Now to just run the auto-save routine at any point while working. This works just like the automatic backup, saving to the preset location using the settings defined in Options, and it will count for the number of backups–that is, if you’ve limited Scrivener to saving only the five most recent backups, a backup created via Back Up Now will count toward that just like an automatic backup. Manual backups are separate from that, so you provide the location and file name you want, and whether or not to zip the file, when you create the backup, and they’re never automatically deleted.