How should I save my Scrivener Document?

Today I had trouble finding my document. I’ve saved it several times as a Zip file but couldn’t find any file by its name that was worked on yesterday (June 12). It took a few hit and misses before I finally found it, and it opened so quickly I couldn’t see what the name, date, or extension was.

  1. How can I rename the whole document so I can find it easier, I don’t see a “Save As” under File? I’d like to always be able to identify and open the most current version (I only have one Scrivener document).

  2. When I successfully Zip the document, should I delete the previous ones so I don’t have so many with various dates?

To avoid all confusion, this is how I work. I have a folder called Working in my home folder, and another called Archive. So the parts of this hierarchy that are important to this problem are:[code]
Archive
Backups
Scrivener
Book Project 2009-06-12.zip
Book Project 2009-06-10.zip
Book Project 2009-06-06.zip
Book Project 2009-06-05.zip

Working
Writings
Book Project.scriv[/code]

Using a hard separation like this, there is absolutely no way to get “confused” over what is current and what is not. Zipped backups are never stored in the Working branch, ever. Live, unzipped Scrivener projects are never stored in the Archive branch, ever. I always zip things up when I’m done to save space and protect the file. Note also there are no dates in the working area. I just have that one single file. Periodically as I’m working I’ll create a backup and send it off to the Archive folder, but I always only ever work off of that one single file.

This philosophy extends to pretty much everything I do. I don’t work out of Archive. If I need to meddle with something Archive, I duplicate it and put it into Working. Archive becomes a static repository of everything I’ve finished or let languish, and there is no “storage” going on in Working.

You don’t need a “Save As” with a set-up like this, and indeed you wouldn’t want it because that switches focus to the new project. In this method you only work off of the one project and produce back-up copies off of it. Back Up is then the preferred method because it just fires off duplicates but doesn’t do anything with them after that point.

It sounds like what you’ve got going on is way too haphazard and confusing. I can hardly even make out the situation you are describing, but it sounds like you have dated Scrivener projects and zip files all mixed up in the same place on your hard drive. That’s just begging for problems.

Amber, you perceive correctly. It’s a mess. So are you saying that I should make a Folder in Finder and put my document in there? Can you give me a step by step, like what to do first? You’re too high-tech for me. :wink: So what do I do at the end of the day with my document I’m working on right now that’s open.

Couldn’t you go to: File/Recent Projects and open your most recent project that way? Unless I’m misunderstanding your Q, that is.

Also, I see that I’m going to have to change my saving procedures considerably. Amber’s system makes so much more sense than mine.

No problem. :slight_smile:

You could put these two folders anywhere you like. I prefer an empty Desktop myself, so put them at the top level of my home folder (where Pictures and Documents and so on are). If you want them on the desktop, just click on it and press Cmd-Shift-N. Name it “Working” and then repeat and name the second one “Archive” (or use whatever titles you prefer). I like to label these two folders to make them even more obvious. Green for working and Red for Archive, based on the traffic light analogy of Go and Stop. At this point you might have something that looks like this:

Now in Finder open up the folder that has all of your Scrivener projects in it. This is probably Documents if you don’t know where it is. With this window open, press Cmd-2 to switch to list mode, and if the “Kind” column is visible, click that to sort by Kind (if it isn’t, use Cmd-J to adjust columns). Now all of your ZIP files should be clumped up together. Make sure you are just grabbing the Scrivener projects, and drag them all over to the Archive folder on your Desktop. Now if “Date Modified” is a visible column, click that. Now you should see which Scrivener projects have been touched last. Take the top one for each project you are working on and move it to Working. You should now have a single copy of every Scrivener project which is (hopefully) the newest version. Drag the remaining Scrivener projects into Archive, but leave them unzipped for now. You’ll need to go through Working and make sure that the ones you picked really are the latest versions, and swap them with the next most recent Archived version if there is a mistake.

Once you are sure you’ve got only the latest versions, one for each book, in Working, go ahead and remove the date stamp (if any exists) from these. Then zip up all of the older versions in Archive.

With this directions, you’ll have two folders on your desktop with a bunch of Scrivener files. If you end up liking this way of working, you’ll probably want to make folders within folders (like I have), but for now keep it simple. When evolving a better way of working, I find the best thing to do is start extremely basic, and only add complexity if the basic becomes too difficult to manage. If you have several hundred files in Working and it’s a mess to find anything, it might be a good time to start cutting that up into “Writing” and “Home Budget” and so on.

nib, you understood my question, and your answer “Couldn’t you go to: File/Recent Projects and open your most recent project that way?” It showed me 6 of them…all recent savings of the Doc I suppose…didn’t know which one to choose.

Amber…you are most helpful! Our son is here now but I’ll digest what you said later and then follow your instructions and come back here and report! Thanks!

AMBER…HELP - I got the latest copy of my document project in my “Working” Folder on the desktop. But some of all the others say App, Scriv, or Zip…do all these go into my “Archive” Folder?

Also, when I close the file today…where does it go? Do I have to move it or will it appear in the “Working” Folder automatically?

Also, I think I’m starting to ‘get it’. I’ve always had trouble with the deep things of the computer…folders and files and where to find them. Since I’ve only worked on ONE document project but saved and modified and zipped it many many many times, do I really need the Archive Folder? Or does it serve as a back-up?

I’m not Amber, but I hope I can add a little. You should always and only keep anything with .app in the Applications Folder. That allows automatic update; every updater program will always expect the .app file in the Applications folder.

With Amber’s setup, if you put the latest version into the Working folder, and have been working with it, it will appear automatically there whenever you want to work on it.

Yes, you want the Archive totally separate. The goal of the archive is that when you reach a certain stage, you copy the latest file into the archive, then zip it (CTRL + Click and choose Compress or use a special program for it). As you save it, then you can attach the date so that it will be readily available and sorting. Use the date format as Amber indicated in her post 1:35 PM, so that it will sort by year, then month, then day. So you only work on the latest version in the Working folder. So, the Archive can function as a backup, but even more with this setup, you will quickly browse through the versions.

Thanks, exegete!

You said…always and only keep anything with .app in the Applications Folder…some of the files that say app are just sitting there all buy themselves, so should I move them into the Scriv App Folder?

You said…if you put the latest version into the Working folder, and have been working with it, it will appear automatically there whenever you want to work on it.…that’s good news! I’ll let you know if this works…or not :slight_smile:

You said… you copy the latest file into the archive, then zip it…you mean I only Zip it after I save it…like go to Finder and Zip it?

You said…sort by year, then month, then day.…how do I change the sort order?

(I’m an exegete too…but I’m working on a controversial matter :smiley: )

No, the apps should all be put into the Applications Folder (if you look on the far left of the Finder window, you will see an Application folder. That is where it should go.

Let’s say you finish for the day and close Scrivener (be sure to save), then after you close Scrivener, you zip the file and put the zipped file into the Archive. You leave the Scrivener document right where it is in the Working folder.

Actually you don’t have to change the sort order, because the file names will automatically sort.

Book Project 2009-06-11.zip
Book Project 2009-06-12.zip
Book Project 2009-06-13.zip

Just placing them into the folder will sort them. In this case, you will have all June projects in order.

My files say June 13, 2009, is that okay? I’m learning that the last file ‘opened’ is not necessarily the last file I worked on, since I often open the wrong file.

Applications Folder…it stares me in the face every day. I just didn’t think of it as a ‘Folder’…now things are becoming clearer.

This one I’m still having trouble with…Let’s say you finish for the day and close Scrivener (be sure to save), then after you close Scrivener, you zip the file and put the zipped file into the Archive. You leave the Scrivener document right where it is in the Working folder.

Where is that file I just saved and closed. Is it not automatically put into my Working Folder? And if I find it elsewhere and Zip it and put it into the Archive folder, it’s not in the Working Folder? Do you “get” what I don’t “get”. This has been a lifelong problem for me.

You can, but by putting it as year, month, day (as numbers), you can eliminate many problems with sorting (May comes before June chronologically [Amber’s suggestion], but alphabetically [your method] it comes after June, which means they will not be in chronological order, which is what you want).

This all assumes that you have saved your file in the Working folder (without any date added to the file name) the first time. If you find that file somewhere else, then you didn’t save it to the Working File to begin with. Once you save it (not just CMD + S), but save it so that you have to find the folder to put it into, you should navigate to the Working folder you just set up. From then on, you open that file, always, only that file.

This may be a simple-minded suggestion, but how about creating a folder in Documents called Scrivener Projects? Then place everything written in Scrivener there.

Run a nightly backup on your Documents folder (say to an external hard drive), and you always have a duplicate of each Scrivener project. And they all stay in the same folder. If you want to also locate them in other folders, like Papers, Novel, Screenplay, place aliases in those folders to the original project files.

In Preferences: General, check the first box, marked “Reopen recent projects on program launch.” Then you will always return to the last project on which you worked.

Just an aside: there seems to be an unusual amount of confusion amongst new Scrivener users about the existence or location of Scrivener projects as documents in the Finder – the trap of using the Tutorial for real work is a case in point. This is probably because Scrivener’s binder is a “source list” pane, which might suggest that it’s more like a library-based iLife app, many of which have libraries (whose locations are essentially abstracted from the Finder) rather than documents, like Microsoft Word does. A first glance at Scrivener’s tutorial might immediately suggest that everything might live in an abstracted library, rather than a document you can find in the Finder. In some ways this is kinda true – the binder does contains multiple little documents in a larger structure – but for the user, Scrivener projects must still be seen as “files”.

Also, since hierarchical folder systems are becoming unwieldy as our data balloons, people’s literacy about the locations of their files has basically atrophied, and for good reason – it’s easier these days to search. Why else was it only the nerdiest Mac users who complained about the lack of spatial consistency in the OS X Finder? (I guess it could also be argued that that lack of consistency has contributed to that loss of literacy by simply confusing the hell out of people.)

I don’t think there’s any solution to this except to remind people in Scrivener’s documentation that while the binder is a source list, it’s NOT a catch all “library app”, and that you need to put your projects in a sensible place in the Finder, just as you would with Microsoft Word. I know that mistaking Scrivener for iTunes wasn’t the problem the original poster was having, but I do think all of these conceptual problems around the locations of files are somewhat related, and might be impacting on some of the confusion around missing data.

Just to contribute something useful this time, a tip: hold down the Command key and click the name of your project in the window’s title bar. This will reveal the location of your file in the folder hierarchy of your hard drive, and it works in most Mac apps. For example, in the resulting drop-down list, selecting the folder directly under the document name will open that folder in the Finder.

druid, thanks for your suggestion. I think doing that is about the same as doing what Amber suggested. If I’m wrong, let me know. I think the key is remembering the name of that file.

jebni, thanks for your response, when I held Cmd and clicked the title bar, the 1st thing it showed me was the new Folder Amber said to create, which is “Working”.

You are so right about the confusion. It seems like at all my Apple One to One classes, I’m making my teachers go back to teaching me something about Files and Folders in Finder. I had the same problem all those years with my PC’s.

Question: Just to prolong the agony… I have my one and only Scrivener Project open now. I just went to Documents in Finder, then typed in “Working”. I found one file in there, which said, “Today”. I assume that’s all I’ll ever find there and it will always be the the most recent one. Is that correct?

Yes, presuming of course that you never accidentally save a backup copy of the project into Working. This folder, like any other on your computer, will not “maintain itself” or change itself without your express command to do so. It’s really no different than a physical folder in a filing cabinet. If you put one sheet of paper in it and then go to sleep, when you wake up the folder will still contain one sheet of paper (your Scrivener project).

So unless you put something else in there, there will always only ever be that one project (until you move it out!). Now, that might not be terribly useful (a folder for one file only), eventually you might want to put whatever you are currently working on in there as well, saving right to that spot, but for now that’s what you should see.

When you use the Backup Project To… command, choose the “Archive” folder, and check the little ZIP archive option. Keeping them as zips will also make it less confusing as to whether or not it is meant to be an active project. It will have a different icon when archived.

Amber, you are very helpful. Is it okay to move that Working Folder over to the left side of Finder under “Places” so I can get to it w/o doing a search in Documents for “Working”? And, if I do move it there, will the Folder with its file still be in Documents too? In other words, will the moved Folder with its one file be a “copy” (or “alias”) or will it be the original Working Folder with its file?

Also, these zipped files, yes…if I say, “Put this zipped file in Archives” when the box comes up, then all my zipped files will appear there. How common-sensy can you get! :smiley:

Absolutely, that Places list on the left is meant to be shortcuts for your convenience. It will not move the folder anywhere but just “reference it”, just like an alias. If there are items in the list you never use, just drag them out of the window and let go (you should see a little poof and it disappears). This doesn’t delete anything, it just gets ride of the item in the shortcut list, and you can always add them back if you change your mind.

Glad to see Amber back. I finished a 10 day trip, and prepare for another 11 day trip.

Amber, I hope I didn’t post anything contrary to what you were doing/explaining.

Rich