How to use scrivener on two machines.

Okay, I’m technology challenged.

I want to use scrivener on my regular computer and my laptop. Once installed, what is the best way to move the novel back and forth between the two. With a back up or the novel folder or something else like selecting stuff that has changed?

To move a project from one machine to another, you just need to copy the “projectname”.scriv folder (when the project is closed, and never have the project open on two machines at once). You need to be sure you have the entire folder, not just the project.scrivx file inside it. My recommendation is to zip the folder, date it, and move that, then unzip it on your other machine and work on it, zip up the new version, move it, etc. You can delete the unzipped versions in between so you don’t accidentally reuse them and fork your project, but the nice thing with this is that you get a slew of zipped backups in the process. If you use Scrivener’s backup method for this you can have the files datestamped automatically; just make sure you backup and then close the project so you don’t make further changes after the backup and then not have them available when you move the project to another computer.

How you transfer the files is up to you. I love Dropbox for this; I save the zipped backup there and then just copy it to my desktop on my other computer and unpack it there, leaving the original zipped backup in my Dropbox. After I work I just zip up the new version with a date and dump it back into Dropbox. So I have a trail of backups (on another server and on all my Dropbox-linked machines) and it’s easy to see which is my most recent version. But you could also use email, a flash drive, etc.–whatever works for you. Just make sure everything syncs/copies completely before you head out, and wait for it to sync completely before you open it on the new machine (again a reason zips are great for this, since it’s a single file vs. many, so it’s easy to see if it’s done or not).

There’s a brief FAQ on this in the knowledge base, which I think I mostly reiterated here, but just in case: How should I keep my projects up to date between different computers?

Thanks for the info and the link.

I’m curious why you’d bother with the zipping and unzipping.

I just keep my projects in my dropbox folder. The whole thing. Then I can grab it from either my desktop or laptop whenever I like.

I do backup zipped files, but never unzip them unless there’s an emergency.

I use the zips for a few reasons, although to be fair I do have a couple projects I work on straight from Dropbox. I tend to use the zips because sometimes I have a flaky network connection or none at all, and I like not having to worry about accidentally corrupting my project via Dropbox conflicts or my own stupidity; also because occasionally I end up having to close down the computer quickly, so I don’t want to have to wait for a sync–if I don’t get the zip file up on Dropbox, it’s a pity and I’ll have to go back to that computer to fix it, but it’s not going to mess up the actual project. I also like having a line of zip backups, and I’ll be up front and admit that on my Mac Scrivener, I just have it set to automatically backup a zip to Dropbox whenever I close a project, so I don’t have to think about it at all. :wink: Since I’m going to do that anyway, it just works for me to keep track of my project by using that as well to go between computers.

Anyway, there’s nothing wrong with using the file just straight on Dropbox, as long as you “follow the rules”–don’t have the project open on two machines at once and make sure the sync always completes before you start working and after you close the project, so that you don’t end up with some files out of sync and running into conflicts. It’s fixable, since Dropbox keeps versions, but it ain’t pretty. As long as you do all that, though, by all means, go for it.

And since I’m posting links, Keith wrote a set of brief and helpful guidelines for using Dropbox in this manner. (You can ignore the External Sync bit on the end, as that’s Mac-specific. Likewise Automatic Backups–you just need to run the “Backup As…” yourself regularly.)