iCloud sync

Hi everyone!
even though this is my first post, I’ve been using Scrivener for a couple of years, now, and it’s helped me through on three novels and several other projects. I find it fantastic!
there is one little thing, though:
I have not found a way, yet, to seamlessly sync my projects on several computers. I have a powerful macbook pro, and a light but much less powerful Air. As I travel a lot, I find myself working exclusively on the Air, and the pro is just gathering dust on the shelf… mainly because I’m too lazy to transfer the projects from one to the other. I’d like to use the Pro when I’m writing at my desk at home, and the Air when I’m in a hotel.
Is there a way to sync projects automatically?
Is iCloud (or will iCloud be) a feasible way to have all your projects instantly available on every mac you own?


iCloud has been discussed by the developer, and it’s not well enough documented yet, and probably won’t be what you need. One solution that has been working very well for a lot of people is DropBox. It’s free for the first few gigabytes of storage, and will automatically sync one folder with any machine that has it installed.

Another option that seems to be gaining traction is SugarSync. It’s main advantage is that you are not restricted to one SugarSync folder, but rather can pick out individual folders on your hard drive to sync up.

I think Dropbox is a little more conceptually simple, and there are ways to sync things that aren’t in your DB folder if you really want to keep your files elsewhere. Section 13.2 of the scrivener manual goes into detail on what you should keep in mind when using it to keep your projects synced up between multiple computers.

Note that you just move your project into the dropbox folder on your computer and edit it there. This has nothing to do with “external folder sync”, which is used in conjunction with dropbox and iOS applications.

Thanks for the swift reply, I’ll try.
I’ve used dropbox before for other things (sharing files with other people, mainly) but I never tried with my own scriv projects because I always thought that it required too much “work” on my side, copying the file form the dropbox folder to my “projects” folder on my mac (the amount of effort I’d like to put into the file-sharing between me and myself is just about zero). Probably I never used it properly, because I never actually got round to moving the entire WORKING scriv folder in dropbox and work from there.
That would require no more “work”, surely, which would be great… but would I be able to access and edit it even without an internet connection? Where would this file be, physically? On all my computers, automatically synced and updated every time I have access to the internet? Or would it be on a server somewhere, cut off from me if I have no connection? I wouldn’t want to run this risk!

Just to clarify, we will definitely be looking at what iCloud can do for Scrivener and its users, it is just very early days yet, and syncing has so many potential pitfalls (the worst being data-loss) that when we do it, it’s important it’s done right (and the Windows version will have to be able to sync too, of course).
All the best,

All I can add to this is that Dropbox is utterly wonderful and works seamlessly with Scrivener. I have a large research folder with some 40 PDFs, and more importantly, aliases to various files scattered elsewhere in the folder hierarchy, and yet Dropbox keeps this all seamlessly working.

The dropbox folder is always locally stored and only synced when online, which means there are no issues with an evaporated cloud! :wink: A flaky laptop connection at home has never caused an issue so far for me.

I’m not really sure what happens with a sync collision (i.e. edit locally on A and B and then sync), but I do know that as Scrivener stores things elegantly in a document bundle, the collision will only ever occur per file thus minimising any issues. AND dropbox versions your files so you can step backwards if there is some calamity.

I imagine iCloud will be similar to Dropbox, but Apple will be leaving sync collisions the job of the developer, and I suspect they will use Lion’s versions for versioning which KB is steering against implementing, so…

Ok then! Dropbox will be my choice!
Thank you for your help!

You may want to make sure you understand the guidelines about Scrivener and Dropbox Keith posted here:


Yes. Thank you
Of course, I realise now that had I seen/searched that topic before opening this one, I’d have had all my answers there.
sorry about this. will try to be more careful in the future! :blush:

If you stick to the 3 guidelines put forth in that thread, conflicts shouldn’t be a problem. If it does happen however, Dropbox will create a duplicate of the file it cannot resolve and name it with a long parenthetical detailing which computer it came from and when the conflict was detected. If that happens, you’ll need to open both copies and figure out which is the right one. This can be more difficult if it is one of the control XML files that collides. Figuring out which is best in that case really takes knowing the guts of Scrivener. Rolling things back in the Dropbox web interface would probably be the best solution in that case—or stepping back to a recent automatic backup from the last machine you used. But like I say, this should only happen if you forget to let things sync up/down fully around the editing session, and always close the project when you leave the computer.