Issues re: back ups and syncing via Dropbox between Macbook and iMac

Dear Scrivener hive,

I just purchased Scrivener and installed it on both my Macbook and iMac as I would like to use it on both devices. Here is what I did so far:

I created a “Scrivener Project” folder within the Dropbox folder (desktop version) on my finder, which in turn contains my Scrivener project file. I set it up this way on both my devices.

I selected a back up folder on my local hard drive (not Dropbox) on both my devices for back up zip files.

The idea is that while the project file syncs between the two devices via the Dropbox folder, I save the back up files on a local folder on the hard drive on each respective device.

And here are my questions:

  1. It seems that Scrivener only creates an actual back-up file upon closing (I have selected to back up when closing the project in my preferences) in the case something in the project file changes, i.e. by adding/changing text etc. Otherwise it only saves the project file, but does not create a back up zip file. With the above set up, I opened the project file on my iMac, changed some text and closed it, which saved the changes in the project file. I then opened that project file on my Macbook (synced Dropbox desktop folder) and while the changes were reflected in that project, when I closed the project, it did not create a back up zip file on that Macbook, even though the project itself has changed to the most recent back up file. It seems that there is a glitsch here. How can this be fixed? I not only need the project files to sync, but I also need to have a back up file each time I close a project. Shouldn’t Scrivener just create a back up everytime I close the program regardless I make changes in the actual project or not, since I selected that option in my preferences? This I guess would offer a simple solution to this issue.

  2. Is it good to keep the project file in the dropbox folder in the finder, while saving back ups onto a local folder on the hard drive? Or should I save the back ups also to a Dropbox folder? What are the benefits of either of the two?

  3. Is there a way to do both, i.e. to back up to two folders (dropbox and hard drive) at once?

I would be so grateful for any hints, thoughts and ideas! Thank you for your time and attention.


Get another cloud service account where you save your backups, similar to Dropbox. That way you always have access to the latest backup from both Macs.
No, your second Mac shouldn’t make a backup unless you actually changed something.
If you like having more backups, why not tick the “Backup om manual save”? But if you do, maybe you should increase the number of backups that Scrivener keeps.

I work with multiple macbooks, so sync’ing is important to me. I sync both Scrivener projects and Scrivener backups. (I also sync and share Scrivener’s setting and scratchpad, but that’s another story). This has worked well for me for some time. I happen to use iCloud, but obviously Dropbox should work in the same way for this type of thing.

Scrivener does not inspect the previous backup before making a new one. That is, Scrivener has no way of knowing whether the currently open version of the project is different from the most recent backup, only that it’s different from itself at the beginning of the current session. So no, you won’t get a new backup unless you make changes.

(Because Scrivener only keeps a limited number of backups, this ensures that you won’t wipe out your old versions just because you opened the project to look at it.)

Personally, I recommend having a dedicated backup solution – a Time Machine volume, an offsite backup service, or both – rather than depending on Scrivener’s automatic backups and/or a cloud service.