Keeping Scrivener in sync on 2 macs

Is there a way to keep all kind of Scrivener settings in sync on 2 macs, so that I can easily continue the work on the other mac? Is there a checklist for what to export/import and how to export/import it?

The Scrivener projects are not the problem. It is well described how to sync those (using Dropbox, or rsync, or Folder Sync, or …).

I can also export the preferences to a synched folder, as described in this posting [url]].

Now I have stumbled over the formatting presets. The only way I have come up with is to have a dummy document in a project (research folder) that includes a pair of paragraphs formatted with each preset. Then I can do Format -> Formatting -> New Preset From Selection, or Format -> Formatting -> Redefine Preset From Selection on the second computer. Is there a smarter way?

What other settings are there that need to be exported/imported?

What is the best way to keep two Scrivener working environments in sync?

Thank you in advance, for any advice you can offer!

One thing you can do to keep all of the presets and templates in sync is utilise symbolic links. They are a feature of your Mac that will create a virtual mirror of a file or folder that functions in nearly every way as the original. So the idea is to move your Scrivener support folder to Dropbox and then create a symbolic link on each computer where Scrivener will expect the support folder to be. It will access the symbolic link as though it were the original folder—which is being synced on Dropbox. Here is a checklist for setting up a synchronised support folder:

  1. On the machine that has the settings you want to propagate to other machines, open Scrivener and use the main application menu to “Reveal Support Folder in Finder”.
  2. Hit Cmd-UpArrow in the window that opens, to navigate up in the folder hierarchy. You should see a folder called “Scrivener” selected.

Within that folder are all of your personal settings (outside of the preferences themselves). So any custom icons, formatting presets, project templates, even backups and more are located here. Consequently it may take a while to upload all of this if you have a lot of backups.

Go ahead and close Scrivener.

  1. Okay, drag that Scrivener folder to your Dropbox folder.
  2. Using Finder’s Go menu, select “Utilities” and double-click on the Terminal icon.
  3. Type in cd (note the space after it).
  4. Click and hold on the folder icon in the title bar of the Finder window labelled “Application Support”, and when the icon picks up, drag and drop that to the Terminal window. You should see a full path pasted into the window. Hit return to move your Terminal session to that location.
  5. Now type in ln -s ~/Dropbox/Scrivener. This assumes you dropped the “Scrivener” support folder into the top level of your Dropbox folder. If you put it in a sub folder, you may wish to use the drag and drop trick again, from the Dropbox folder window, to get the full path.
  6. In the “Application Support” Finder window, you should see “Scrivener” instantly appear, with a little arrow in the corner indicating it is a link.

Now let’s test it on this computer. Open a Scrivener project and check your Formatting presets menu. Does everything appear correct? If you use the Reveal Support Folder in Finder menu command again, do you end up in the Dropbox folder instead of the Application Support folder? If yes, then everything is working good on this computer. You are now uploading every project template, formatting preset and anything else to Dropbox.

Let that fully upload, and once it is there, you’ll basically just do the same thing described above, only of course without the steps of moving the other machine’s Application Support folder to Dropbox, first. Instead, you’ll replace steps #1–3 with removing the existing Scrivener folder (I would temporarily set it aside on the Desktop or something, just in case it has something important). So on the second machine you’ll just be telling the OS to symbolically link to the Dropbox Scrivener support folder. Let this fully download before starting Scrivener!

Now both computers should be fully synchronising their support files. If you update a preset on one, a few seconds later it will be updated on the other.

Presumably the same effect could be achieved by using something like Cubby to sync this folder with the equivalent on a second machine? This would remove the need for symbolic links and messing about in Terminal.
I’m considering using this trick when I eventually get a new computer. I’ve got a lot of guff on my machine and want a clean install, but a few apps (like Scriv) have a lot of settings that I don’t want to redo from scratch. I think you may have just solved my dilemma AND it looks like I can do it without touching Terminal.
BTW, I didn’t know you could access the Application Support folder from within Scriv. 8)

True (though I just went with my hunch that R2D2 wouldn’t have a problem working around a piece of technology) there are synchronisation programs that let you specify existing folders rather than using a central repository. SpiderOak is another (though I personally wouldn’t recommend it for synchronisation, it’s a better offsite backup in my experience).

Thank you for your replies!

I conclude from your answers that it is safe to let two mac computers share the same ~/Library/Containers/com.literatureandlatte.scrivener2/Data/Library/Application\ Support/Scrivener/ folder. Is that correct? Is it correct that there is nothing computer specific in that folder (like something to handle licensing)?

I will probably use rsync or Folder Sync ( ) to keep this folder synchronized between my 2 computers. That is great if it is that easy.

Thank you very much!

That’s correct. The data in this folder is all safe to transfer from one computer to another. It does have a logging folder which may be used if there are technical issues, but it won’t hurt to have these spread around, they are just .txt files. The only file you wouldn’t want to do that with is the com.literatureandlatte.scrivener2.plist file in the Preferences container folder. That does have some machine specific info, but it is easy to import/export preferences with the “Manage” button at the bottom of the preferences pane.

(Sorry for the delay. I have been busy with other things.)

Are you sure this is the correct folder to sync between the 2 computers? Looking at the content (see attached screenshot) it does not look right to me.

That all looks correct to me, though now that I look at the listing I am reminded of that file. Naturally that should not be synced as it helps identify your computer as unique, which will be important when working on projects out of a sync folder. There may be some safeguard that would prevent two computers from ending up with the same UUID, but to play it safe I would keep that one omitted from the sync list.

I’ve just done what the main entry in this topic suggested, and it seems to work beautifully. (I’m familiar with symbolic links, but not at an expert level) I’m using Scrivener every day on my office computer and then my home computer, synced via dropbox. However, when I try to define a new preset from a paragraph that I’ve selected, I get the following error. I’ve never gotten this before. But it is the creating of a new style on one computer for both to use that caused me to search for forum topic in the first place.

There was a problem saving the style. Check that you have permissions to save to the Application Support folder and that you are not out of disk space."

Thanks for your help