Limit the number of automatic save?

Greetings esteemed colleagues, I’d like to limit the number of automatically saved versions to (for example) the last five days, at which time additional saves would be silently pruned according to the standard rule of Last In First Out.

To be completely truthful, I am requesting this as an easy work-around for the OneDrive versioning feature, which limits me to no more that 500 minor versions, and then won’t save anything else. I know that I used to be able to get around this limitation in SharePoint by periodically publishing a major version of the two files in question (project.scriv and binder.autosave) but so far no one at Microsoft has been able to tell me where the right-click command [More > Publish a major version] went, or how to turn it back on. (Just adding versioning to the document library doesn’t do the trick.)

One small additional argument in favor of having more control over saved backups comes from the world of backup software, with programs like the excellent Arq (, which gives me completely configurable options for pruning the database of backups that are no longer needed.

This post might have been shorter if I had more time (he said), soI hope the verbosity does not disguise my true motivation: to help make this already incredible writer’s tool even better.



Your request is a bit confusing, to me at least, because you mention both automatic saves and backups, which are different things in Scrivener.

For auto-saves, Scrivener doesn’t have versioning and I can’t imagine how L&L would implement it in a useful manner within Scrivener’s multiple file system, particularly with users who may be syncing their projects across many devices.

If what you are asking for is a limit to the number of saved backups, you already have control over this in Options.

Are you storing your live Scrivener projects in OneDrive? If so, L&L considers this a high risk practice. Please see their advisory at:


Apologies for the confusion.

My problem is that OneDrive regards each separate automatic save as a “minor version” of the open file. Unfortunately there’s a limit to the number of minor versions–about 500 or so in my case. All those saved versions represent about three or four days work, and I don’t really need that much history.

OneDrive (or SharePoint) versioning is very helpful, so I don’t want to turn it off. But I take your point: Scrivener has no way of knowing that I’m saving to a document library with versioning turned on, and thus no real way to stop or control the number of automatic saves. So I’ll continue to look for other work-arounds, or (even better) find a way to turn the “Publish Major Version” command back on in SharePoint.

By the way, I did see the OneDrive advisory, thanks for that. But I always back up everything to my local hard drive, as well as to network-attached storage with RAID array mirroring. Backups of backups, can’t be too careful!

Many thanks,


It’s more safe to have the active project on your hard drive and have the zipped backups on OneDrive…

Looking at it another way, do you really want the alternative behavior? Suppose Scrivener only saved when you told it to, or when you closed the program. If you lost power or suffered some other catastrophic failure when you’d been writing for a while, you could potentially lose thousands of words. You’d be pretty unhappy, and would correctly blame Scrivener.

So Scrivener does what it can to protect your data, by saving at frequent intervals. What SharePoint does as a result is out of Scrivener’s control.


Hi Patrick,

Thanks for the clarification.

I am big fan of SharePoint/OneDrive versioning, but IMHO it’s not an optimal approach for Scrivener disaster recovery.

It seems to me you are introducing extra risks (1-exceed the limit and OneDrive stops saving your work; 2-As per advisory, use of OneDrive sometimes results in corrupted Scrivener projects) and complications (3-Your need to find a workaround for #1), without any clear advantage over Scrivener’s built-in backup system.

So I second Lunk’s recommendation: Keep your live project files local and the zipped backups on OneDrive. If you tend to keep your Scrivener projects open for long periods of time, then do more frequent manual backups (configuring Ctrl-S to take a backup is a popular way to accomplish that).

This might not be the best approach if you’ve got massive projects. But other than that use case, it seems to me to have a clear advantage over file-level versioning when disaster strikes – whether recovering an entire project or a single document, it is easier to do when one is working with one of Scrivener’s zipped backups, as opposed to trying to piece something together from individual documents.

You weren’t posting for advice, so this is unsolicited-- :smiley: – but hopefully you find it useful.


Normally that would be true, but I have a fiber optic broadband connection (20 Gbps download, 6 Gbps upload) and a hot-rod workstation, and I am very grateful for all of that. I’ve also got an Office 365 small business subscription, and have been using OneDrive for Business and SharePoint team libraries for the past three years without difficulties. The actual disk writes take place on the synced local copy on my computer, and SharePoint uploads the changed files in the background.

I agree that there is some risk (which is why I have daily automatic backups) but it’s a huge convenience to have the most current version of my work wherever I go.



@Jim and @Kathleen, I appreciate your advice. Kathleen’s point about do I really want the behavior I asked for is well-taken, and I’ve finally decided to set up a separate Team Documents library just for Scrivener with versioning turned off, so all my Word files and other work docs can live happily in the OneDrive for Business folder like they always have.

@Jim, believe me I hear you about SharePoint being completely untrustworthy, and I have lost more work than I care to think about, working in SharePoint production environments over the years. But see my reply to @lunk; I think I’ve done sufficient due diligence at this point, and can trust it for daily work, while still arranging to do backups (and then backups of those) on a regular basis.

And here’s what I haven’t said yet: Scrivener is an incredible resource for writers working on a book-length project, and I only wish I’d had it ten years ago!

Thanks, and best regards,


Postscript: After our conversation I decided to look up what you say is the best way to work with one project on two computers. If I’m not mistaken, you recommend saving the project to Dropbox, and then using the Dropbox app on each computer to synchronize as you go.

So perhaps I didn’t make it clear that I’m using the OneDrive for Business sync client on the local machines. Scrivener writes to the OneDrive folder on my hard drive, and uploads the changes behind the scenes.

If that’s correct, perhaps you’d consider changing your OneDrive guidance to say you should always use the sync client, but should never save directly to the cloud (which I wouldn’t recommend even to my worst enemy, assuming I had one).



OneDrive sync (even when going to a business/SharePoint backend store) is not always good about preserving Scrivener projects corruption-free.

What many of us do is use DropBox to store the active projects (that lets us also sync to iOS version) and configure our backups to auto-zip and go to the OneDrive sync area.

Hard to argue with bitter experience! It’s just that I have terabytes of OneDrive space and no Dropbox account. [appropriate emoticon here]. Will have to give it some more thought. Appreciate the “best practices” advice though…



You can get a free Dropbox account, which will give you adequate space just for Scrivener projects (unless you’re writing really hefty tomes or have gigs of research data in your projects). I only use mine for Scrivener and for one of my publishers who makes e-copies available to me via Dropbox.

Excellent! I’m on it. Many thanks, Devin.

I have a pro account for business, however when I had the free account Dropbox gave additional free space if you referred friends.

Yes, and you’ll notice I didn’t even try for the referral bonus.

That was not an accident.

Thanks for that. I’d happily supply it either way, but of course am even happier to do it since you didn’t ask. Will look into it later today.

Also planning to pay it forward,


Wasn’t suggesting that was your aim Devin. :wink: suggesting as a benefit to new signups as a way to get more than the minimum. I certainly used it in the early days to keep all my writing and uni files accessible across multiple devices.