Locking Documents

Just throwing my hat in here for the request to “lock” documents. Per the rules I’ve searched the forum and read the previous posts. It seems that there are two types of “locks” that have been requested. Locks to edits, and locks to the binder. I am primarily concerned with locks to edits.

As a preliminary matter, I understand that this is not a crowd-sourced software, that we have no right to anything, no amount of voting will change anything, that is intended as one man’s vision of his “dream writing software”, etc etc. However, Scrivener is marketed in part, to professionals. (per the testimonial section). For an attorney, it seems vital that once a document is “done” it remains “done”. This is one argument that I did not see advanced in my quick search of the forums.

Why is this important?Locks on edits will ensure that we all have absolute confidence in our work before it is submitted. There should be zero doubt that a document we altered 2 weeks ago will remain there, exactly as we left it.

snapshots are insufficient One common response is that the snapshot function is more than sufficient for these purposes. This is inaccurate. The snapshot function only works once you notice something wrong in the document.

For example: a legal rule states “assault is an intentional act that causes an imminent apprehension of an offensive or harmful contact in the plaintiff”. The rule still reads like a proper rule when you remove any number of words or phrases. The average person would have no idea that an element was missing. For this purpose, the current way of using snapshots seems inadequate when the only reason to look through snapshots is when you see something wrong in the first place.

That said i love this program immensely, it has changed the way I learn and write. Thanks for your time!

If you want to preserve all or part of your project unchanged, why not Compile to an uneditable format? Scrivener is not really intended to be an archiving tool.


I, too, have often wished there was a way to lock edits. I’m a novelist, and often I have sections that are finished yet wish to consult in the split view without inadvertently editing them.

Alternatively, a way to lock an editor as opposed to the underlying document might be effective as well. I too have longed for a way to avoid accidental editing.

I definitely second the feature “Locking Documents”.
My workflow often is to collect a set of documents which I have written or found years ago in the Research folder.
Then I copy one (not necessarily in the order how they are in the Research Folder) to a chapter in the Draft. And then I work on it, adding, changing, deleting text.
When I later skim through the Research Folder I really want to prevent myself to make changes there (e.g. thinking I am in the Draft Folder). I don’t want to delete the document from the Research Folder because the list and order of these documents tells me sth (as an example think of documents in cronological order which are used in a biography).

This is what I tried:

(1) I tried to change the background of a used document to another color (e.g. light gray). This would give me immediate, easy to recognize feedback that this document is considered “locked”. But I could not figure out, how to do this.

(2) I tried with a new status “LOCKED”, but the status is shown somewhere in the corner of the window and I don’t always look there, when I am thinking and writing.

(3) I tried with labelling in color gray and showed the color in the binder. That is good, because when I click a document, in that moment I am aware of that this document is “free” or “locked”. But when using the split editor I loose easily the feeling which document I am in.

(4) I gave all these documents an empty checkbox icon and - after use - I tried to train myself to change the icon of the “locked” documents into a checked checkbox icon - this has the same advantages and disadvantages as with the label (also it is actually a bit better, because the icon is shown besides the name of the document on top of the editor).

So having a simple mechanism - like a lock I can click, and then (a) the lock is displayed somewhere, and (b) Scrivener would prevent me from editing this document automatically - would really, REALLY help me in my daily work.

Thank you for considering this feature.

Hi @pkursawe,

My solution: I’ve made a new paragraph style called « Locked » with red background (no police and no size recorded).

When I want to lock a whole document, I ⌘-A and apply this style. To unlock, the same.

Hope it helps.

Note: according to Scrivener philosophy, I intensively use « No Style ». With a complex document, I lock/unlock only text paragraphs.

I would like to have this feature. I just transitioned from FIRST DRAFT / Revision One of my book to SECOND DRAFT / Revision Two. I want to mark my FIRST DRAFT as READ-ONLY / IMMUTABLE at the Binder Folder hierarchy level, so that everything within the Folder structure is safe from being edited. Being able to colorize the background or something while VIEWING it in an editor might be nice too. Just for additional visual feedback.

I add my voice to this request too.

I just had a piece published and would like to have the document in Scrivener locked. Right now, I’ve resorted to exporting it as a Word document and also creating a PDF. This isn’t very satisfactory as there’s a 2nd related piece that I’m working on that I also have in the same Scrivener binder.

Make a zip:ed backup, rename it and move it to a special Archive folder.