I like to keep track of changes I make to my manuscript, in case I want to go back to an earlier version.
Does Scrivener have a way of doing this, either through the new Lion feature “Versions”, or another way?
It didn’t look like it currently supports Versions since there is no “Save a Version” entry on the File Menu. Is this planned for the future? And is there another way to do this through the program as it is?
Sticky post on this:
And I would add to that, that I personally wouldn’t trust Versions for anything important. It’s like Time Machine, a long-term persistent disk based Undo, and trusting it for anything more than that is risky. I’d say Versions are even more risky than Time Machine though, because aren’t even stored into “real” files anywhere, so only Macs of a certain version number can access them and only if they access them correctly. That means no Dropbox, no FTP, no transfer on any disk/Flash that isn’t HFS+ formatted, no automated backup software etc. This isn’t to say it’s a bad feature, to be clear! Time Machine is a great feature, too.
Scrivener uses an intentional milestone system, not an automatic delta system. So there isn’t a direct match to Versions, but there is a direct match to “Save a Version”, and that is
Documents/Snapshots/Take Snapshot. You can also annotate the snapshot for future reference with the Titled variant. The interface for Snapshots is also, in my opinion anyway, superior to Versions because you can easily quickly flip between them and compare changes between them or the current text. You can also load them into splits thus integrating them with your workflow. You don’t have to set aside the use of your entire computer until you are done browsing.
Read all about them in §14.9 (pg. 184) of the User Manual PDF.
Given that Scrivener doesn’t have an automatic delta saving system like Versions, it would be kind of cool if it could hook into it—not as a replacement for Snapshots (as those are real files that get backed up in your project and will be accessible to you 20 years from now with anything that can load an RTF file—but as you can see from the linked article, this isn’t even remotely possible for a “shoebox” style program like Scrivener. The UI for it and the feature itself are a complete package, and the UI is very inflexible.
Thank you for this excellent, helpful, and informative reply – I really appreciate it.