Problem with outline formatting after sync


I have an outline within my Scrivener project. After syncing the project with an external folder in Dropbox, I’m finding problems with the formatting of the outline. There seems to be a return between the number or letter and the text, like this:

First Paragraph
Second Paragraph

I have tried fixing this and syncing again, but the problem keeps coming back. Can anyone give me suggestions on how to preserve the formatting?


Hi Sarah,

What format did you use to sync, and which program did you edit it in? It should be fine if you used RTF and edited in a decent word processor, or with something like TextEdit, but if you synced to plain text the list formatting would get messed up because plain text doesn’t support formatted lists.

All the best,

Hi Keith,

The file is in RTF, and I’m editing it within Scrivener. The sync is via an external folder in Dropbox.


Hi Sarah,

But what program are you editing it in from Dropbox? External folder sync is there so that you can open files from Scrivener in other programs and then sync back to Scrivener, so I’m confused. :slight_smile: Could you please describe exactly what you are doing to sync and edit this file?

All the best,

Sorry to be confusing. I’m working in Scrivener between my laptop and my desktop computer, so I’m not opening the project in any other program. I edit in Scrivener on my laptop, then I sync the project when I’m finished. Later, I open up the Scrivener project on my desktop computer and sync with the external folder in Dropbox. It’s at this point that the formatting gets messed up. The Scrivener files are all saved in Dropbox as RTF documents.

Thanks again!

Eek, stop now! You mustn’t use external folder sync to sync projects across computers - you will, absolutely certainly, mess up the project. When you went to sync the the project on the other machine to the same folder, you should have seen a warning telling you this:

Instead, use Dropbox to store the project and share it between computers. Please see this thread:

All the best,

Keith, I hate to say it but I think that the warning needs to be more clear.

See Sarah was doing precisely what I was trying to do with folder sync, but had I not at first asked about dropbox an then asked again in so many other ways in numerous other threads, I’d have done exactly as she did between my MBA and iMac. The only thing saving my bacon was the earlier discussions about using folder sync with devonthink.

I think that the warning makes sense but only when approaching with your knowledge and intention.

To people like Sarah and I, we could read that warning, and even though another instance of Scrivener made the external folders, not see the warning for what you intend.

Here’s how I’d understand tht warning had I not been seeing you and Ioa discuss this so much in these threads:

I’d have made a folder sync from the iMac somewhere on a project named STUFf.

I’d then had opened STUFf on the MBA, worked on it and tried to sync it back using the folder. Upon getting that warning, I’d have said the following things to myself:

"hmm. Dialog box. Must be because I haven’t used this sync thing yet. "

“wait. Be sure Scrivener made these folders. Of course Scrivener made these folders. I just did this on the other machine and that was Scrivener.”

“same project? Wait, did I pick the right folder? STUFf. (looking at screen intently). Yep thats the name. Hmmm. I wonder if the project has a different name on the otter machine.”

After staring at the dialog box for a while feigning certainty of it’s meaning:

"same project? Check. Scrivener made the folders? Check. (herein is the error of ignorance. Scrivener here should be clarified to mean ‘this instance of Scrivener’.)

I’d have done this without a doubt.

Have the henchmen clarify that folder sync means syncing THIS INSTANCE of Scrivener with external (non Scrivener) editors and not with other Scrivener instances, even if the other Scrivener instance is working on the same project file.

Perhaps if there were just another line (as a solo paragraph between the two existing ones) to restate: “DO NOT use External Folder Sync to attempt to keep the same project in sync over multiple computers.” (Or something more elegant, but to that effect.) Would that be crystal clear?

Side note, it used to be possible to set up an external sync folder in Dropbox, then with the project close copy the project in Finder and move it to another computer with the same Dropbox location. Opening the project on that second computer and running sync, since the filepath is the same, does not give you this warning. I don’t know if that’s changed since earlier versions of 2.0; I’m trying to test it but, uh, I just got a bug. Which I’m going to go report now.

Maybe a different icon on this dialogue would help, too. The yellow triangle with an exclamation point in it? Something that sets it apart from an informative report of lesser consequence.

Last point first: the warning icon is handled by OS X itself, so it would be against the HIG to change it (and it would entail setting up a custom dialogue rather than calling the OS-provided “alert” one.

Cjmiltko and MM - in fact I thought exactly the same just after posting and already made a note in my 2.0.5 “to do” list to change the warning slightly. Being a tech geek, I know that a .scriv file on two computers existing in different places becomes distinct project files, and the warning, upon re-reading it, assumes that knowledge. Many users may not realise this. (Although if you read the instructions on how to use the external folder sync, it does warn against trying to sync a project across machines in this way.)

So yes, I’ll change the warning to make this clearer. These things are always a process of refinement in getting the terminology right.

Thanks and all the best,

Thanks to all who responded. Cjmiltko, you captured exactly my reaction to the dialogue box.

I have now saved my project in Dropbox, and I will house it there instead of storing it locally and syncing it externally. My only problem now is that when I quit, the project syncs automatically. Keith, can you please tell me how to turn off the sync?

Thanks again!

Just delete the external folder that it was syncing to. That should work, although I know someone reported a problem, but I’m not exactly clear what was going on there. I’ve done it successfully even with the auto-syncing turned on. Don’t have the sync dialogue open when you delete the folder; you don’t need to change anything there (don’t try to clear the file path), so if you do go in just hit cancel.

Check out this thread for help on stopping the sync:

Clearly, there is logic there that needs improving, just as the warning message for External Sync needs some improvements. I apologies for any vagueness in these areas - I do my utmost to make everything as clear as possible, but as the developer it often takes user-feedback and real-world use to clarify things - and I thank you for input in helping me improve Scrivener.

All the best,