save destination not as expected-->version control issues

Hi there,

I have several big projects in play, a novel and a couple of story collections. My experience as a relatively new Mac user seems to be that files often don’t go where you think you told them to go. And Finder is not, to my mind, as logical as the Windows directory. So, sometimes I can’t find what I know I saved for quite some (wasted) time.

In the case of the Scriv files, it saves automatically on close, and sometimes they go to Dropbox, and sometimes to my hard drive, and it appears that at least one of the projects has not one but two places it might choose to go on my hard drive. I assume the logic of where it saves to is dependent on where it was opened from, though I still don’t understand one of the locations in the “recent” list under the File menu for one of projects.

Anyhoo. The trouble is, you click on what you assume will be the most recent, the top version. But for some reason, this ISN’T always the most recent version. It’s hard to tell sometimes, if you’re working in a big project. Maybe you last worked on chap 5, but now you want to work on chap 25. You might not notice that the changes you recently made are not in the project. Ditto with a story collection, where you might not be looking at the last story you worked on. So by the time you realize what’s up, you may have relatively fresh work scattered over three different versions of the project.

Now what?

I could have been just as disorganized in Word, thank you. And at least I would have easily have been able to see WHERE the folders were.

I’ve really grown used to Scriv and like it a lot. So how do I make sure it’s saving to the right place, always, with the right version?

Hmmm – personally I don’t have any difficulty with this, but I have been using Macs since about 1993. My own particular strategy is always to work from the Finder, never from “inside” an application. I would never normally open an application first and then use the “recent” menu to open the file or project, unless I was absolutely sure of what I was doing. However, one thing that might help you is Default Folder:

But the real answer is to be rigorous about where you put files and projects. I have a folder in my Documents folder called “Projects” and everything I’m working on presently goes into that. I would suggest that you collect up all your Scrivener projects and put them in the same place. You can find them all by conducting a search (using Finder) for all files ending “.scriv”. [Edit: I’d forgotten there is an option under the File menu “Find All Projects in Spotlight” – that will find all the Scrivener projects on your hard drive – and that will include Dropbox folder.] Then when you want to work on something you go to that folder and double click on the project icon – which will launch Scrivener. And it will automatically save to the same place.

Cheers, Martin.

Once you’ve used the feature that Martin suggested to find all of your projects, I’d suggest closing scrivener and locating them all in one spot, or at least in the most logical location for each project. A sub-folder of your Documents folder is usually the best place.

If you have two or more versions of a project, may I ask why? If it’s to create a backup “just in case”, then I’d suggest you make use of “File->Backup->Backup to…” instead, and tell it to zip compress the backup file. That will save you any further confusion as to which version you should be working on.

There are also the automatic backups that can be adjusted by visiting Scrivener->Preferences->Backups.

The finder also has a handy feature: saved searches. If you click on the magnifying glass icon in the search oval, you can search for “kind”. Start typing “Scriv” and it will let you choose that as the type of file to search for, giving you a view of all scrivener projects on your disk. There’s a + sign near the upper right of the window when you perform a search; click it and it will let you save that search and add it to the sidebar, which makes re-using this search very convenient.

Hope that helps somewhat.

Thanks, that does help. I don’t have two or more versions on purpose. It’s just what the system did when it saved them. Though it does make sense to have one version on the cloud and another backed to the hard drive, doesn’t it? My ideal would be to pull from dropbox always, and then have the automatic backup do the automatic backup thing. Which is what I thought it was doing.

But if I look on recent there are several files for the same project listed with different locations. I never picked those locations. It’s just what Scriv does when it shuts down… right?

I’ll try to get better at opening from Finder rather than the program. I guess that’s a Mac practice because I took my machine in for help organizing all the folders and docs one time, and the Mac store person said WHY are you going in through Word? Well, I don’t know, because in Windows the directories are identical? Because if I have a Save As or Doc Open dialogue box open in Word I can drag, copy, paste, rename, basically do everything I could do in the Finder equivalent? Because when I am opening or saving anything in a Windows program I can always see the entire tree of where it’s coming from or going to? And I can move or rename any and all of those folders as I go? (In Office 2010 for Windows something like the last 15 docs you’ve worked in are pinned–for ea of the Office programs–so you can so easily get back to work–it makes much more sense to open the program rather than the go through the directory to the doc. So, that’s a habit, too.)

But you’re right. In Mac it’s much more limited and I should probably figure out how to use it the way it’s meant to be used. :slight_smile: That’s a great suggestion–open from Finder. And create a projects folder. Thanks!

Claudia – I hope you won’t mind my saying that you seem to have developed a rather weird and wonderful way of working that seems to be quite your own! I think this has led you to overlook many things that are available to you – there isn’t that much difference between a Mac and a PC, in my experience. But given that Windows is made by Microsoft, and Word is made by – Microsoft – you might expect there to be quite tight integration between the two. Might I humbly suggest that you take a look at OS X for Dummies, or one of the Take Control books for Mac? I suspect that you might be thinking that the Finder is limited because no-one has shown you what you can do with it!

On the subject of working from Dropbox, you would be well advised to read this thread:


and this: … th-dropbox


Thanks–you’re probably right. I agree they’re not that different, which is why I’m so underwhelmed by my conversion. But I’ve had this Mac for a year and I’m still learning how to get it to do what I took for granted before. So far I haven’t found out that it could do anything more. (Okay, the scrolling is cool.)
My philosophy is that if I have to ask how a friend or co-worker How do I, it’s not user-friendly. The built-in help should be the second resort. And worse, if I actually have to turn to a reference material, it really is poorly designed.

I always figured out Windows on my own. I just thought the Mac was supposed to be something grandmothers could manage. Isn’t that the point of these things? But every time I ask a question someone says, Oh I just wrote a script to handle that. Um, okay.

So, re the version issues, now that I seem to have mult scriv projects, is there a way to copy a folder and paste it into another project? It doesn’t seem so.

Oh, don’t do that! Being able to access the docs directly inside the package is there so you can rescue your writing in time of emergency, but editing them/adding to them outside Scrivener will mess things up - Scrivener needs to make the changes itself so it can synch changes with the binder, any internal links, etc.

Instead, open both versions in Scrivener, in separate windows, then drag any files in one version and not in the other from one binder to the other and drop them in place. Check your files in each to see which has the newer version then copy the newer text into the file you are keeping - just remember to snapshot before you do this to not lose the old version if you need to rewind back.

On a sidenote, I’m new to Mac too, only moved over a bit over a month ago. I’m loving it so far - it seems a lot clearer than Windows to me, and a quick google usually points me at what I need if I can’t figure it out - and then I usually find the reason I couldn’t was just being stuck in the Windows mindset, rather than it being unintuitive. The only thing that irritates me, personally, and that I’ve run into a brick wall on, is the inability to merge folders rather than overwriting. g I’m also not seeing the behaviour you describe, with Scrivener saving copies to random locations - I have one copy of each .scriv project saved in the place I originally specified (a folder in my documents folder depending on whether it’s uni work or fiction) and then my zipped backups, which are saved to the default back up location and then backed up to my dropbox folder. If you haven’t already, I’d strongly suggest turning on zipping of backups in Scrivener > Preferences > Backups > Compress automatic backups as .zip files so you can’t accidentally open those instead.

Couple of suggestions:

  1. when you choose to save something, click the downward pointing triangle next to the filename you’re going to save it under. When you do that, the dialog will open up with a finder window. From left to right, there are backwards/forwards triangles, then four buttons for how you want the folder system to be displayed. The second is hierarchical, the third is in columns (which is what I always use). Choose the one that suits what you’re used to looking at, and you’ve got your hierarchical view. Note, there’s also the finder side-bar and down the bottom a button for setting up a new sub-folder wherever you are in the hierarchy — it will ask you to name it and then open the newly created folder and will save your project or whatever there.

  2. If it suits you, when you have put all your .scriv projects in a folder, in the finder, drag the icon for that folder to a suitable point on the side-bar on the left, and an alias or sym-link or whatever it is that points to the folder in question will be created, and which will appear in all open and save/save as dialogs and in all finder windows. That means you can navigate directly to that folder, however deep it may be in the hierarchy, just by clicking on the icon in the side-bar.

  3. I disagree with Martin (unusual, as it happens) in that I always open applications and then open documents/projects/whatever from the “Recent” menu, or if they’re not accessible through the “Recent” menu from the “Open” menu. I do sometimes open by double clicking in the finder, but normally only if the document in question is in a totally different location from the locations I use most frequently, as I find using the finder quicker in such cases.

  4. If you plan to keep the active version of your project in your Dropbox folder, do read the FAQ on it and the manual.

  5. Do set up the automatic backup system to save either on closing or on opening a project, and set it to date and to zip up the project … that way you’ve got your back-up but won’t confuse it with the active project.

  6. Make good use of snapshots!



EDIT: Never let it be said that UNIX is more limited than Windows, and OS-X is UNIX with a GUI. It’s just that you need to think in the way the Finder works. And, may I say, I can always find things on a Mac, I have much more trouble when I’ve had to use Windows for precisely the reason you impute to OS-X; one of my peeves with Windows is that IT does things automatically that I don’t want, like dumping icons all over the desktop, which I hate! :slight_smile:

Personally, I think that is the wrong approach, and that if you adopt it you are cutting yourself off from potentially useful insights that others can pass on to you, and it will take you longer to learn how to do things. You may, indeed, find yourself stuck or taking a very long time to do something when there is a very simple and easy way of doing it – but it just never happened to occur to you! I have had plenty of “Dooh! Why didn’t I think of that!” moments – several of them while reading on this forum! Then again, speaking as a psychologist (always a good way to get ignored :smiley:), I have to say that there is plenty of evidence to suggest that prior experience can be a barrier to learning new ways of doing things. People misuse the word “intuitive”, particularly in relation to the operation of computers, it seems to me! What they really mean when they use the word is that they have built up a set of expectations through experience, and when something does not meet those expectations they call it “counter-intuitive”. It isn’t. It is just prior experience creating an obstacle to learning something new.

On the subject of seeing the whole Directory tree in an Open-Save dialogue – you can do that on a Mac, too.

And to Mark – actually, I usually use LauchBar these days – it’s super fast! But I didn’t want to confuse the issue!

Cheers, Martin.

Yes. Open both of them in scrivener. You’ll have two windows. If one of them is to be primarily the destination for copying stuff to, then move it to the leftmost portion of your screen. Then move the “source” project so that it no longer obscures the other project’s binder.

Now just drag files or folders from the source binder to the destination binder.

Right. those are your automatic backups. If you go to Scrivener->Preferences->Backups you’ll be able to specify a different location if you like (such as your Dropbox folder), and you’ll also be able to tell it to zip compress them, as well as having it to put the date and time in the backup file’s name. That will make it extremely easy to distinguish between your project and it’s backups.

As for the duplicate project… once you are done merging the two, close the redundant one, locate it in the finder and ctrl-click on the project and choose Compress “Name of project.scriv” from the pop-up menu. This will create a .zip archive copy of it; then delete the original. Scrivener can’t open compressed versions of it’s projects, so you’ll never have to worry about opening it unintentionally again.

By the way, I use the Recent Projects menu all the time. There’s no reason to avoid it if you understand how to locate your projects outside of scrivener, and if you use File->Backup->Backup to for manual backups when you’re about to make a major change you’re not 100% sure you’ll want to keep (for changes to individual text documents, I’d suggest using Snapshots).

Thank you so much everyone. A very good case for asking How do I… (I guess not wanting to ask questions is part of my rotten childhood… :smiley:). This has been a good discussion and I’ve learned a lot. Also you’re very nice.

Someone said something about intuitive interfaces and how so often that’s based on prior experiences rather than actual intuition… of course this discussion is a bit of an aside to the original question, but I like talking about this stuff. Usability is related to what I had to do for a living for a while there. I also think about it in terms of traffic flows. I’ve recently moved to a new town and it occurs to me that designing exits and on-ramps and roundabouts (please don’t) and other intersections is much like designing a web page or a software program. And a lot of it DOES have to do with user expectations and past experiences. People can make grave errors, sometimes, if they react too quickly at the wrong time and click the wrong thing. Maybe they’ll wreck their work, maybe they’ll just cost themselves a lot of time. Sometimes it IS more efficient and more intuitive to do it the way people are used to. I assume that is why Apple still has these dumb dropdown menus that MS left in the dust five years ago. I assume this is why Apple rarely changes anything, and why MSFT gets reamed every time it makes a change even when profoundly for the better. Roundabouts keep traffic moving BUT they cause more accidents AND they make more people go the wrong way and have to backtrack. They are harder on newcomers/visitors/tourists than locals, because unless you’re 25 and can read signs really fast and have great reflexes, it’s too hard to try to figure out where you’re going while dealing with the unfamiliarity of roundabouts. Bad idea in a tourist town, which is where I live, and which has has a lot of them. Stop lights might be clunkier and take longer, but they’re what people are used to, and they. just. work. They give people time to think and get oriented.

I think any software program should probably have a stop light version for about two months and then a page should pop up and say: Congrats! You’re doing great! Now would you like to learn some short cuts?

And then a month later some neater tricks. Etc.

But if you put in stop lights, the locals will scream bloody murder. “I could get around so much faster without all these bloody lights, coddling me like a child!” :stuck_out_tongue: As for Scrivener’s learning curve, I found it quite helpful to go back to a fresh tutorial when the version 2.0 upgrade happened; I learned a few features that I had missed during the year or so I’d had with version 1. In that sense, it’s like going through a refresher traffic school; something hardly anyone does, but would benefit the vast majority of experienced drivers, who only occasionally experience certain kinds of roads/signs/signals.

And for free, here’s a neat trick with the menus of almost all Mac programs: Go to the help menu. In the search oval, type “open”, or “bold”, or any word that should be part of a menu item. If that word falls within any of the menus of that program, it will be listed below in the search results. Arrow down to each of them, and the location within the menu will be displayed. Hit ENTER to trigger that menu choice, if it’s available. Because of this nearly universal Mac OS X feature, I hardly ever need to know where in the menu structure something is… something I sorely wish were present in Word or Excel on Windows.