Save Project to Cloud, Work from 2nd PC?

Hello, and thanks for reading!

I’m new to Scrivener (but I did search the topics and Knowledge Base). Here’s my situation.

I need to work on my home machine at night, save the project to the cloud, and then work from my office during the day. At the end of the day, I’d like to save that project, and then pick it back up at night at home.

Tonight is my first evening using Scrivener, so I created and saved a project. But when I went to upload the file to the cloud, I found it was a folder containing 3 other folders and the xml project file. I assume all of it needs to be saved, but I’ll never get so many uploads and downloads right.

Is there a way to transport files between computers? Preferably a simple way, I have the technical skills of a freshly-stunned blowfish.

Thanks so much! I really enjoyed using Scrivener. :smiley:

As you realized, a Scrivener project, though appearing as a single thing inside Scrivener, is actually a file system folder (name ending in .scriv) containing a project .scrivx file and several subfolders containing numerous files. Essentially, rather than being a single simple file like a Word doc file, it is a database constructed of numerous folders and files. Given the numerous pieces that make it up and their interrelationships, it is sensitive to and can be corrupted by outages and by less than perfect copying or cloud sync schemes. (Same holds at least somewhat true for seemingly simple Word doc files, but that’s a topic for another time.)

There are a variety of approaches to working on a Scrivener project on two or more computers. You will find the approaches discussed in the Scrivener manual (Help > Scrivener Manual or download from ) and in the forums under words/topics such as “backup”, “restore”, “cloud”, “dropbox”, “sync”, “compress”, “zip”, etc.).

For background on the cloud approach you have specified, see knowledgebase article … th-dropbox and the above resources.

Some brave souls use the approach of having their live Scrivener project .scriv folder reside in their DropBox sync folder… and get away with it… and some don’t. As best I understand from all the above, the only cloud sync service that is viable for this is DropBox… and even it can prove iffy. If you try it, be sure to strictly obey the guidelines in the above using-scrivener-with-dropbox knowledgebase article. And also maintain additional separate backups elsewhere than on DropBox.

An ultracautious paranoid approach is to do a File > Back Up > Back Up To at the end of each home or at work session (making sure to specify the results be compressed as a single .zip file and allowing Scrivener to insert a date/time stamp in the .zip file’s filename), then copy that to DropBox (other cloud sync services are probably alright too for this approach) and/or a USB thumb drive that you carry with you, then, at the other location, decompress/unzip that .zip file back out to a regular file system folder system and work on that. Reverse/repeat to send the updated project back the other way. And hang onto copies of the backup .zip files, elsewhere, as additional backups. To be clear, even though one can drill/view into a compressed .zip file, Scrivener cannot work on a project that is within a compressed .zip file.

A middle ground between the two extremes above would involve copying the live project .scriv folder between machine and DropBox or USB thumb drive… but as mentioned earlier, such a live project folder has lots of parts and if even one part fails to copy properly for whatever reason, you’ve got trouble.

Regardless, never copy or uncompress a project into an existing project folder. Always copy or uncompress to a new folder. That may involve using date/time stamps in the project folder name (will happen automatically if do as discussed above when dealing with backups produced via File > Back Up. Back Up To). And will likely involve having to housekeep (delete) previous no longer needed versions of the project folder.

For a completely different approach, if your workplace will permit your remoting out, consider leaving the live project on your home computer, leave your home computer up and running remote control software such as TeamViewer and remote into it from work and actually work on it on your home computer. Assuming decent Internet speed, performance/responsiveness should be fine.

Or keep Scrivener and the live project on a laptop/tablet (running real Intel compatible Windows, not Windows RT) and carry the laptop/tablet back and forth between home and work and simply write on the the laptop/tablet.

Or keep the live Scrivener project on a removable external hard drive or solid state drive (SSD) (but absolutely not on a USB thumb drive) and simply plug the drive into whichever computer you are at, assuming you can have Scrivener on both, and edit it directly. Note, do not try to keep and work on a live Scrivener project on a USB thumb drive. While you might get away with it, best to only use USB thumb drives as backup/transport.

You’ll have to see which, if any, of the above are permitted at your work place.

Always keep lots of backups, in multiple places.

Hope that’s more help than hurt. Someone else can probably say it a lot shorter and simpler.

I’ve tried using Scrivener for Windows in combination with Microsoft OneDrive, and for the most part it works fine to keep my project synched between multiple machines. The one problem I’ve run into on a regular basis is that every now and then, the OneDrive app decides something is wrong with the current RTF file that I have open in the editor and refuses to sync it up. I haven’t yet figured out exactly why this happens, but I have a suspicion, and if my suspicion is right the problem should go away once the 1.7.x branch is out of beta and released. (I also note that it didn’t start happening until I upgraded Office to 2013.)

Fixing that error as it pops up can be relatively straightforward (delete the offending file from the appropriate OneDrive folder while keeping Scriv running, kill OneDrive, resave the entire project in place, verify the file was re-created, and restart OneDrive), but I’ve decided to pursue the path of discretion. I now have Scriv work on a local copy of the project. When I’m done, I delete the previous copy on OneDrive and copy the current project copy back up to OneDrive, let it sync, and call it a day. I could probably even get a script in place to do this for me if I were really going to be lazy – or, hell, just toss it in a Git repository and be done with it. (Now that I think about it, Git might not be a bad idea at all…)

Thanks for the replies! I really appreciate it.

For now, I think I’ll simplify my approach by using Scrivener at home, and Word other times. Then I’ll just import the Word files and add them to the Scrivener project. Since I do 80% of my work at home anyway, this shouldn’t be a big deal.

I do appreciate your responses!

I used to do the Dropbox thing, but I stopped after running into a little corruption snafu. Being a long-time coder, I decided to try keeping my writing projects in the cloud at Not only does this provide me with unlimited backups in the cloud and the ability to sync with multiple computers, but it also allows me the ability to roll my writing back to any time I made a push to GitHub.

With GitHub, I am never in any danger of losing my projects, ever.

GitHub is a web-based hosting service that uses revision control. From

GitHub has a free version, but you have to pay around $7 per month for the ability to have private repositories. Git has a bit of a learning curve in order to get started, but much of that was mitigated with the release of their desktop client, which you will need installed on any computer that uses Scrivener. Once it is set up, it is a breeze to use.

~ sean

Dropbox is not the only cloud solution that works. I’ve been using Sugarsync for years without issue. I’ve never had a file fail to sync, and the only time I’ve had an issue is when I’ve accidentally opened Scrivener on both machines at the same time.

The advantage of Sugarsync over Dropbox is that you don’t need to put your scriv project in the Dropbox folder, you can store it wherever you want and sync from that location. As with Dropbox, you need to make sure the sync is done on machine A before you shut down, and when you start machine B, let the sync finish before you open Scrivener. (sync is generally really quick, so this is not really the inconvenience that it sounds like)

You can also use Cubby for this.

I’ve been playing with Bittorrent Sync for the past month. Even though it is in beta, it has thus far been rock-solid, even for “raw” projects. I’ve been doing a mixture, with some less important projects just synced live, while using my standard zip transfer method for the important stuff. The two main benefits of using BT sync are:

  • Speed. There is no going up and down and all over the planet storing files on other people’s servers and all that complexity. Your computers just communicate directly with one another, using the same technology that is designed to rapidly transfer large amounts of data securely without any intermediary servers. Speed also has an important side-effect: the potential window for corruption via conflicts is reduced. BT sync is so fast I often have to double-check the history queue to make sure it even worked. It’s usually all done before I’ve even finished sitting down. :slight_smile:
  • Security: by that same token, since you aren’t using X corporation’s equipment (and let’s be realistic, they probably aren’t even using their own equipment, but some other corporation’s distributed content storage networks) to store your data, you dodge all of the potential legal issues with doing so, as well as increasing your personal level of privacy. All of the assurances in the world do not matter when there are hackers and governments mining data wholesale.

Of course, the lack of a remote server may be seen as a downside for some. Another downside is that in some scenarios remote sync may not work properly as we are talking about direct communication here. If your computer cannot get out of its local area network because of firewalls or proxies, then BT sync will only work when the two computers are on the same network. For me that is fine though. I don’t need to keep my home computer turned on and up to date while I’m away.

How do you do that? That’s precisely the low point of BT Sync, IMHO. Since there’s no cloud to back up to, both computers have to be on at the same time while you update your files. :confused:

I get home, I turn on my desktop, flip open the laptop, they sync, then I shut down the laptop. :slight_smile: That’s no change for me since that is what I was doing with SpiderOak anyway, as it has a LAN override option. This would speed up the transfer between computers when they are on the same network, but even with that you still have the lengthy upload phase required to get the second computer to register the updates. BT sync just avoids that aspect. Since uploading is usually capped by your ISP, that is the major bottleneck. For me, with the type of data that I tend to transition around, that means updates go from around a half hour to less than a minute flat (yeah, my connection is awful).

I still use SpiderOak, but now it just sits on the one computer with throttled network usage. It’s just a low-resource background post-earthquake/whatever backup for me, now.