Saving over an existing file

Hi all,

Having only ever used Microsoft Word or OpenOffice Writer, I’m new to Scrivener and still learning a lot so please excuse what feels like a really silly question!!

I’m writing a long piece of work and as such, I need to save the work pretty regularly. When I was using OpenOffice Writer or Microsoft Word I could just save over my existing file whenever I wanted but I cannot seem to do that with Scrivener. If I save a piece of work and then try to save over it using the same file name, it does not let me. Therefore, every time I add to my piece of work, I have to use a whole new file name to save it under. If I carry on doing that, by the time I’ve finished my writing I will have God knows how many files!

Can anybody please tell me how I can repeatedly save a single file over and over, without using a new file name?

With regards to everything else about Scrivener, I wish I’d found it sooner! Hasn’t crashed on me once and I love it’s layout and functions. It’s goodbye to all my other writing programs, I’ve been converted! :smiley:

I’m not 100% sure what you’re trying to accomplish here, since you’re not trying to leave a trail of previous versions of the file as backups, but trying to over-write the project that you’re working on. I’m going to assume you don’t know about the auto-save feature of Scrivener and explain that. Please forgive me if it’s not the answer to your confusion…

When you start a new project in Scrivener, it creates a new directory and set of files called a Project. That project contains all of your sub-documents (like parts, chapters or even scenes), as well as document notes, synopses, etc… When you edit any of the parts of your project and the pause for a few seconds, it saves your work automatically… You can also do a CTRL-S to force it to save, but chances are it will have done it for you long before you think to use that key-combination.

So there’s never a need to create a copy of your project with the Save-As feature only to over-write the original project later. If you are worried that new edits may not be what you wanted, and need a way to get back to what you had before you sat down to write, consider looking into the “Snapshots” feature, which saves the current draft of any individual document within your scrivener project and allows you to compare that draft with any future edits.

Thanks for replying Robert, much appreciated.

Saving onto my internal hard disk is no problem, I’m OK with that. The problem came when I tried to save it on my two other external hard drives, a memory stick and a portable hard drive. (Yes, you may have guessed, I’m paranoid about my computer going down and losing the mountain of work that I have done!)

Having said that, I have just discovered a way to save it multiple times on my external hard drives. I was originally saving as ‘doc1’ and it was automatically adding the .scriv at the end as that file already existed. It was then automatically going into the actual file that holds the ‘project’ etc, and when I tried again to save it, still as ‘doc1’, it wouldn’t do it. Now, if I simply delete the .scriv that automatically comes up, it does not go into the inner files and it saves it straight away!

Problem solved…I think!

It sounds like you’ve probably got it now, but I’ll just go over a few points to make sure it’s all clear. First, your project is actually an entire folder with subfolders and documents, the “projectname”.scriv folder. When you create a project or do a “Save As”, you’re saving an entire folder structure, not a single document. So for instance, if you wanted to copy the project in Explorer to back it up or email it to someone, you would need to copy the entire .scriv folder, not just pieces of it from the inside.

Since that whole folder is your project, you can’t save other projects (or the same project) inside the .scriv folder. That would cause a mess, and Scrivener doesn’t permit you to do it.* You can overwrite the whole folder, as you discovered, provided that the project you’re overwriting isn’t open; you just have to trick the dialogue into it by typing the name in yourself rather than selecting it from the browser. So one thing to watch out for here is just to be aware that when you use the “Save As” function, as in other programs, the project you have open is now that project at the new path specified when you did Save As. E.g. if you had Documents\ProjectA.scriv open and did a “Save As” to create Dropbox\ProjectA.scriv, you’re now working in the Dropbox\ProjectA.scriv project and if you try to “Save As” again to Dropbox with the same “ProjectA” name, you won’t be allowed. You could however overwrite Documents\ProjectA.scriv at that point.

Given the confusion that can arise from that, I personally like to use the File>Backup Project To… command to create backup copies; that way I’m only ever working in one project, Documents\MyProject.scriv, but I can save copies to Dropbox or where have you. “Save As” is more for forking your project, where you save Project A as Project B so that you can continue with Project A while also reusing some of your resources for Project B, for instance: you end up with two different projects, each of which is still being actively worked on. Obviously if you’ve been doing Save As for the backup copy thing for a long time now you may have a tight, workable system, and that’s fine, it’s perfectly allowable; I just wanted to throw the backup idea out there since Scrivener has that built in for just this purpose.

You can also backup as a zip file, which I also like since not only is it neatly compressed (making it simpler to transfer, since it’s dealt with as a single file rather than a mess of folders and files) but it’s also harder to accidentally open and work in: you have to be much more intentional about extracting the contents of the archive, and thus it’s much rarer that you’d open the wrong copy of your project and work in it by mistake.

Backups by default add a time stamp to the end of the filename, which again I like since I prefer to keep a handful of backups in case I discover something catastrophic happened and I need to revert to an earlier version, but you can always remove that and so save over the same backup file repeatedly if you really wanted. Anyway, just some options for you!

  • There is a bug with this whereby it is possible to select a .scriv folder in another dialogue and then reuse that for saving, but that will be corrected. Should you find yourself saving inside a .scriv folder, change the location!

MM covered it pretty well, but I just wanted to emphasize something, now that i see you’re just trying to do backups on various drives/memory sticks… Use File->Backup Project To. Also, use the .zip option, as MM suggested you do.

It’s less confusing, you are always left with the original file to continue your work with, and the backup location can be set to any drive that is always there when you do the File->Backup Project To. If there’s a disk that’s always attached to your computer, use that as the primary backup drive (the Location will always default to the last place you chose), and then copy that .zip file to your other backup locations as you need to.

Hi MM, Rob,

Thanks so much for all your help!

Being new to Scrivener, I didn’t realize I could back my work up in that way! Now that you have suggested that, I’m going to be using it all the time! So far my document is nearly 65000 words so you can understand why I’m paranoid about losing it! :laughing:

Thanks once again for all your help. I really appreciate you solving my problem for me. I’m sure I’ll be back again soon though! Lol.