Scrivener "Compare Documents?"

Hey all.

Weird question here. Due to the garbage that is OneDrive, I have discovered that one of my machines didn’t sync correctly two weeks ago, and I have two versions of a manuscript.

The good news is that this implies no edits are lost.

The bad news is that it’s not obvious where the manuscripts differ.

Is there a “compare documents” feature in Scrivener (similar to what’s in Microsoft’s Word)?


Fellow Scriv user here with two cents until someone else comes by:

Scrivener has a document snapshot function and a function for comparing a document with any of its snapshots.

If what you are needing to do is compare two whole projects and don’t have a good idea what documents within the project might have been modified, then this is not likely to help you, because not a project-wide compare. Also, you would actually need to take some special steps to create an instance of a doc from one project that had the corresponding doc for the other project as a snapshot – doable but can be confusing and would be unfun to do for a lot of docs.

If Word is available to you, you might be better off just compiling to Word from both and using Word’s compare function. Then you can identify the source texts in Scriv and start making (a copy of) one of these projects your master copy.


Totally. I love that feature … it’s not quite applicable here as you’ve pointed out, this is about OneDrive being unhelpful with conflicts. Seriously, what kind of product doesn’t even tell you you’ve had a conflict? :slight_smile:

Yeah that’s what I’m dreading. I think that since I’ve got like 100 sections it’ll be a bit rough going by hand but may be the only way. It’s not even as simple as firing up a diff in terminal as it’s not clear which – if any – of the RTF chapter files are “problematic.” The only file clearly different is the master Scriv file within the directory that holds the Scrive project.

This is why I drink. In other news, I’m now ordering some Google Drive to make the problem go away … or at least to get a different set of problems.

Google Drive will not help. It is known to be unreliable with live Scrivener projects, and we do not recommend it.

We use and recommend Dropbox as the most Scrivener-compatible cloud service.


To try and solve the problem, can you not run a folder diff on the two scrivener project bundles, and then file diff those that show differences? Several commercial diff apps can do both folder and then file diffs from a folder diff, and perhaps a trial version could solve this short term problem. I’ve tried Araxis Merge and Beyond Compare but there are lots of options and probably some open source depending on your platform.

That sounds like the best solution. If you had to do it by hand, it could still be done at a glance as follows:

  1. Open two Finder windows and right click each .scriv project and ‘View package contents’.
  2. Navigate to Files/Docs in each and run down the columns side by side, noting down any which have a different ‘Modified’ date and time (or any where a doc exists in one but not the other).
  3. Open both projects. Where the same doc has different ‘Modified’ stamps, snapshot the earlier one, then copy over the later one. Use the compare tool to see differences. Where a document doesn’t exist, copy and paste it into a new document in the later project.

It’s a clunky solution, but without a project-wide comparison tool, or unless you want to do it via Word, I can’t think of another.

The problem isn’t that there’s two Scrivener project bundles. It’s one bundle with br0k3N files inside it. Two project bundles would be a nice problem to have :slight_smile: What occurs is that there’s, say, the main .scrivx file, plus an abberant one.


Both of these are inside the project bundle. The second one has an earlier date, because the client MACHINE-FINGERPRINT had some sort of embolism and spat a file there during a sync conflict (without a warning). This occurs throughout the project bundle for a bunch of the RTF files as well.

Naturally I can go through each of these by hand and find the differences, but I was hoping (ha) for a convenient tool. In the absence of something like that what I’ll probably do is to open the MACHINE-FINGERPRINT edition and compile to Word as a previous poster suggested and see what that does for my luck.

I fell down a hole looking in to this last night and indeed, Google Drive appears to be a pox on the world of authors. OneDrive is also, I can confirm, a similar pox. I’ve picked up DropBox as of this morning to test it out, so thanks for the clarity around that.

Out of interest, where do we sit with Amazon Drive?

Considering the age of the support docs in question and the relative newness of Amazon Drive this is a fair question, but I do appreciate the condescending reply.

“Use and recommend” is not the same as “others do not work.” There is a specific article on Google Drive’s inability to work, but not Amazon Drive.

I didn’t mean it to be condescending. While the support document in question has some age on it, Katherine’s reply doesn’t. Many of us here have learned to take heed to even the slightest trace of suggestion in her replies. I’ve yet to see someone go wrong when listening to her suggestions.

I haven’t seen any reports one way or the other on Amazon Drive. You should probably consider it untested and entirely at your own risk.

In theory, any service that works “like Dropbox” should be fine. In practice, there are significant subtleties around speed of synchronization, conflict management, and so on that seem to affect real world results.

This article, on best practices to avoid synchronization errors, is good advice for any service. … c-services
I also recommend storing Scrivener’s automatic backups locally, so that they won’t be affected by any “cloud” issues. If you do that, any problems you encounter should be recoverable.

Please note that Dropbox is the only service supported for synchronizing with the iOS version of Scrivener.


Thanks, that’s useful intel. I think for my use case of needing a just-works option, I’ll let someone else walk in the lava first.

This was the problem I had with OneDrive. It seems to work on the outside, but the speed of sync is a bit random, and when it says it’s sync’d often it is not, and the way it handles conflicts is to totally not tell you, which can leave you in a hurt locker.

While moving my life to Dropbox is a little painful from a file transfer perspective, the tool seems quite good. I don’t use most of the fluff that comes with OD or Google Drive like cloud editors as they’re just a bit average. I guess I just needed a significant catastrophe to move me to a happier place :slight_smile:

I put Scrivener’s backups into for an alternative provider. It’s not very fast, but it doesn’t need to be, and it (like Dropbox) appears to “just work” - perhaps because of a lack of fripperies. I don’t think it would work as a prime storage due to speed of sync issues, but it solves my all-eggs-in-one-basket problem nicely.

Thanks for the update on Amazon Drive. I’ll … well I have a friend who is going to test it out, and if he reports that it’s “all good in the 'hood” I’ll report back here.

To be honest, I cannot understand this discussion. The desire for a SIMPLE comparison function is old. All complex detours are not what Scrivener is supposed to be - and not expected to be.
Why this frustrating discussion? Nobody attacks our good Scrivener - it’s just a desire for improvement. I know forums where any proposal to improve a programme is seen as a hostile act - must it be the same here? Has Scrivener changed that way?

Translated with

I would love to see a compare feature. But Keith has said “no” to it plainly and unambiguously, so the discussion seems over.

[url]Compare Documents Feature Missing - #10 by KB]

Yes, sad, but true. Scrivener will no longer be what he was promised. There remain two alternatives …
Very sad.

Huh? :open_mouth:
Who promised what to whom?