Scrivener in the cloud

I love Scrivener, but I miss the posibility of acceding to my files from the cloud. Perhaps integrated in google drive.
It’s a pity to have to combine the use of Scrivener with the basic files of Google Drive. And I have to copy-paste between both to maintain updated the text.

Now it’s the principal problem of Scrivener. It’s necessary updated it to the new era.

The rest it’s really good.

Good job.

Google Drive has not proven a reliable way to store live projects, so building integration with that service would be rather reckless of us.

Not that building integration is necessary, to be clear. The whole “magic” idea of these services is that developers do not have to all individually program integration in order to make use of them, because they work upon regular folders and files, and programs work with folders and files naturally. Thus a JPEG file can be “in the cloud”, and nobody has to program special features into it to make it that way, or into the programs that open and save JPEG files.

I think perhaps you are making things much more difficult for yourself than is necessary though. Most people making use of servers to sync computers and devices together are certainly not using copy and paste as well “between both” (both what?). You might want to read §13.2, Scrivener Everywhere, pg. 129, in the user manual PDF, for the basics.

Glad to hear you’re liking the software on the whole!


Completely misunderstood OP’s issue. Oops.

This can be accomplished with symlinks. … lic-links/

Or you can use Cubby, which gives you the option to make ANY folder a synced folder. OR you can use the new sync feature and have special “sync” documents in your research/drafts that can be edited on Android, etc.

I am a brand-new Scrivener user, and so far I think it is excellent software. However, I was disappointed to learn about the limitations of cloud usage. My situation is: I do most of my writing at a desktop PC (big screen, nice keyboard, comfy chair, good lighting, etc.). But when I’m traveling I use a laptop (not as pleasant or productive, but necessary). All I want is to be able to work on the same project from two different (Windows) PCs - no simultaneous access, no sharing, nothing fancy. My understanding is that because of Scrivener’s approach to storing and updating projects in many small files rather than one big file, I should not try to use a cloud drive to store the project - definitely not Google Drive, and probably not Dropbox either, per my reading on this forum. The suggested workaround seems to be to perform a zipped backup to the cloud drive after each session, and then unzip and use that version of the project when I switch to the other PC. In other words, the master is always the zipped cloud backup, and not what each PC’s Scrivener thinks is the current master. This is workable, but cumbersome and subject to forgetfulness.

A suggestion that does not require changes to Scrivener’s file structure (essentially impossible, right?): just create an option (“Multiple PC Mode”) to use the above technique in an automatic way. When this mode of operation is selected, the last thing each Scrivener does is create the zipped project package on the cloud drive, and the first thing each Scrivener does is unzip and open that project package, rather than default to local copies. I believe, perhaps presumptuously, that this would be almost trivially easy to implement, and pretty bulletproof. It could be smart about labeling and time stamps, such that you see a message saying, “This project was last updated on April 1st, 2016 at 6:00 PM on your Samsung laptop”. (You would of course still have the choice of using a local version if desired.) I realize the zip/unzip might be slow for large projects, but speaking selfishly, I have fast PCs and I don’t switch back and forth very frequently (more than once a day would be very rare.) It would work for just about any cloud service, rather than, say, working well for Dropbox but poorly for Google.

Thanks for considering this suggestion. It might handle the needs of a large fraction of Scrivener user who are asking about the cloud.

With the debut of Scrivener for iOS, Dropbox becomes the sync method-of-choice. During the beta test I moved my projects to Dropbox and as long as I practice safe syncing (always close Scrivener when done; always let Dropbox finish syncing changes before closing/opening Scrivener) I have had zero problems using it to work on my projects between two different machines.

I still follow the guidance in making sure that my backup files are zipped and placed in a non-Dropbox folder (in my case, I stick them in my OneDrive folder). This ensures I can get to my work through two different cloud services AND through four sets of local files.

I guess I’m not convinced - I’m reluctant to be a beta-tester. The tech support under ‘Sharing a Project Between Computers Using Dropbox’ still says the Alternative Method (working from zipped cloud backups, essentially what I am suggesting could be automated and idiot-proofed) “… is orders of magnitude safer.” Also, it should work just as well with Google Drive, which would be my preference, since I don’t currently use Dropbox and don’t really want to download/install/register/learn/maintain another utility app (when I could be writing).

Not all the documents have gotten updated since the release of Scrivener for iOS. Up until this release (and the corresponding releases of the Windows and Mac Scrivener versions), no sync method was officially integrated into Scrivener. That’s obviously changed.

As for the orders of magnitude, there are only so many ways L&L can protect users from doing unsafe things to their files. Once you involve syncing of any kind, the ways for users to shoot themselves in the foot increase. The “backup a single zipped file to a cloud service” is the safest method because:

  1. It’s a single file. Any sync service can handle a single file that has no relationships with other files. And if you’ve configured Scrivener in the recommended fashion, each backup file gets written to the sync service exactly once. Scrivener never directly opens that file again, let alone writes to it and changes it. You do it all under manual control.

  2. Not all sync services are created equal. Dropbox is the one whose approach works the best with Scrivener’s file model (many inter-related files that need to be updated at roughly the same time to preserve those interrelations). Even with Dropbox, it’s not impossible to mess up a synched Scrivener project – all you have to do is have two copies of Scrivener running at the same time against the same project. If you use Scrivener with discipline, you can remove those risks – but Scrivener can’t remove them for you.

Again, not all sync services are created equal. I wanted to use OneDrive but I found that under Windows 7, Windows 8, and MacOS X that even with only a single copy of Scrivener running, I would occasionally get conflicted files. I got tired of fixing them, so I switched to the zipped backup to OneDrive. Now that the iOS version has arrived and DropBox has gotten the nod, I’ve started using it – and following the recommendations – and have had no problems. And I did this with the early beta versions…the release versions (iOS 1.0, Windows 1.9.5, and Mac 2.8) are even more solid. I wouldn’t use earlier versions, though.

Your mileage and comfort level, as always, may vary. The nice thing about desktop Scrivener (Windows and Mac) is that you don’t have to have all of your projects in one basket, so you can put together a test project (or make a copy of the tutorial), save it to DropBox, and play with that until you’re comfortable that you know how to use it with Scrivener and avoid trouble – or see if the changes to your workflow to make it play safe are too much trouble to be worth it.

Thanks for the advice. Maybe I’ll give your approach a try. Sure would make life easier.

I strongly second the recommendation to use Dropbox to work with two Windows, in my case one Desktop PC and one Laptop. I’ve been using it for three months without any problems.

I preferred Dropbox over Google Drive because the first does a smoothly job in mirroring the files and always leave them “as is”. The basic care to avoid conflict copies is being sure of not opening both Scriveners with the same project, and when closing being sure that Dropbox finished uploading before opening the other copy.

I often make manual copy in another folder, just in case, every ending of a working day.

Thank you for the answer. I had no read these paragraph.
I have installed the Google Drive in my computer. Now, I managed sync Scrivener with Scrivener via txt files. With one app of Android that reads google drive files and txt. This works but limited.

Following your advice I’ll try to install Dropbox togheter with google drive and use dropbox for Scrivener. Besides I have sawn that there is apps that they use rtf and Dropbox. So it’s better option in all ways.

Thank you

Many people have been using Dropbox for years to sync “live” projects, myself included. There’s nothing beta about the experience, as it’s never really been something that Scrivener cares about, other than putting a lock file in place to prevent most attempts to open the same project on two different computers. Dropbox has been the most reliable sync service for the purposes of keeping Scrivener projects on multiple computers for many years now, while other services* have done a poor job. So you’ll be treading a well-trod path.

As for zipped cloud backups being an order of magnitude safer… I can’t argue with that. I can still make dropbox create conflicted files occasionally if I’m careless. You can do more things wrong with a cloud service than you can with a USB3 thumb drive, for instance–it will always be safer to use zip files to transport between computers. There’s always a trade-off when it comes to automatic syncing, and always will be. You just have to decide if convenience is more important.

[size=85]*Actually, Cubby seems to work well too, and has other advantages. But if you’re risk averse, then it’s a moot point; far more people use Dropbox to do their Scrivener project syncing than Cubby.[/size]

This is true, just make sure to use the folder sync feature (we just added it in the last version) to create a folder of RTF files you can edit on the go. If your intention for using a cloud service is to make the internal RTF files of your project exposed to some external editor, that’s not a good way to go about things. Think of the “.scriv” folder more like a single cohesive file format. Editing individual components of it piecemeal like that would be akin exacting a DOCX file and using an XML editor to change bits of the file. You can do it, and if you know what you’re doing that’s a way of making changes without MS Word, but if you don’t know what you’re doing you might just end up corrupting the document.

Sorry if that’s not what you meant, but either way check out the feature I mentioned. You’ll find details in the user manual under §13.1, Synchronised Folders, starting on page 120.

You may in fact find you don’t need to put the project itself in a monitored folder, if all you want to do is simply edit your content on the go and have those edits made to the original project when you get back home. If on the other hand you have Scrivener wherever you go, work, home, laptop at the park—then yeah, that’s what putting the actual project in a Dropbox folder can do for you. That is your “data in the cloud”, by definition.