Scrivener, more macs and net connection

Hi! I use scrivener on to macs and my iPhone. And I sync ongoing projects with dropbox, while I backup on my computers. I wonder what happens if I have been working online with one of my projects on one of my macs (and synced), then open this project on the other mac, without net connection, working with the project, and close it down. What will happen when I later connect this mac to a net connection and try to sync? Will the project files go corrupt or what?

It depends a lot on whether or not the offline Mac was synced with the latest changes before going offline, and whether it remains the sole device used to edit these projects while it is offline. If it has been offline for some time, then what you’re describing is the classic definition of a sync conflict. What I would advise in that scenario is to not open the projects in your Dropbox folder directly, but rather make copies of them into another folder, using Finder, and work on those instead.

When you get back online, you’ll let the Dropbox copies get up to date, and then use the instructions provided in the user manual (§5.3.2, Merging Projects) to merge the offline copy you made with the main Dropbox version. Scrivener will detect that the copy you are trying to import looks like just that—a copy, and will ask if you want to only merge the changed files. (If you are still using Scrivener 2, then you’ll need to merge the projects by hand.)

This may not avoid conflicts, to be clear—that’s going to be difficult unless you are very careful to avoid all sections of the binder you might have worked on since you last synced this machine—but at least they will be conflicts that Scrivener is generating for you in the binder, so you can sort them out more easily. It’s better to have things done that way than have Dropbox duplicating internal pieces of your project and hoping Scrivener picks up all the pieces correctly.

If on the other hand you did sync up before going offline—don’t worry about it. One of the nice things about systems like this is that they have a full local copy of everything, and you can safely work offline with it. When you get back online, the changes will be uploaded and made available to your other devices.

Of course the caveat there goes back to what I said in the first sentence: that while this offline computer remains offline, you shouldn’t be editing the copies on Dropbox using other devices! Consider using local transfer techniques if you intend to use iOS in the meantime. See Managing Projects Directly (iTunes), in the user manual, pg. 350, for tips on how to go about doing that. It’s a viable way of working in its own right—in fact I don’t use sync at all myself. I drag projects on and off the device with a file manager, or use AirDrop, whichever is more convenient at the time.

I would just add that if this is a routine event, you might want to consider using some other method to transfer files between computers. Dropbox works best in a world where it can connect to the net whenever it wants, from whatever device you are using. If that’s not your world, you will probably be happier with a method that allows you to personally control when and how data transfers happen.


Thanx a lot for the hopefully useful tips. Most of the time I’m online, but there are are occations when I’m writing places where there’s no wifi. I think I’m gonna stick to be careful to sync before going offline :slight_smile: