Scrivener Preferences Confusions

I am using Scrivener 3 on a Mac OS 10.4.6. I am confused about a few things.

  1. What is the difference between Scrivener Preferences and Project Settings?
  2. In Scrivener/Preferences, I struggle with the “Manage” dropdown. What is the difference between “preset” and “file”? The “Reset Default” button on the right is scary because of the message, “cannot be undone.”

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I would like to

  1. Use Times Font in all of my projects.
  2. Save each project in a different subfolder in my Desktop/Scrivener Project folder.
  3. Back up each project to a different subfolder in my Dropbox/Scrivener Backups folder.

Thank you so much for your advice.

I presume you used Scrivener 2 in the past. We’ve collected a number of the different settings that used to be scattered in menus, and put them into a central Project Settings window. This is now where you set up document templates, labels and status and other metadata, backdrop images, backup settings, etc.

You should find your questions on themes and presets addressed in Appendix B.1.1 of the user manual. Basically the “file” option is so you can back up your settings somewhere (like a cloud server) in a form you can later load as a file. Presets are more convenient if you just want several different sets of preferences and want to be able to rapidly switch between them—they will be listed right in this menu. A preset or file is how you would restore your settings if you experimented with the Default button, for example.

To be clear, you don’t need to use any of these to just change your settings.

This is in the Editing: Formatting preference pane. It would be worthwhile to read B.3.2, to understand how setting up a default font and format doesn’t magically overwrite existing text. There are some tips for retrofitting existing text in the knowledge base.

This isn’t a preference, you save your projects wherever you want when you create them. It’s like Word, there is no setting that dictates where all of your .docx files go. You save it to your system where you want. By extension you can treat Scrivener projects like normal files too, drag them to move them, rename them in Finder, etc. As with all software, it’s best to make sure it is closed before doing so, even though the modern Mac system is pretty good about keeping track of such things.

That said, I would caution against using your Desktop for heavy-duty long term storage. It can slow your Mac down, as it scans the Desktop at a faster rate and creates larger preview files. Documents is usually a better place to work from.

This is a project setting. The overall behaviour of the automatic backup system is established in the Backup preference pane itself, which you should review. I like to bump the number of backups it saves to the maximum of 25 for example, and use date stamps so they are easier to identify.

For each project you’ll use File ▸ Project Settings…, in the Backup pane, to point that project to a different backup folder. You can read about that in Appendix C.9, but it’s pretty straight-forward.

Welcome to Scrivener 3! If you are indeed coming from version 2, I’d recommend this special tutorial we made for those upgrading to 3. The main interactive tutorial itself also has a “What’s New” collection, and Appendix E in the user manual goes in-depth into various notable changes.

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Thank you for taking the time to answer each of these questions so carefully. I’m working on them and will post again if I hit a stumbling block.

Hello, Amber. Your advice has been very helpful. I have spent the last few days in the Scrivener Manual Appendix B Preferences. Whew. Here is what I need some help figuring out.

  1. I went through the Scrivener Preferences pane by pane and saved each pane to create my own global Scrivener preset. In each pane, under Manage in the lower left corner, I clicked Save Preferences as a Preset to a file I created, My Name Preset. With each save I was asked if I wanted to overwrite the file and clicked Yes. Tonight, after I closed Scrivener and reopened it, My Name Preset did not pop in the menu. However, it was still viewable in the Library/Application Support/Scrivener/Themes. Since it would not pop up in the menu, re-entered My Name Preset, and saved to it. Now, in the Library, I have two files. The red tag is mine; that’s the first one. Can I combine these files? Or, do I need to go upload the first one and reset any preferences that might have been lost, in order to create a single preset?

So one thing that may be worth clarifying here is that there is only one preset for all preferences. One does not have to save an individual preset for each pane.

That aside, there is no way to merge preference files—they would be impossible to merge since one says “yes” to something and another says “no”, but which is right? :slight_smile: I’m not sure what would be different between these two files though, I might be missing something. It sounds like you saved one preset yesterday and another today without changing anything in between—wouldn’t they be the same content in two files then?

I think perhaps you do not need to worry so much about losing settings. You do not ever need to save settings (Mac malfunctions aside, lightening strikes and so forth), that happens the moment you make a change in the software. To reiterate what I said before, you only need presets if you intend to switch whole batches of settings frequently. It’s probably not a bad idea to back them up every once in a while, particularly if you change a lot (like I do). But I wouldn’t be worrying nearly so much about it—saving on every single pane and so forth, it’s not that volatile.

I was trying to create one preference pile, but I thought I had to save each preference pane to it. But you’re right – it really doesn’t matter. I get so frustrated with Scrivener because I do stuff like this. I have spent hours on something that’s not important, but maybe it has helped become more familiar with the software, just by pushing all the buttons. :laughing:

I’m a fan of pushing all the buttons. :smiley:

Same here. Confusing! Plus, there semes to be some crazy overlap of concpets and procedures here. What am I saving? Am I asking to save the correct thing? If settings are settings, what are project settings? Why are there so many ways to save and then revive settings, but not a single way to do so for project settings? Looks like I can swap presaved scrivener settings at will, while working in Scrivener, in the middle of a edting a project, but to swap Project Settings, I have to create a blank project template, and then start a whole new project from scratch from that project template. Meaning, unlike Screivener Settings and Theme Settings, Project Settings can’t be applied to a current or exiting project. Is this true? This despite the fact that there is no way to “Manage” project settings the way there is a menu in the Scrivern Settings to do so. In fact, there is no suggestion of a way to accomplish the saving of Project Settings (as a Project Template) from Project Settings (isn’t that where you’d expect it?). Then there is the added confusion of Document Templates (Character Sketch, Location Sketch, Etc.). Am I missing something here? What exactly is a Theme? Are Themes subservant to Settings? Preferences? When you save a Settings Preset? Are you by default also saving all Theme related settings? Are there Theme Settings that are not included in Settings Presets? Huh?