Securing Documents

I see that there was some discussion about Document locking but I don’t see that anything ever came of it. Once I have finished a chapter, it is very useful to lock it so that I cannot accidentally change the text when I return to copy out a reference for use in another chapter. I use an ipad application to take notes. I understand that Scrivener is worried about people loosing their passwords: what about a lock without a password that just protects content from being edited accidentally; or a global password entered into system preferences and recoverable via email?

It is the one feature that that is missing for me – and I expect for others.

If I missed the answer – I am sorry – and can you point me to it.

thanks in advance


The answer is that this is not possible in Scrivener.

If you want to protect a project or a single document within it from accidental editing, make a backup to a static location.

If you want to protect a project or a document within it from unauthorized access, use any of the excellent third-party encryption tools available.

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ok thanks … I will not ask why – I can only assume you mean that there are technical reasons which make this either very difficult or impossible to add as a feature… as useful as it might be.

  • third-party encryption protects the document from being opened – which is not the goal here

  • a backup to a static location: not sure what that means but it sounds like more work than I what I am doing now – which is to export to a PDF and add it to the document…

Anyway, I guess i have my answer…



One possible solution :
Take a snapshot of the document in the state you want it. (Name it something descriptive of its reason to be.)
Then change the font color of the text in the editor to something like red. (Red as in : Don’t touch.)
Roll back to the snapshot in case of an “accident”.

If you use a revision color to make the text in the editor red (then turn revision off once done), you’ll know if you “messed up”, because any addition you’d have made to the text after that would have the font black (or the default color – not red).
If you don’t use revision colors intensely, you should be able to spare a color out of the 5 possible for this purpose.

The idea is to simply make it obvious to yourself that this is text you DON’T currently want to edit.

I work with printouts a lot, and I use that whenever a document is currently in print so that I don’t waste time working on the computer version. It works fine.
(I don’t personally use the revision color, though, I just turn the text red, that’s good enough for me.)

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That is indeed one possible solution.

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thanks Vincent and kewms

Vincent, I will give this a try … I see the logic … thanks


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And if it is just for unauthorised access by someone who has physical access to your machine but an ID remember you can and probably should use the full disk encryption provided by macOS. if the unauthorised person has their own separate ID take care of how you set file permissions to keep that person out of your stuff. If the unauthorised person. has your login ID and password then even encrypted files may not prevent unauthorised access.

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thanks … but perhaps I can clarify.

  1. the person I am worried about is myself: I work on a number of projects at once, or a number of chapters in a single project. It is often useful to look up a reference or quote in one file to be used in another. If I am not careful, I can modify the text and not see it. So I want to prevent editing of a file … a password is no necessary: the ability to toggle between “no editing” to “allow editing”

  2. I tried Vincent’s very good idea: the problem is, if I edit the text I can see the changes, but if I delete a word or phrase by mistake, that I cannot see.

For the moment I will try to use “roll back” …

I realize that a password protect no doubt has complexities that I am not aware of; however, hopefully Scrivener will consider a simple “allow editing” or “block editing” option…

thanks everyone …


You could go for the extreme then:
Take a snapshot as I previously explained, but instead of turning the text red, delete it all and replace it with a big bold “SEE SNAPSHOT”.
Later roll back to the snapshot.

Make sure you have a solid backup procedure in place.

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This may sound silly, but: be more careful. Between the regular practice of snapshotting docs (forget coloring the text etc) and auto-backups of projects you are already covered. The rest is almost surely just your anxiety talking. Something to work through rather than abet!

I assume you read through your text as compulsively as the rest of us — if a random chunk of text went missing, you will notice and pull it back from snapshot or backup. If some words were /accidentally/ erased by you and miraculously your text reads smoothly and you can’t detect a gap — you did not need those words!

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FWIW, I take a snapshot whenever I send a document off to someone else. Other than that, I mostly don’t worry about it. YMMV.

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Here is a link to the answer on why this would be awkward in Scrivener. Skip to the third paragraph, as the initial two are in response to another kind of query.

There is also quite a lot of discussion in that thread above and below.