Set Project "Read-Only"

My apologies if I have previously broached this topic. I want to be able to lock entire projects. I often work with two or three projects open on multiple monitors. I consult previous projects and drag items from them into the current project. I craft major revisions by copying the previous revision to a new folder, then working on the new revision as a new project. But whenever I open a previous revision, I always fear that I might inadvertantly change something in it, or that it might become corrupted when the backup runs at close (a “highly unlikely event” to be certain). If I could just lock any project at will, and disable backups on it, then these undesirable possibilities would become moot. Does this make sense? Thx, k

As I’ve seen it stated, the main problem with this idea is that nearly every facet of the project window, and the many dozens of windows and palettes, are all meant to in some way, change the project. There are obvious things like the button that adds a document, but less obvious things as well. Even the act of viewing a PDF is saved in the project, so that when you open it later it returns to that PDF. Just think of all those unknown hundreds of things that would have to be manually overridden with a global override that switches them off and disables their buttons. :slight_smile:

It almost sounds more like an idea for a separate stand-alone program.

You can at least disable the backups for an individual project via File > Back Up > Exclude from Automatic Backups. So once you’ve got your good, solid backup, you could just work from a temporary project that you deal with and then deleted when finished, always starting from a fresh copy extracted from the backup when you want to again refer to the project.

Yeah, I do that quite a bit. Once I’ve “archived” a project, I set it aside as a zip—I don’t leave any live versions of it left lying around. If I need to reference it for some reason, it’s a few seconds to get a fresh .scriv folder out of the .zip and when I’m done doing whatever I need with the project, I discard the modified copy of the project. Good old fashioned file system hacks. :slight_smile:

I do something similar to AmberV? :open_mouth:

:open_mouth: Wot y’ doin’ to 'im!!?

What happens if I set the project directory read-only?

You won’t be able to open the project, as Scrivener has to write a lock file and, as mentioned above, has to be able to store info about which documents you have loaded in the editor, whether the binder or inspector are open or closed, which section of the inspector you have displayed, etc., etc., etc… If it can’t write to the files it needs for storing this info when it opens, it assumes there’s something wrong, and so prevents you from trying to do work in it that might be lost.

I can’t think of any practical way of preventing revisions, other than what’s been suggested (create backup of old version, extract from backup for reference and then delete later). The only thing I can think of is to change the default text formatting in Preferences/Options to use a color (or other distinctive font setting), then update all your documents to use that new text color/font setting. That way, your new revision is visually distinct from the old version, making it hard to mistakenly edit the old copy.

I hate to even mention it but…

It looks like it might just be possible to make just the Docs folder in the .scriv package Read-Only.* A quick trial on a copy of an extant project seemed to work. It opened and could be navigated. Though, if one in any way modifies the text of some document, the minute Scriv tries to auto-save the change, it throws up a panic info box, makes a recovery copy of the project and quits the project. There are probably other less obvious things one could do in the project that would result in the same quit-out behavior.**

But in a rough and ready way this hack does what the OP wanted.***

However, once you see how you can hamper the project like this it really presses the question: why would you do this? You obviously would be foolish to hack your master copy of a project this way, so you need to .zip away the master and work with a copy. But then you are just working with a throwaway copy anyway, so why hack it at all? If you mess it up accidentally, you just throw it away and make a fresh copy. So, I tentatively hazard that your sense that you are doing something dangerous when having those completed projects open is either ungrounded in digital fact (i.e., purely psychological) or is because you are doing something you shouldn’t (opening up your actual precious master copy of that finished project).


  • I only checked this on the Mac version.

** Other anomalous behavior is inevitable, but the whole idea was /not/ to be doing stuff to the project anyway!

*** It does not stop one from reordering things in the Binder and doing various other things.

Thanks for all the responses. It sounds like the best strategy is simply to continue being extra careful. Thanks again, all! k

This is such a common thing (for me at least). I would like some way to tell Scriv not to change anything without a warning.

I got caught by this yesterday. I created a new project by opening an old and doing a Save As. I had both open, and at some point, by mistake, I changed some compile settings for the old project.

I’m considering putting copies of the projects for all the fourteen books I’ve done into a single folder to be used for research, but that could cause more problems.

I have put copies of the PDFs for all of my books into a single folder so I can search them.

If the only purpose for opening something is to make a copy of it, then that seems to me the least efficient and most risky way to do such a thing. Instead, in Finder select the file/folder/package/thing you need a copy of, and press Cmd-D to duplicate it.

And again, for old projects you want preserved, just use .zip files as described above. It’s terribly easy, and very safe, meaning low stress. When you unzip an old project for referencing (or whatever), you can do whatever you want with it because it is 100% disposable.

When you consider a project “done” make one final ZIP backup with a name like MyProjectFinal,scriv, and put it in a safe location. You can then do whatever you want with the original, knowing that you can restore it from the backup whenever you like.