Set timestamp format for Backup Project filenames

I would very much like either a choice of formats or a way to define the format for the filenames generated by “Backup Project to…”

The current format is

projectname [MM_DD_YY_HH_MM_AM/PM]

This is long and doesn’t sort well in folder lists, since months repeat but years don’t.

I would like a shorter, year-first timestamp format.

My personal preference, to which I manually edit the Backup filename each time, is

projectname YYYYMMDD_HHMM

where the HH is a 24-hour clock.

Example -
Moby Dick [12_12_09_6_23_PM]
Moby Dick 20091212_1823

Thanks for considering -

The time stamp uses the “short date” format as set in your system preferences. But you can of course give backups any name you want - the filename with the date that is inserted by default is just a suggested name.

All the best,

I came to the same conclusion the other day. I’m a Brit and so use dd-mm-yy(yy) dates normally. But yes, I didn’t want to have to retype the date string in YYYY/MM/DD format each time, so I have set my short date format, and only my short date format to that, as for all other purposes I use “DD Month, YYYY” as the format.
Being here in China, where YYYY/MM/DD is the standard format — sensible people! — it makes me wonder why I didn’t do that years ago!


Hmm, talking of sorting in folder lists, though, why would you use the file name in an attempt to sort by date? In Finder you can sort by the modified date of the file itself, which would give you a better result.

All the best,

Well, my backups go into a folder on DropBox, so having the different project backups grouped by the project name first, and then for each project ordered in terms of the date and time of the backup means it is very easy to identify the most recent version of the particular project I want to work on on the other computer, and to delete the oldest versions if necessary. So “Project.scriv [2009_12_12-21_52-23].zip” or whatever works very well for me as a file name.

I also export a lot of the news item files I export from Scrivener as a date of the report + the initial of the original translator + a number if there’s more than one from them that day, e.g. 20091212m1.rtf



Thanks Keith for the explanation. I have adjusted my short format for date and time. It still puts in the square brackets, of course, and even though I changed my short time format to be 01-24 hours without colon or AM/PM it still adds a trailing underscore. Without manual adjustment I now am offered

Projectname [YYYYMMDD_HHMM_].zip

So in my ideal world I’d have a way to eliminate those - but what your advice gave me is quite workable for now.

I have no rational explanation for my preference to have sortable filenames instead of changing the folder sort method to Date Modified. Your question left me sullenly naked. xiamenese articulated it far better than I could have. I can only kick dirt and say I want what I want.


Blimey, no need to get sullen or naked! :slight_smile: I’m not sure why you are getting the trailing underscore. For legitimate file naming reasons, underscores are set to replace “:”, “.”, “/” and spaces (2.0 won’t replace the spaces and will use a hyphen instead of an underscore), so my only thought is that you must have accidentally placed an extra space at the end of the time in your short date format. You should be able to edit back out in your System Preferences.

Xiamenese makes a good case, but at the end of the day an extra preference within Scrivener for setting the format of something obscure like this, when the title is intended as only a placeholder and you can adjust system settings, would be overkill.

What I could do is just change it so that rather than use system settings, it uses a backwards time format no matter what, so that it would always sort okay:


All the best,

I’m all for that :slight_smile: I guess that way it makes sense for almost everybody.

Backwards time format is how I mark my manal backups. I would love to see them automatically added by Scrivener.


Okay, makes sense to me, as it means no extra preferences anywhere. For 2.0, then, the default backup name will be:

Project name YYYY-MM-DD hh:mm


My Great Novel 2009-12-21 00-27

All the best,

I’d be more than happy with that … I could set my short date back to its original UK format for those comparatively rare occasions when I use that in other documents.