Sharing a project between two different users of Scrivener

I am trying to share my content with my editor, who has her own copy of Scrivener. Is it as simple as zipping the file (container) and sending it back and forth? Could there be complications?
Is it better to use a shared cloud location?

My greatest concern is a loss of data if we both work on the project at the same time. I don’t know of anyway to make sure they sync, as they would between mac and iOS versions.

Any suggestions?

There is no safe way for two people to work on the same project at the same time.

For your application, though, you might want to look at the “merge project” features, see Section 5.3.2 in the Scrivener 3 manual.


So you are using Mac Scrivener and your editor is using the iOS version?

Both my editor and I are using Mac versions of Scrivener.

If you both use Dropbox and the Mac version of Scrivener, you can share the same folder that contains your project.


You cannot both have the project open at the same time. There is a narrow window of time when you might be able to open it at the same time, but that would cause conflicts within your project that are hard to detect, and can get messy to untangle. If you can both agree that you will each unambiguously and perfectly communicate when you’re passing control of the project over to the other person, you can share the same project using Dropbox.

Just be sure to tell them, “I’m done editing the project. You may open it yourself now! I promise not to open the project again until you tell me you’re done,” and get them to tell you the same when they’re done with it.

Thank you Kewms and Rdale. Your advice on both accounts is very helpful.

But unless you absolutely need to /share/ the project for some reason, it is safer not to.

So far it sounds like a simple round-trip system will work for your needs, so seems like you should just zip it up and send it to your editor.


p.s. Keep your original in a safe place, of course! And if you are going multiple rounds with your editor, you should come up with a scheme of naming iterations of your project, so you can keep track of which is which and who did what to whom!

As an addendum to this:

I work with my friend and collaborator on projects, saved in Sync, rather than Dropbox, as she is in China, though Dropbox is more sure as a shared repository. We have the sad luxury of being 7–8 hours apart, which makes it easier. However, as I’m retired, my day is her evening when she tends to be working on it.

But: (1) if you try to open a project which your collaborator has open, an alert comes up saying it is open on another computer and offering you the choice of (a) duplicating the project and continuing to work, which will end up with complications, or (b) not opening it—when I get those, I choose the latter; (2) if you both turn on Notifications for Dropbox—it works with Sync, and, if memory serves, it used to when we could use Dropbox—then each time she pauses and the project autosaves and is sync’ed, a notification comes up saying “x-number of files have been changed”, and the important one is the one that comes up when she shuts down the project and it sync’s … “user.lock deleted”; when you see that, and you make sure your Dropbox folder is fully updated, it’s safe to open the project. I would still send a text on closing the project saying, “Over to you” or whatever, though.

Oh, and, both of you, get into the habit of taking a snapshot of each document before you start editing it.



I have found it impossible to share a project. My partner and I are writing a book together and want to be able to share the document. I understand that one account is meant to be for up to 5 family users. We both have MacBook Air computers. Please can someone explain how to get started with sharing?

You both need to have a Dropbox account and the Dropbox app installed. You can then invite (Command-click the folder) your co-writer to share a sub-folder under your Dropbox folder and if you move the project to that sub-folder your co-writer will see it as a sub-folder under his/her Dropbox folder in Finder.

Hi, Skier,

Fellow Scrivener user here. Welcome to the forums.

A) The reference you make to ‘up to n family users’ is about the license for the software, meaning you can install the software on several computers within your family. This has nothing particularly to do with collaboration, which is what I think you are talking about. The original poster here was also not talking about collaborative writing, but just wanted to set up and give a copy of a project to someone. I am guessing you have in mind more of a two-way street.

B) Scrivener is an exciting and amazing writing tool (I am not affiliated with L&L), and I think it will do great things for your project. Still, collaborative writing can be a complicated prospect, depending on how much integration you are looking for. ((There is perhaps some ambiguity as to whether you are trying to share between you a particular document from within a given project or the whole project. And when you say “share” do you just mean “send a copy to” or do you mean “actively hold in common”?))

There are various strategies for collaborative writing out there, but each comes with its complications and caveats.

Here is one example of a way (which Lunk was pointing to): One can use Dropbox for full-project collaboration, but doing so safely requires discipline and care on the part of each collaborator. You can share a Dropbox folder between the two of your macs — anything placed in that folder on your mac will sync with Dropbox and with the corresponding folder on your partner’s computer. So, a Scrivener project placed in such a folder will automatically be synced to both computers. But here is the big caveat with this set up: You cannot literally work on this project simultaneously. If one person has the project open on their computer, the other person must not have their copy open on theirs. If you are careful and coordinate with your partner and always remember to let Dropbox have time to sync before opening the project, and also to always close the project and let it sync at the end of your session, you can work this way pretty seamlessly — but there is an obvious danger in it.

There are other strategies depending on what you are meaning to do which range from simply Exporting a single document so as to send a copy to your collaborator and then importing an updated version when you get it back. There is a Sync-with-Folder function which will do roughly this same thing with every document in the project. Etcetera.

If you are just starting out (with your project and/or with Scrivener), I suggest you find the simplest and safest way that works for the two of you and use that. Later on, with more experience of your needs, you might experiment with some more elaborate techniques.

D) When it comes to collaborative writing you might want to go to the tips & techniques area of the forum and search for ‘collaboration’ and its cognates.


P.S. The mention of Dropbox in particular by me and Lunk, as opposed to any other such service, is not an accident. Many such services are not safe to keep live Scrivener projects on, because they do not handle project “packages” correctly and this can lead to the corruption of your project — even if you are not collaborating with anyone. Dropbox is approved by L&L for use with Scrivener. In fact, it is the only sync service that the iOS version of Scrivener will accept for syncing back to your laptop.

Thanks to all for the input. I’ve got it figured out.

Where is the tips & techniques area? Link please? I tried searching and didn’t pull anything up. Thanks!

The “Using Scrivener” subforum.

Can you just upload a project to .pages on a Mac and collaborate there. Then save the revised collaboration back to Scrivener?

You certainly could not upload the Scrivener project file and expect to be able to open it and work on it in some other software. You might, however, in various ways, contrive to upload/share a text document from within a Scrivener project, collaboratively work on that and then re-incorporate the result into your Scrivener project.