Sharing Saved Compile Settings Via Dropbox

I want to share / sync my saved compile settings between the Macs I work on, rather than exporting / importing as I currently do when switching between machines.

Following the above advice, I created a suitable folder for my needs in Dropbox and then ran the following code in Terminal:

ln -s ~/Library/Application Support/Scrivener ~/Dropbox/Apps/ScrivenerLibrary

In the “ScrivenerLibrary” folder I now have two shortcuts——one to “Application” and the other to “Scrivener”——which both give an “original item can’t be found” error message when clicked.

I can’t see the folder of saved compile settings that I was hoping to see.

Can anyone help?

Thanks in advance.

Someone more geeky than me will confirm or tell me I’ve got it wrong, but:

On the computer that you set up the symlink, you will only see the same icon as an “alias”, not the folder. However, the folder in question will be uploaded to the Dropbox server and copied to any other machine which is sync’ed to it.

While beta testing Scrivener for iOS, I was using symlinks of projects I share with my friend in China—where Dropbox is blocked—in a Dropbox folder while the .scriv projects themselves remained in their shared Cubby. I found that although it apparently worked well, conflicted files were being created whenever I worked on a machine other than my iPad or the MBA with the symlink. The Mac being forgiving about file conflicts, it required looking at the package contents to see this.

Of course, sharing the application support library may introduce other issues in terms of getting the contents of the Dropbox folder sync’d with the application support folder on the second Mac. I’d better have a look at that post by Ioa.


Very grateful to you, Mark.

I must be doing something wrong.

  1. Initially set this up on my MacBook, as detailed above.

  2. On my MacBook Pro, the “ScrivenerLibrary” folder showed up automatically, but had nothing in it. I ran the same code on the MBP and the same shortcuts appeared in the “ScrivenerLibrary” folder. None of the saved compile settings from the MB appeared on the MBP (checking the support folder from the link provided by Scrivener > Reveal Support Folder in Finder).

  3. On my iMac, the “ScrivenerLibrary” folder showed up automatically, but had nothing in it. I have not run the code on the iMac and——as on the MBP——none of the saved compile settings from the MB have appeared on the iMac (checking the support folder from the link provided by Scrivener > Reveal Support Folder in Finder).

  4. When I look at the “ScrivenerLibrary” folder on, it is empty. I don’t know if it is meant to be empty or not.

  5. The support folder has not appeared on or in the Dropbox folders on my different Macs.

I move between two or three of the Macs most days and it would make things easier if I could get the support folder to sync automatically.

I’ll keep trying.


Too late now this evening, but I’ll look into it tomorrow. I agree that a simple way of sharing layouts, presets and compile settings would be great.



Perhaps in Scrivener III.


OK, here’s the thing … I think Ioa must have typed those terminal command details the wrong way round, or you might have mis-read them slightly.

What I did is:

  1. I moved anything from the Scrivener Application support folder that I want to share between Macs into the intended folder in Dropbox—for clarity in what I was doing, I created a /Dropbox/Library/Application Support/Scrivener/ folder so that it mirrors the MacOS library structure, but I don’t suppose that’s important—so for me that was Compile Settings, Layouts, Project Templates and styles.plist

  2. For each of those folders and the styles.plist, in terminal, I typed

ln -s 

then dragged the folder from Dropbox into that command line, followed by dragging the Scrivener folder from the Library/Application Support/ window into the command line, which now read, for instance something like

ln -s /User/Dropbox/Library/Application Support/Scrivener/Compile Settings/ /User/Library/Application Support/Scrivener/ 

and typed return. In MacOS Library/Application Support/Scrivener/ there was now an alias icon of the symlink to the Compile Settings folder on Dropbox.

  1. I did the same for the Layouts, Project Templates and styles.plist, all of which appeared in the MacOS library in symlink form.

  2. I then opened Scrivener to check that all was working as normal … it is. So I’ll now go ahead and replace those contents of the MacOS libraries in my other computers in the same way.

To put it in brief, the actual files need to be in your designated Dropbox folder; it is in your MacOS libraries that you need the symlinks.

Hope that helps. I’ll let you know if I encounter anything odd with it.



Dear Mark

That is so kind. Thank you.

I am sure that I must have misunderstood Ioa’s original post, given that he is an IT guru. Mea culpa.

I can’t see Ioa mentioning moving the files to Dropbox (in his post), but what you say makes sense . . . the files needing to be on Dropbox with links to the original folder.

Will follow your instructions and be mightily happy if things tick along as I want them to.

Thank you, again, for taking the time to work things out and explain them to me.



Mark, you beautiful, wonderful, wondrous man.

It works perfectly. Have got the Compile Settings mirroring across the three Macs: change a compile or create a new compile on one Mac and the change / new compile is available in seconds on the other two Macs.

Bugbear. Slain.

So grateful to you. Will make moving between the machines all the easier, without having to remember to export and import new or updated compiles.

Thank you. I owe you. Hope I can repay you in kind one day.

Have a perfect weekend.


Thank you, it was a pleasure and no reciprocation is necessary, but if it is needed it will be gratefully received.

I hadn’t tested it in terms of creating a new Compile Setting or modifying an existing one … that was the next step. I found while setting it all up that the iMac here in Exeter didn’t have Adobe Garamond Pro on it—the default font for all my projects except those I share with others, and for my presets—and also that one of my main projects on it was a much earlier version, so I needed to sort those problems out first.

Anyway, I’m really glad it’s working as you expected.

On the question of presets and Scrivener 3, I understand from hints that Keith has dropped, that the new styles system will be project specific—though it seems they won’t apparently be ‘cascading’, i.e. you won’t be able to define one style, say ‘body’ and then define ‘block quote’ and other paragraph styles in terms of that, so that if you change the font of ‘body’, the font of ‘block quote’, etc. will change accordingly. To me, having them cascading is no big deal, but being able to modify a style in a particular project and knowing that that will propagate right through the draft will be really great. I presume also that the implementation of styles will inevitably have a significant effect on the Compile set-up.

But we’ll just have to wait and see.



Looking forward to Scrivener III. I am confident that Keith will come up with robust and meaningful developments. Imagine it must be close to being released…perhaps in the footsteps of macOS Sierra in a month or so.

Do love tech changes. Something new to learn, absorb, and tweak.

Am also waiting for the new MacBook Pros. Mine dates from 2008. Much loved, but ready for graceful retirement.