Simple question about saving my work without closing program

Hi there, I’ve been using Scrivener for a while and there’s one thing that has been bugging me so I thought I’d pop in and ask for advice.

When I use Scrivener 3 on my PC, is there a way to save my work (to dropbox) other than closing the program down so it syncs?

I’ve searched and can only find info on syncing issues, which is not my problem. I thought there might be a button somewhere that I’ve missed that will do a sync at any time without me having to shut the whole thing down and then open it again.

If your project is stored in the dropbox folder on your computer, then Scrivener automatically saves the changes you are making when you aren’t actively using it for 2 seconds. Dropbox then syncs those changes up to their servers a second or two after that.

There’s a lock file that Scrivener deletes, and maybe some cleanup that happens when you close a project. The lock file is there so if you have it open on one computer and move to another one and try to open the synced project there, it knows to warn you to close it on the first machine before you proceed. That deletion and any last-minute cleanup is what syncs when you close the project, but the actual work you’re doing in Scrivener is saved as you go. By default, new backup copies of your project are created when you close too, but those are there in case you need to recover from a mistake or some other problem.


There is File>Back up>Back up Now does that without closing project, but you do autosave every two seconds. I sync to dropbox which works great when I work from the beach in the summer on my laptop.

Backup isn’t ‘saving’.

A simple ctrl-S will save the project without closing, or leave the default 2 second autosave and just take a (really) deep breath every now and then. If you have Dropbox correctly configured it will sync immediately

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Back Up Now creates a separate backup copy, which we try to distinguish from a “save”, which is an in-place committing of your work to your computer’s drive. Backup copies require you to abandon your current copy if you’re going to use that backup as your new working copy, or it requires you to have both open and figure out what is different between the two versions and drag or copy & paste new/changed text from one to the other.

If you’re not sure the auto-save is fast enough to catch you in a momentary pause, look at the title bar. On the Windows version, if you add a single character to a document, synopsis, or title, etc… then (if I recall correctly) an asterisk will appear somewhere in the title bar. On Macs, the red “close” button on the window title bar gains a smaller black dot at its center when there are unsaved changes.

While you’re doing actual work, look for that asterisk/dot when you are wanting to save. You’ll probably find that you don’t need to bother hitting CTRL-s, as that switch from composing words to thinking about the need to save probably lasts about 2 seconds. I’ve never seen anyone in a writing group (such as a NaNoWriMo gathering) who could sustain typing for more than 5 minutes without a momentary pause searching for the right word, or to take a sip of their drink, and in those pauses Scrivener has time to save anything you’ve done since the last time it saved, so unless you’re exceptionally fast and constant in your typing, and never get distracted by another app/website/real world situation, you really don’t need to worry about telling Scrivener to save the last few words you added/edited.


Thanks everyone. I didn’t know there was a 2 second auto-save. Very reassuring! And also that I can ctrl-save as well if I need to.