Simulataneous updates

I am using Scrivener on both a brand new iMac and Macbook Pro to write a book. Is there a way that I can save my updates on the iMac so that they automatically appear in Scrivener on the Macbook Pro? TIA John

The easiest way is to use Dropbox ( - save your project in the Dropbox folder so that you can access the project on both machines. Be sure to follow the three rules laid out in this post, though, to be safe from syncing issues:

All the best,


Thanks for the helpful reply. I want clarification on one issue. When you state, “storing your .scriv file in your Dropbox folder”, are you referring to the actual Scrivener app I am using to write? In my case, Its currently in my dock. Are you suggesting thats what belongs in my Dropbox folder? And that I should still be using autosave to save backups of Scrivener work someplace else on my hard drive? Thanks, John.

The Scrivener application (the program, if you prefer that term) normally lives in the Applications folder on your hard drive, and will appear in the dock when it is running. It should be called “” – applications normally have a file extension (typically three or four letters after a dot) of “.app”. Other common file extensions are “.doc” for a MS Word file, “.txt” for a plain text file, and so forth. A project that has been created by Scrivener will have a file extension of “.scriv” – so the whole file name will be something like “Mynovel.scriv”. Having said that, it is possible to set your preferences in the Finder to not show file extensions, so if you can’t see them, don’t worry. You certainly should not put your Scrivener application in your Dropbox folder. It’s really best for it to be in the Applications folder. And there wouldn’t be any sense in putting it in the Dropbox folder.

Cheers, Martin.

OK, so if the point is to store the .scriv file in Dropbox–I am confused. I thought the instructions were to autosave backups of the project somewhere else on my machine’s desktop (or hard drive). Aren’t the .scriv files the same files stored in backups?

It depends on how you have set things up in Preferences > Backup. In my case automatic backups are saved as .zip files (a compressed format that saves space) and they are saved in the folder Users/MyUserName/Library/Application Support/Scrivener/Backups. The Scrivener projects I actually work from (the ones that open when I launch the program) are in my Documents folder (I don’t use Dropbox for working from as I only have one computer that I work on regularly).

Backing up a little to clarify, Scrivener works with projects similarly to the way Word or Pages work with files–although you use the Scrivener application to open your project and work in it, the project itself is not stored “inside” the application but is a separate file (actually a folder of files, which appears as a single file in your Finder) on your computer, just like documents in Pages and Word exist outside the program and you just use the word processor to open them.

So when you install Scrivener, you install it to your Applications folder, like most other programs (“installing” on a Mac is basically just dragging the icon from the downloaded .dmg into the Application folder). When you open Scrivener and create a project, you choose a name and location for the project: this is the .scriv file, and like a Pages or Word file, you can store it wherever you like on your computer. Scrivener creates it and you start working in it, etc., and later you just use File > Open in Scrivener to access it again. (As a convenience, Scrivener defaults to automatically opening all projects that were open when you closed the program, so you may be skipping this and just launching Scrivener to find that your project is up and ready for you. You can also use the File > Recent Projects option to quickly access your most recent projects. These are just handy links to your projects–the projects themselves are still stored wherever you originally saved them, and Scrivener’s just following the link to open the project for you.)

So in the case of using Dropbox to keep your projects in sync across multiple computers, you’d want to create your projects and choose your Dropbox folder as the location to save them (or another folder inside that, if say you made a “Scrivener Projects” folder"–anything inside the main Dropbox folder on your computer will get synced unless you make changes in the advanced settings). If you’ve already created your project and saved it somewhere else (Scrivener defaults to saving it in your Documents folder), you can just close the project in Scrivener and then use the Finder to drag the .scriv file from there to your Dropbox folder. (This will break the link for the Recent Projects menu and for Scrivener auto-loading the project, so you’ll need to double-click the .scriv file to open it again in Scrivener or use File > Open in Scrivener to go find it in your Dropbox and open it.) Since a .scriv file is really multiple files and folders just bundled together to look like a single file to you, it may take a while for Dropbox to sync a project when you first move it into the Dropbox folder, so just keep an eye on the Dropbox icon to make sure you let it finish syncing before you close down your computer or try to open the project on your other computer.

Finally, back ups of your project are just copies of the .scriv file, but by default the automatic backups are zipped, as Martin was saying, so you won’t actually see the “.scriv” extension in the file name unless you double-click the .zip file to extract the contents. In any case, these are by default going to a Backups folder Scrivener created in your user Library folder–out of the way, but accessible if you need them. These aren’t the ones you want to move to Dropbox; it’s better to keep each machine with its own local copies so that if you do run into a sync glitch at any point, you’ll have a good backup on one of the machines that you can easily restore from.

OK, now I understand. Thanks much to both of you for taking the time to explain this so clearly. I appreciate it. Best, John.