Snapshots no longer working as expected – user error, or something else?

Hello all,

I haven’t used Scrivener in-depth since late 2020, when I finally finished off my PHD. Life happened, but now happy to report I’m back at it, in lining up articles for publication.

Given the above absence, this might very well be user-error, so came here to check:
1.) I opened a half-completed piece of work from early 2021 – and located it in Finder.
2.) Closed the document in Scrivener.
3.) In Finder, duplicated that document, and renamed it to “ArticleName_2023”.
4.) Opened this document, with the plan to continue working on it now.
5.) All my past snapshots (as they were in the prior document) are still there.
6.) Made changes in a section today – took a snapshot.
7.) Snapshot is now visible at the bottom of the list, in the Inspector.
8.) When comparing today’s snapshot with any of the others (i.e. 2 selected, click on “compare”) – the bottom half of the inspector – where the text with changes is usually displayed, is blank.
8a.) Same happens when I compare any of the prior snapshots – from the original document.


This is not supposed to be the case, correct?
Has the error been introduced by my duplicating the project? As in, presumably, somewhere meta-data wasn’t pulled in to allow the snapshots to display properly?
If so – what would the best practice be to remedy this?

Many thanks for all/any suggestions!


Further to the above, just tried comparing my snapshots on the “prior” document, and same things happens. No text shows when comparing snapshots with one another, in the bottom-half of the inspector.

Good grief.

I did a search for “Snapshots” before posting – and could swear this wasn’t one of the options that came up. Ditto the “see other topics” when compiling the initial thread.

Apologies – glad it is not just me, here’s wishing the team good luck on the fix. Finger’s crossed – the Snapshot feature is one of the main drawing cards for Scrivener (for me at least)!

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I am so glad you posted this. I am a new user and have been trying to make this feature work. This is an extremely important part of any professional writing package. The lack of screen shots and errors in the tutorial make it difficult enough to master. When I found one of the first references was Scrivener>Preferences instead of the actual Scrivener>Settings, I knew learning this from the tutorial could be time consuming.
It appears there have been no changes to this software for a couple of years, so it is doubtful there are any permanent developers on staff. I hope it is fixed, but for now I think I may need to abandon this package. A shame, Scrivener really has good potential.

Really? Can you be more specific what pages you see as flawed.

Perhaps a flawed assumption.

Apple changed their mind about what preferences should be called, after two decades of calling them Preferences. Why? Who knows, they are these days the epitome of changing things just because. The fact that Snapshots broke is on account of another one of Apple’s whimsical changes in fact.

You’re going to have to be understanding about that, and realise that twenty years of documentation, tutorials, videos, FAQs, social media discussions, forum answers and such do not immediately vanish overnight upon Apple’s whim. You are going to have to mentally equate the word “Preferences” with “Settings”, and transpose them as needed.

If you’re new to a Mac, that might seem weird, but think of it like back when Microsoft had a similar corporate aneurysm and made Settings (or whatever they call it) instead of Control Panel. Remember how it took a while for all of the manuals and web pages and guides to sort themselves out?

I still have not updated the user manual, and that’s on purpose. Bear in mind we support macOS 10.12, 10.13, 10.14, 10.15, 11, 12 and 13. The only numeral in there that speaks of preferences as settings is the very last one. Even though the majority use the last three versions, most of those will still see “Preferences” in their user interface, not “Settings”. So for now I’ve settled on a warning in the introduction of the manual.

It appears there have been no changes to this software for a couple of years, so it is doubtful there are any permanent developers on staff.

You must not have read the most recent posts in the linked thread above. Had you, you would have found this official update, which indicates a live version out there right now that has this fixed, with an official update to the main version coming as well.

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Settings/Preferences was just a simple example at the beginning of the tutorial.
The biggest problem with the tutorial is the lack of screenshots. Scrivener appears to have the ability to smoothly integrate illustrations and pictures. It seems easy with this software to include a few screenshots. Seeing the entries would avoid confusion. When there is only text to rely on, accuracy is even more important, at least to a beginner like me. If it is not accurate or updated, a simple note on the download would be a nice way to alert the audience. I did not see the note in the manual, I was still on the tutorial.
When I checked the download area for the latest paid version, I found the same version I am already running. I did not search for newer versions of unofficial releases. Scrivener may have solid beta versions available prior to an official release, but official is generally safer for a beginner. The latest official release was date October of 2021. When the length of time between updates is that great it is logical to assume there is no onsite development. There is nothing wrong with using coding services from outside companies. But that can mean problems are accumulated prior to a fix, and released all at once. Scrivener very well could have staff coders, but that amount of time for any updates seems like a lot.
Small issues can add up. I was trying to learn your product as a neophyte on an unfamiliar platform. It seems to be a well designed product, but to find a major software issue during the tutorial was a bit disheartening. The tutorial is not well done for beginners, and pictures can avoid a lot of issues, even when the text is out of date. Your product is inventive and is a welcome change to the corporate alternatives. But you really need some screen shots.
The tutorial is not the product, but it can make it more valuable for some.
I totally understand your issues with the two arrogant MS and Apple companies causing issues with version changes, I’ve been there. MS is particularly unbelievable. I’m not looking for a fight, just trying to let you know the issues a new user could run into. It is good you proceed slowly with most changes. Thanks for your attention.

The biggest problem with the tutorial is the lack of screenshots.

That is your opinion, which is fine, but we don’t fully agree. Personally I find screenshots an impediment for how I learn things. They can be extremely valuable in the right scenario, but if they are spammed then I usually find another page to learn from. All I want to do is read the instructions.

If you are more of a visual learner though, you might find that our video tutorials are more your cup of tea. We create multiple forms of training materials because we know not everyone will like all of them.

If it is not accurate or updated, a simple note on the download would be a nice way to alert the audience.

Well, I think it is better to just make sure it is accurate, which we do try to do, rather than having a note in the software that says the tutorial is inaccurate. Maybe I don’t understand.

But about that, you’ve mentioned inaccuracies multiple times now, and I know we’ve fixed a few minor things (super minor, like “click the yellow pencil” when it is a monochrome icon now) for the next update, but if you have widespread inaccuracies to report, now is the time—and it would be much appreciated.

When I checked the download area for the latest paid version, I found the same version I am already running. I did not search for newer versions of unofficial releases.

I was referring to how there is a link to the main discussion thread for the snapshot issue, above where you posted—and that at the end of that thread is an update on development. I wasn’t suggesting that you should have searched high and low for betas and use them.

The tutorial is not well done for beginners, and pictures can avoid a lot of issues, even when the text is out of date.

Again, that’s you’re opinion. We have piles of feedback that says the opposite, frankly. Very few people have written in to complain about the tutorial, while many have written in purely to say how well it worked for them. I don’t know what your level of experience is with how feedback tends to work, but generally it is overwhelmingly negative even when there isn’t a problem—most people do not create an account or write to a company if they are happy. So when your feedback is balanced or mostly positive, you’re probably doing something right.

Again your opinion is valid, and not every approach to training is everyone’s cup of tea—the old, we’re never going to please everyone bit—and I thank you for that feedback, but I think we’re doing okay.

And again for how I work, all of the tutorials I appreciate look a whole lot more like Scrivener’s than what you’re describing. Long, detailed articles with 99% text and a few screenshots where there is some really tricky thing to describe. That’s how my brain works, I don’t want a picture of what was just spoken of, it is distracting and merely makes scrolling more tedious and necessary. The only major thing I would change about the tutorial if I was writing it myself is that I would make it more interactive. It does more explaining and less walking you through things than I personally prefer. I like to play, that’s how I learn.

I’m not looking for fight either, sorry if it came off that way. Something to know off the top is that we’re a very small company. There is no “staff of coders”, as you put. I don’t disagree with your assessment though, and it is something we’re looking to change with more frequent update cycles that have fewer fixes. But on that something to know is that the Mac version is quite stable at this point and has been for years. The snapshot thing is really one of the few major issues we’ve seen in a while (a few rare bugs with styles too, which are also fixed).

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I probably came on a little to strong about the tutorial, it was probably a reflex action on my part. It is not the most important part of your work. I spent many years in development and probably was a little too adamant at times in forcing developers to do documentation. Some contractors really threw a fit when they found they contractually would not get paid until they produced detailed documentation. I had a long time employee who was like a bloodhound finding inaccuracies. When the project was done we would sit a new user down and see if they could learn how to use the product on their own.

You’re right. Different methods to learning. But screenshots were what we found helped a lot of users navigate, and pictures allowed them to see minor changes in the screen such as settings/preference before the text was corrected. Kind of like an old map that is useful even if the landmarks themselves have changed. Maybe you and I are at an impasse on that one.
Sure, we all have personal preferences, mine, for example, does not include video. Much too slow and difficult to modify without redoing. There are certainly other resources out there as you wrote. I will give Scrivener another try, mostly due to your excellent attention in this forum. On an unrelated note, once I am comfortable with the product I would like to see if I can get it to run it on Wine under Linux. Before that I had better learn how to use it properly.

I have no gripes about the software product or how you administer it, just the tutorial. As you wrote, you are a small company, so I really appreciate your time in answering. Please, mark this resolved.


Maybe my approach is a better match for you:

chapters, headings, and all that

a synopsis/epigraph report

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You are gifted sir.
Impressive guide. It is a better match indeed. I am on the way now.
Well done.

Here is a lot more:

a guide to Scrivener

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Yes, I was looking through your whole site.
Your writing also looks interesting. I enjoy stories with strong women leads (fems kicking as you say).