Sync w/External Folder Losing Settings

First, I don’t collaborate with any other writers. So my first question would be do I really need to use the Sync with External Folder feature? I already keep the Scriv files on Dropbox in one folder and the backup ZIPs in another Dropbox folder.

Anyway… I have two Macs running Scrivener, one a MacBook Pro and the other a MacBook Air, which I just installed Scrivener on yesterday, and that is when the trouble started. When I set the Sync with External Folder for every project in Scrivener, those Drafts and Notes and Trash folders all save to another Dropbox folder I’ve named “Scrivener RTF Files.” The syncs were working just fine until I introduced the MacBook Air into the equation. I loaded up all the projects and set backup and Sync with External Folder locations. Then I ran a sync on every project.

Then I got back on my MacBook Pro. Every project lost its Sync with External Folder settings. So I set them all back up, and sure enough, back on the MacBook Air, all sync settings were lost. To make sure each project wasn’t losing the settings on their own, I filled everything back in, closed the project and reopened it. All was fine. So I went back to the other machine, and sure enough, it lost the settings.

Is this by design, is this a known issue, or am I doing something wrong?

Thank you,


I am not sure what is causing the settings problem you are having, but the good news is: if you are running Scrivener on both macs, you do not need to use Sync With External Folder at all. Turn that stuff off. There is a better way.

With the latest version of Scrivener for Mac (2.8), using Scrivener across two macs is as simple as, in the Finder, moving your .scriv project into a Dropbox folder!

Make sure the project you are interested in is not open on either Mac. If your actual project file (.scriv) is not already living in a Dropbox folder, go to the Mac on which the .scriv file lives and in Finder move it into a suitable Dropbox folder. Let Dropbox finish syncing it to the server.

Now, on either machine, let Dropbox finish syncing if necessary. Double click on the project in your dropbox folder in the Finder. And you are up and wokring.

You just have to keep these important tips in mind:

  1. never open the project on more then one mac at the same time.
  2. always close the project before you quit scriv or otherwise stop working.
  3. always let Dropbox finish syncing any changes you’ve made before sleeping your mac.


Thank you for your kind and informative reply.

Aside from the two Macs, I have two iPads and an iPhone that I just installed Scrivener IOS on. I now keep all my .Scriv files in Dropbox/Apps/Scrivener. So given all that, I wouldn’t ever need to edit RTF or flat text files on a device that had Scrivener on it. So am I correct in concluding I would only need to sync such files if and only if I worked with a collaborator who didn’t have Scrivener?

Thank you again for setting me on the right track.


Sounds right to me!*


  • As I understand it, Sync to External Folder was introduced into Scrivener primarily to give people a way to work on their mobile devices. So, it served a function no longer needed for folks whose mobile devices run Scrivener for iOS. (That also means it was not designed particularly for enabling collaboration, but with the right cautions you can probably use it that way – and no doubt others have taken advantage of it that way (though not me).)