sync with dropbox and index card

I am relatively new to scrivener. I write on my Mac and my iPad so I need to be able to sync my work between the two. What I have discovered is that the sync between dropbox where I use Textilus on my iPad and with index card on my iPad is at best clunky and at its worst … maddening to the point that I am about to switch to Storyist.

I at least two instance I have had all of my cards on Index Card deleted and lost what i wrote in my draft folder when I synced with Dropbox. What I have noticed is that it does not seem possible to sync to dropbox and index card in succession - one overwrites the other.

The fact that Scrivener has not iPad version after three years of promises is not acceptable and as far as I am concerned it make the application unusable for my purposes. :cry:

What procedure have you been using to sync? I ask because it sounds like you might be thinking this is automatically networked live-sync or something, but in fact it’s a matter of importing and exporting a transfer file, and using the networked live-sync thing (Dropbox) to handle the networking between your device and the computer. It should be a fairly fault-free process since there isn’t any network voodoo going on.

So if you aren’t tapping the export button in Index Card and saving an .indexcard file, overwriting the old one, then Scrivener on your computer won’t be using the new data at all, but the earlier file you made before you left home.

Thank you but this is exactly the procedure I am following. And it is not working correctly.

Since this uses a file you can read the state of at any given moment, can you describe at which point the .indexcard file isn’t up to date? You can load it in a plain-text editor like TextWrangler and just do a simple comparison by testing the sync procedure at each step, and monitoring the state of the file and the results you get with the various software when loading it. I’d do something easy like changing the name of an item so you can search for it in TextWranger and make sure the change happened when it should.

  1. Create a simple test project with a couple of test items. Set them up for Index Card sync and create the .indexcard file with the sync tool.
  2. Load this file in your text editor. You should see the two items you added to the sync file.
  3. Drop the file into Dropbox or iTunes, either works.
  4. Import into Index Card, and change the name of one of the items.
  5. Export from Index Card, choosing to overwrite the existing .indexcard file.
  6. On your computer again, make sure Dropbox has synced the file and then check it again in a text editor. Do you see the filename changed? If so, try importing it into Scrivener using the sync tool. Does the name of the item change in Scrivener as well?

Thank you very much for hanging in there and trying to explain the process to me. I went back, deleted everything on the project in question and started over on Dropbox, Index Card on iPad and my MacBook. I was able to set up Scrivener to sync with Textilus on the iPad through Dropbox and I got the Index Card sync to work with Scrivener. I think the issue was the timing of the sync with Textilus and Index Card and to remember to do both each time I leave an application. That is also just too cumbersome.

I write a lot on my iPad and the process of having to sync manually each time I open or close an application is simply too distracting in the writing process. I have not made up my mind, but the lack of an iPad application with Scrivener is a deal breaker. I am looking at other options. Since it looks like everyone on this forum is in love with Scrivener, I don’t expect any alternative suggestions.

Again, thank you for taking the time to respond to my original post.


If you look at the Literature and Latte website, you will find it lists other alternatives, since Keith has said many times on the forums that Scrivener is not expected to suit everyone. Furthermore, while it is true that the people who frequent these fora do so because they use and like or love Scrivener. And if you look in the "Software by Other Folk” forum


you will find, for instance, that there are threads discussing the merits of alternative software like Ulysses III.

As for an iPad app, again it seems that most people would rather Lit&Lat came up with a quality app that works seamlessly with the desktop app and accept the time that that takes, rather than a half-working kludge to satisfy those of an “I want it now” philosophy. But each to his/her own.

A 3 year wait?

I think Keith, the mastermind of Scrivener, has stated that the Scrivener iPad app will be launched this year (and elsewhere he’s explained that the timetable for the iPad app fell behind when the original developer he’d tasked with the job suffered illness in her family - such things happen when you don’t have the large teams of MS, Apple or Adobe at your command).

Three years, that’s about how long my Alphasmart batteries last.

He said that last year too. After the change of developer, which was unfortunate, it was said that the iOS version should be ready for NaNoWriMo 2013. It wasn’t.

I wouldn’t use the likes of MS and Adobe as comparison for good software quality. Their products are often later to market and certainly more bug-ridden than anything from Literature and Latte despite the latter’s limited development team. It’s the wait for the iOS version of Scriviner that is the rub here.

I am weary of arrogant and condescending apologists for Literature and Latte making excuses for the delay in an iPad app - like the dude who put me in the category of those “who want it now” like there is something wrong with being frustrated when an app promised three years ago is still not available. Believe me I have great sympathy for projects that are delayed because of illness and other personal difficulties - I lost a spouse 12 years ago, so I know first hand what setbacks are like.

In a past life, my role was to bring to light what organizations needed to hear not what they wanted to hear. The technology trend is strongly toward tablet options that are highly portable and provide the same functionality as desktop and laptop options, and not having an app for iPad - like immediately - is going to be a significant competitive disadvantage for Literature and Latte and to think otherwise is a failure to read the tea leaves.

I think an iPad app would be neat. But, to be honest when I write in Scrivener, I want space and lots of it. Multiple screens - even better. I prefer writing something more complex on my iMac vs my Mac Book Air because of the extra screen real-estate(I am over 40 now, so this may have a role to play). Writing on an iPad (mini) feels restrictive - this is fine when I am getting the first draft out without having any research materials to reference. But, how does a split screen even work on on iPad ?

For me, the greatest difficulty in developing an iPad app is not the sync (of course I am not a developer - so I have no real clue about this) but dealing with the physical limitations of a single small screen. I use Ulysses and Dadelus touch if I want mac to ios syncing. They are both gorgeous apps, but they have not conquered this problem. If Keith can come up with a truly innovative solution for escaping the physical bounds of the ipad screen - I am willing to wait.

Fair enough. I appreciate the lightness of my iPad Air - I also would struggle with a mini. For me the most important feature is to be able to write and not have to spend time struggling with technology across platforms. I once again had to spend another hour getting index card to sync with a new project. I am 64 years old and frankly do not have ANY time to spend on things that don’t add value. Hold the tip of your index finger about 1 cm from the tip of your thumb on your dominant hand. That’s how close I am to finding an alternative to Scrivener.

MacBook Air FTW.

I’m actually somewhat serious about that. Not significantly heavier than an iPad+Bluetooth keyboard, but runs full-fledged Scrivener (and anything else you can name) right this minute.

I have and love an iPad, but I still want to chop my own hands off whenever I try to write more than about a paragraph on it. Quick notetaking, sure, but there are plenty of ways to get notes from an iPad to a Scrivener project without needing or wanting Scrivener for iPad ™.


PS No, this is not the official position of Literature & Latte.


Please promise that you will not chop off your hands! Seriously, I hear you and for the record, a MacBook Air is on my wish list. I just upgraded the RAM on my early 2011 13" MacBook Pro from 4G to 16G so I’d like to wring as much productivity out of it as I can. I do travel a lot and so far have found the iPad (1/5 the weight of the MacBook) to work OK. However, there are other limitations to it and a MacBook Air would make my lamentations moot. It is what it is right now - but I sometimes want to stick a ball point pen through my head when I have to go through between 5-8 steps to sync everything on scrivener with my iPad.


If you want to engage here, please be polite. As my Grandma used to say - courtesy costs nothing.

Point well taken. My frustration was showing. Please accept my apology.