Synchronization in Scrivener?

Hey there…

I was just wondering if there is/will be a synchronization feature in the Scrivener for Windows version? Currently my co-author and I, who live in separate states, use MS Onenote and MS groove to synchronize files and folders on our computers. Onenote works pretty well to synch raw text but it isn’t a writing program. I’m wondering if Schivener is made for these types of synchs, and if not is there a place to request something like this? I’m really looking forward to finally trying this program. I’ve heard so much about it. :slight_smile:

Thanks so much!


There is a big difference between synchronisation and real-time multi-author editing! In OneNote two people can have the same notebook open and see each other’s edits popping shortly after the make them. This type of editing will not even be possible in 2.0 for Mac. It support synchronisation, which is taking two sources of data and, well, synchronising them :slight_smile: as an intentional act, and with emphasis on the “more than one data source”. So with that clarification out of the way: no there won’t be anything like OneNote in either versions of Scrivener for some time if ever. That’s a pretty complicated thing to pull off well. The plan is to eventually get Scrivener for Windows up to 2.0 and beyond, but for now expect from it what you have with Scrivener 1.54—nothing to sneeze at all in itself.

In other words, that shouldn’t be taken as all doom and gloom. A lot of Mac authors have been collaborating with Scrivener 1.x’s feature set for years now. It might not be as fancy a solution as 2.0, but it’s not impossible.

One solution might be to use Dropbox. Basically, you and your writing partner install Dropbox on your machines and create a shared folder, then anything you save into the folder is automatically copied onto your friend’s machine and vice versa.

I don’t know exactly how Scrivener saves its working files (come on, the 25th!) but I imagine you would be able to save into a Dropbox folder from it.

Of course this wouldn’t let you both work on the file at the same time and combine your results, (you’d have to complete your work and save before your partner could safely load the file and work on it) but it’s probably the quickest and simplest way to work collaboratively that I’ve found.

Heh heh, no sooner do I write that reply than I read this thread, recommending that you don’t use Dropbox with Scrivener. So ignore everything I said. :smiley:

If it’s the thread I think it is, it doesn’t say “Don’t use DropBox with Scrivener”, it says “Don’t store your live project in DropBox (or any other cloud service); put zipped back-ups in DropBox, etc. to share them with
other machines.”
Many of us have suffered some degree of corruption of the package resulting from putting the live project in DropBox. Mind you, how the Windows version will work, you’ll all find out, but I think you should still note the caveats and suggestions.

You’re right, it does say that, now I’ve had a proper read through it.

So making a zipped backup in Scrivener sounds like it’s as easy as doing a Save As… Can you import from the backups via Scrivener as well, or do you just unzip over the top of your existing files before loading Scrivener?

The Windows format (and access mechanisms, i.e. aggressive auto-save and all that) will be identical to the Mac 2.0 format for compatibility purposes, so nothing will be different with that advisory on the Windows platform.

Easiest way to do this is to drag the zip file out of the Dropbox folder area, double-click it, then double-click the resulting project file to open it in Scrivener. When done, backup back to the Dropbox folder as a zip. As for how you handle the copies that get produced from this workflow, that is up to you. Personally I just trash the older project before decompressing the newer one to reduce confusion. That way there is only ever one working copy on my system. The backups are all zip files scattered around the globe.

I’m a little confused. I’ve tried researching this in the forums but the threads seem to be a little mixed up in discussions about synchronization/dropbox and either Windows or Mac versions.

a. I simply want to know, after purchasing Scrivener for Windows, should I see the synchronization items in the menus that I see in the Mac video tutorials?

b. Is there some place that gives a Windows tutorial for working with Dropbox such that I can then work on files on my iPad? (I’m not interested in multi author issues) :smiley:

I’ve found several 6 page discussion threads (mostly on the Mac forum) that talk around the topic, but nothing seems to answer those questions.

This thread came close…

But I would prefer to work with Simplenote or Index Card for iPad rather than docs to go, and that other thread was vague on whether docs to go actually enabled editing?

First impressions - I suspect sync is not a Windows feature, but can’t find anything definitive. I also suspect there is some backup or export process to a zip file in dropbox that then can be used in some ipad app, but can’t find anything with details of a successful process.

Point me in the right direction, and I’d be happy to make a screen cast for future users.

No, what you see in the trial is what you get; wouldn’t be a very good one otherwise :slight_smile: When you buy the software the serial number does is disable the countdown timer. So choose to buy based on what you see.

For working with your iPad, I recommend the tried and true methods of yore. Export files to Dropbox with File/Export/Files... and edit away at your leisure. When you get back home, check your files by modification date in Windows, and copy and paste the contents of the changed items back into Scrivener. When you head out again, export another batch of files. It’s not quite as convenient but it works just as well. Don’t worry, we’ll get the nice stuff coded for you in time, but I’m just saying: you do have options.

Simplenote: did they ever roll out features for hooking it up with Dropbox? I think so, but perhaps you need a premium account to do that. Could be an option if you really prefer that service.

I’ve tried this (fumbling my way through the potential ways of ‘File/Export/Files’) but no luck. Sounds nice in concept but what are the actual steps? Does anyone know?

I’m not trying to monopolize AmberV’s generosity in pointing out that it should be possible. usually knowing that something is or isn’t possible is half the battle, but I can’t get past the point of knowing that is possible and actually making it happen!

Which part isn’t working for you? Maybe it would be easier if you listed the steps you are taking.

I’m completely lost as I attempt random methods and configurations but will try to list some. I’m working with no guidance that I can find anywhere on the site, in the software nor on the app sites.

Have you gone over the relevant chapter in the Final Phases part of the user manual PDF? I’m not sure what could be wrong, perhaps there is a bug. It’s a really basic process. You select some stuff in the binder, you export said stuff to plain-text files, that’s it.

yes, plus watched all the video tutorials,searched these forums and much more.

This actually helps me understand the problem (not the solution) in a more clear light.

Those instructions are like teaching someone to drive by telling them to get in a car, turn a key, press the gas, turn the steering wheel when something gets in the way.

All good if you have driven a car before, but in this case, I’ve never driven scrivener through an export import before and their ‘simplicity’ might better be described as (trying to be nice and hold back my frustration) minimalistic at best, especially in contrast to the other materials provided for this extra complex topic in the Mac version.

hrrmmmm I found a way to get files from IndexCard -> Scrivener, it comes in in a very ugly format and I have to redo the synopsis and notes formatting entirely, but the writing is the important part I guess.

Getting anything useful out of Scrivener and onto the ipad itself seems to be the biggest problem.

I can send individual text files, which is not terribly useful due to Scrivener’s way of breaking every little thing into its own file, so any given index card in scrivener has at least 2 files associated with it maybe more and when dealing with folders or chapters it gets real ugly.

I did find an extremely ugly (good for large one offs) way of getting something out of scrivener and ultimately into iThoughtsHD (haven’t tested the back again, but I think that is possible)

It ultimately requires using the Compile (export was a non starter) option under File and then choosing the enumerated outline format, although that is a misnomer, as it doesn’t actually compile in a true outline format, just pretty’s up the text with fancy fonts and custom indents as opposed to using actual outline levels. To fix this formatting, I saved the compile file into .docx (.doc does not work at all).

I then opened it up in word on my pc, copied everything, pasted it into excel, where I deleted all blank lines, and cut lines that were supposed to be sub levels and pasted them one column over for each sub level.
Then I copied all of that cleaned up mess and pasted it into MindManager (I’m on version 9).
From there, I can save the file as a mindmap in dropbox and can open said mindmanager .mmap file in iThoughtsHD where I can do many things.

Once finished (yet to be tested) I can export this to an app>opml file format>dropbox app

After Testing…
Doh! :frowning: No luck, I could import the .ompl file but could not parse it at all, just shows it as if some unknown file type has been attached

alternate strategies
I tried saving the ithoughtsHD map to dropbox and then opening it up in MindManager hoping for an option to then create something that could be imported by scrivener

I tried the save as web pages in MM and import as html via scrivener, no go (MM does save html in odd structures could possibly clean it up in dreamweaver pre import but didn’t want to bother)

I then exported the mindmanager file to Word and imported the word (again .docx only) into scrivener.

You don’t get any nice formatting, but you do get it in. Its something :mrgreen: