I have a large project (novel) on my mac version of Scriviner. I have just purchased a bluetooth keyboard for my Ipad. I have also downloaded the Scriviner app for my Ipad. Now for the difficult bit - I have been pulling my hair out for over an hour trying to get my project to appear in an editable version on my Ipad. I have both versions linked with Dropbox and I can get a compiled version from the mac app to dropbox but I cannot get the ipad app to read the files. It says that it needs to be .scriv which I managed to do then when I tried to open the chapters on the ipad it says “The project cannot be opened because it does not contain a valid binder structure file” can somebody please help because there is very little help or tutorial matter on this that I have found anyway.

You don’t compile your project to sync it with Scrivener for iOS. You move your .scriv project file into dropbox, in the folder set aside for syncing with Scrivener for iOS.

Did you install the dropbox sync software on your Mac? It should have created a folder named “Dropbox” and put a shortcut to it in the Finder’s sidebar. If so, locate the iOS-sync folder you set up, and in another Finder window, locate your Scrivener project file. Quit Scrivener on your Mac if you haven’t already, then move the project file to the Dropbox folder that syncs with your iOS Scrivener setup (most likely Dropbox/Apps/Scrivener, unless you chose a different folder during setup on iOS Scrivener).

Many thanks for your reply - I just worked it out as you replied. something clicked when I read back my message and remembered that the backup files ended in .scriv so I tried transferring a duplicate and it worked. Phew!

One last question - once I edit the manuscript on my ipad what is the best procedure of syncing those edits with the mac version?

If you follow the instructions in the tutorial on Scrivener for Ios carefully (one of the last sections of the tutorial it titled “Syncing”), then I’d just edit the same copy.

To be clear; you must sync Scrivener for iOS (iOScriv from here on out) before you start editing anything using iOScriv.
Before you return to MacScriv to work on the project, you must first sync iOScriv.

Syncing on iOScriv is more “manual” than it is on Mac, so you have to perform some action to make it happen, but it will be clear when it’s syncing (the screen will display the progress of the sync, and you won’t be able to do anything on your iDevice until it’s done).

Clarify my thinking please. My understanding is that on the Mac, Scrivener writes to the (Dropbox) files frequently, so the project is “always” synched to Dropbox, and so I don’t need to do anything to have my iPad pick things up (other than open the project after being sure Dropbox is synched to the iPad).

IOW I need not close or press any Sync buttons on the Mac. Yes?

Well, mostly…

If you’ve added a lot of material to the Mac version of the project and/or if you have a slow (or temporarily disabled) internet connection, it can take some time for Dropbox to catch up with the current state of the project. In particular, it’s a good idea to make sure that Dropbox has finished synchronizing before you shut your computer down. (The Dropbox icon in the menu bar will indicate this.)

In the other direction, changes to the iOS version of the project are put in a special Mobile folder to facilitate conflict resolution. If Scrivener is open on the Mac at the time, it won’t automatically incorporate those changes. So you’ll want to use the Sync Mobile Changes command on the Mac after you’ve been using the iOS version. (Mac Scrivener does this automatically when you open a project; you only need to do it if you left Mac Scrivener running while using the iOS device.)


Scrivener writes evry 10-15 seconds to the folder in your Dropbox folder (depending on your settings and how often you stop writing for a few seconds), but you need to let the Droppbox app sync with the Dropbox server, which requires an internet connection. When that works, yes, the Mac syncs in the background.

On the iPad you need to sync manually. Either by taping ‘Sync now’ when you start iOS Scriv and the app ask you, or when you see the blue symbol on a project in the project view. The iPad has no automatic background syncing. You have to tell Scrivener to do it.

(… unless you have set the ‘Sync on project close’ to active, which only require that you actively back out of the project)

Thanks … one more thing. (I feel like Columbo.)

What if I have Scrivener on two Macs? My normal mode has been to be sure I’ve exited one before using the other but I am only human as far as you know. So some info/advice when I use two Macs as well as at least one iOS device? Thanks!

I don’t think anything changes substantially; you just have to close your projects on one Mac (and allow for dropbox sync) before you can open them on another Mac. Obviously, even though Dropbox on the Mac is automatic, you must give a mac time to do the sync when you first log on/boot it before opening the synchronized projects.

Yiss. So closing is critical in that case, OK … thanks

Yes, closing is critical.

And as rdale mentioned in an earlier post, before you open the project on some other device, you need be sure that other device has completed dropbox syncing.

So -

Device A

  1. You Close project
  2. Dropbox sync is complete

Device B
3) Dropbox sync is complete
4) You Open project

People only get into trouble if they don’t follow the above.

It doesn’t matter how many Device B’s there are. The process is the same.

Thanks, I shall try to become even more paranoid. :slight_smile:

Mac-to-Mac is slightly different from Mac-to-iOS in one important respect.

I mentioned above that the iOS version puts its changes in an internal Mobile folder which is then reconciled with the main contents of the project. The Mac version does not: anything it changes goes straight to the “canonical” version of the file in question.

This means that the Mac version can more easily create a conflict, and if it does, the conflict will be more difficult to resolve because it will be hidden inside the internal structure of the project.

I would say that best practice, regardless of device, is to always close Scrivener and sync Dropbox before you step away or switch to another device, and always make sure Dropbox has finished synchronizing before you open the project on a device.


yes, seems so. does it still know another machine has it open? that saved me a time or two pre-iOS.

Yes. For Mac-to-Mac sync, everything is as it was before the iOS version existed.