Trying to use Scrivener in a truly multi-platform way

So, I have a PC desktop, a MacBook Air (both running Scrivener 1 & 2, respectively) and an Android phone. Don’t ask. I’m trying to work on my book on all platforms. When I work on my Android, I use OfficeSuite, which can handle RTF files. Now, if I didn’t use the Android phone, there wouldn’t be any wonkiness. I’d simply use Dropbox as the location to store my project. But using Android introduces a problem, since there isn’t an Android app, and RTF files aren’t named after the original titles, but are given numbers.

Enter External Folder Sync. Same file names, different folder. So far so good: you just have to be sure to sync when you spin up Scrivener. However, there are multiple warnings that I’ve read on here to NOT use external folder sync as a way to work between computers, so that method is out.

So I’m thinking of editing the files directly in the project folder when using the Android phone, and keeping a list mapping the numbers given to the file names to the actual names of text section when working in Scrivener. I guess this is okay, right?

The larger feedback, though, is that Scrivener really needs to up its multiplatform game, simplifying it for one thing and making it more accessible.


The thread below from 2017 discussed L&L’s plans for Android. I haven’t seen any updates since then. My unauthorized uneducated unofficial guess is that an Android version is at least a couple years away.

[url]Scrivener for android]

My understanding from L&L is that editing the .rtf files directly using some non-Scrivener app runs the risk of corrupting the files, so do it at your own risk and be sure to backup prior to edits.


You may be reading too much into the warnings, if I understand you correctly. This is not a way of syncing two computers together, but rather your phone and your computer. You can absolutely have another computer in the mix if you want—just practice a policy of only syncing from one of the machines (since path names will be different given Mac/Win differences), and thus leaving the auto-sync option disabled.

Think of it this way, in theory both of your computers should be using the same exact project, however you achieve that result, be it a thumb drive or OneDrive. So you don’t really need to “sync” those with another tool, and from the perspective of this identical project, the external sync folder is safe to use.

Whatever the case, I would explore making this feature work, rather than trying to hack the file format yourself directly with third-party editors. Even I wouldn’t do that with the RTF files, and I’m comfortable editing the XML files myself in the coding editor. RTF is something else though—just think of the pages and pages of garbage most word processors jam into the file that Scrivener doesn’t want or need. Think of how they might strip out RTF features they don’t understand, or damage in-house formatting we use to provide features RTF doesn’t. There are also things meta to the files like keeping the search index synchronised with the content on the disk, that no word processor is going to do for you.

It’s just a bad idea unless you are approaching this from the designed intent: you lost Scrivener and are recovering your data from the project folder. That’s why it is an open and transparent format.

We might be talking about two different things (which just shows how overly complicated Scrivener makes everything). If you’re simply using dropbox to sync computers with your project files, then yes, the concerns around that are overblown as long as you’re being careful, BUT if you want to add an Android phone into the mix, the External Folder Sync functionality (different than simply using Dropbox as a place for the project file) has been recommended around the Web as a way to edit files using a 3rd party editor, but you run into trouble if you’re using more than one computer for External Folder Sync. That will cause Scrivener to throw up a message about file corruption if you try to point the External Folder Functionality to an existing folder that you’re using for it. The whole thing is just frankly a mess.

Yes, that is correct. The External Folder functionality is not intended to be used to share a project between multiple computers. The recommended process would be to use Dropbox or a similar service to sync between devices that support Scrivener, and then designate one of those devices (probably the one you use most often) as the origin for an external folder to sync with Android.