Use Scrivener for Windows on two computers

Hi friends. I’ve learned that the Sync feature doesn’t work on Windows. So, how do people use Scrivener on two computers? Can anyone point me to a link where that’s discussed, I haven’t been able to find something? I appreciate it, thank you.

The synchronisation features you heard of are not for keeping two projects connected, anyway. They are for people who like to work on the go with a mobile device. They basically just automate the import/export process that you can do by hand. They export select text content to files, which can then be placed on Dropbox and edited with a text editor on a smart phone or tablet. When you return home you can sync the changes back into the Binder.

To keep two computers on the same page, you don’t need anything special from Scrivener at all. Just put your project on Dropbox and let your changes sync automatically to the other computers using that account. Make sure to read this important document on using Dropbox safely. It is easy to get a project out of sync by shutting down computers too quickly, or inversely, loading Scrivener before the computer has had a chance to update itself. The guidelines in the article explain how to avoid this problem.

Okay, Amber so where might I find discussion on how to work around the sync capabilities that are missing. I work on Windows PCs and laptops in the main, but I’ve recently picked up an iPod Touch 5 which is always on my person and my household now has an iPad Retina and a Nook HD+ that I can use in a pinch sometimes. How would one structure a work flow with Scrivener that would allow me to at least edit or add to files in my Drafts while on the go with one of these more mobile devices?

I’ve been messing around with various things for awhile, even looking into using iCloud on PC just to get something that gives me an offline, local copy of a few simple TXT files and syncs back when I get home, but so far nothing does anything automatically, not Dropbox which is my go to for getting everything distributed around my PCs (and has been perfect for years), not this apparently useless iCloud thing, not Google Drive, nothing. I end up just taking notes in IA Writer or Drafts and then having to manually go in at home and do stuff with them. Notes aren’t anything like writing on a file that already has some of the “right” words in it, so I start feeling like I’ve wasted all my time even bothering (stupid iOS stuff for “dictating” doesn’t even work to make convenient voice notes, let alone doing good voice to text, so I’d probably be better off just buying a dumb digital recorder, assuming that was even useful, which it really isn’t).

Sorry to rant about nothing particular, but I was hoping that maybe the folk around here who seem generally more focus to telling stories and actually getting some writing done had figured some work arounds. I might be back to pen and paper if I can’t figure something useful out.

I’m not sure exactly what you are looking for. The basic idea of putting files on your device (be that with some kind of fancy “cloud” thing or just good old file transfer—which I realise Apple has made mysteriously nearly impossible to do for whatever reason on their phones), editing those files, and then copying them back off at the end of the day seems sound to me. That is basically what I do—I don’t myself use these cloud services for anything personal any more. I did for a while but I no longer see the merit in them when balanced against their lack of security (and the exceptions to that, like SpiderOak, don’t exactly raise the level of convenience far beyond just copying the files around yourself).

As mentioned before, exporting your Draft folder to .txt files and then copying and pasting the files with updated modification dates back into Scrivener later on works pretty good. That’s basically all the Mac is doing anyway, it just does the copy and paste for you at the end of the day.

P.S. There should be a “Voice Memo” program on your phone that doesn’t attempt to parse your voice and turn it into digital text. I have no idea if it is any good though.

Its not so good, Amber, but worse than that, voice notes take almost as much time to take as typing with my thumbs and are alot less useful on the other end. Sorry but I’ve got alot of issues about way too many aspects of this whole thing. My problems, not yours, but thanks anyway. For the record, there are so many apps out there that purport to record you’re voice for you that I’ve barely scrapped the top of what’s available (and all free ones at that, so I guess I get what I pay for on that count at least).

As for the rest, well, you obviously know how Dropbox works. If I’m using Scrivener or Writemonkey or heck if I’m using Word and Dropbox, as long as my laptop exists in a wifi environment for a few moments before I head out with it, its got a local copy of all the changes I just made on my desktop, and then when I get back into wifi, all the changes I made on my laptop show up locally on my desktop with no conscious effort on my part. The thing that’s killing me is that I can’t even get that functionality with simple TXT files using Dropbox or using apps that have built in Dropbox capabilities. Sure you can set files as favorites in the mobile Dropbox app but that’s just for viewing. You can’t open it in an editor and do anything with it, which is good, because it won’t sync back to your Dropbox account anyway. So it would seem that you wouldn’t even be able to do get Scrivener for Mac to work with its Sync to External Folder as you would only be able to read the files, not edit and sync back, right? (as an aside, even if you could, there is no way I’m dropping that massive coin for a Mini or Air just to buy into that tiny bit of functionality; that’s just crazy).

I guess I was just wondering if anyone had figured out a way to get some sort of mobile sync and write functionality with Scrivener that doesn’t involve an intentional export so some strange hinterland storage space or application and then a necessary import after the fact. You see, most of my mobile writing time is recovered time. I don’t know that I’m going to have a few minutes at the part with the kids where I don’t need to be hovering and can afford to thumb down a few words. All I’ve been able to do since getting the iPod (won it from the gym, so this wasn’t a considered action on my part), all I’ve managed to do is jot down some notes because I have no real way to have a local copy of my works in progress to actually make any progress, then I can either use Drafts to ship it somewhere when I get back to wifi or I can open IA Writer (you have to open the apps to get them to sync stuff you wrote in them offline, every app I’ve tried, its just lame; I should at least be able to expect apps on my iPod to sync to my Dropbox once I’ve dragged it home to my wifi network, right? that’s not asking too much).

Its all about ergonomics and flow for me. If I can’t just dive in, I’m not likely to do it at all. Life is busy. I have kids of ages where they need lots of help and, well, I’m more interested in spending my time on them, too. I’ve got a house to maintain, a yard to mow (curse you damp, cool summer), yada yada yada. I make some time to write here, at home, in my nice, thoroughly networked environment. I’m starting to suspect that trying to integrate any of these smaller devices in hopes of recovering some normally lost moments for the purpose of writing is just waste of time.

What you’re looking for is an writing app that can access Dropbox files. “Index Card” is one such app, which will allow you to edit the exported txt files that you put in a Dropbox folder. Dropbox’s app is not meant for editing anything, but there are apps that integrate Dropbox access.

For all important files (especially my clients’), I use the Sync feature of True Image. This copies any changed file to a folder on a different drive. That folder is synced by Microsoft’s SkyDrive so that I can pull down the file onto other devices, including smart phones, tablets, and laptops.

SkyDrive (which will have its name changed soon because of copyright infringements) is free and gives me 7GB of file space as opposed to Dropbox’s free 2GB. However, I doubt I’ll ever fill even 2GB of cloud storage.

There are a number of text editors that can interface with the Dropbox API as though browsing folders and files. In my opinion these are the best way to work mobile, since they work in the same seamless fashion that you are accustomed to on your laptop. You just navigate to the folder of files you exported from Scrivener, tap on the section you want to edit, edit it, and when you close the file. Generally these programs automatically upload the changes right then and there, using cellular or wifi as necessary. There have been many discussions on these programs in this forum (the Software By Others is a good place to start), but a few off of the top of my head are Daedalus, Notebooks, PlainText, Elements, Textilus (which can actually edit RTF files directly) and Nebulous Notes. Some of these are free, and most of them are quite cheap. The Dropbox app itself really does nothing save for authenticating these various applications so that they can access your account. You don’t use it for browsing, you don’t even have to touch it after you’ve authorised the app.

Yeah, I have or have messed with all of those and more. The common fail point is that though they may work with Dropbox, they don’t at all without a connection. Some can save some or even all of my usual Dropbox documents locally so I can work while away, but they don’t sync automatically so there are still problems, such as not having the latest versions of things if you haven’t opened the app and given it a chance to sync before leaving wifi, and then having to open and sync again manually to get the latest back in the box proper. Sure, while I’m in a wifi friendly envrionment, I’m golden with any of the array I have installed, but generally in those circumstances, I’ve got my laptop (like now, I’m at the library with the kids, and failing that, I can borrow a library machine and get to my stuff through other means, with a full keyboard, no less).

My favorite is IA Writer (aesthetically and ergonomically) and with Dropbox installed you can “Open In” Dropbox from there and that will sync back to the box as soon as you hit WiFi, so with that, I can at least write my stuff and stick it in the appropriate folder where it will be waiting by the time I can get to a bigger machine. Daedelus, my second favorite can be set up with a project folder per metaphorical paper stack that it will copy locally and sync when you tell it to manually, but its been wonkey at best, creating more conflicting files in Dropbox than I ever saw back in the early days. Writeroom can be set up with basically my whole docs folder and its sub folders, and it seems pretty stable, though you’ve got the same need to manually sync before leaving the house and again when returning, and as an editor, it really doesn’t hold a candle to Daedelus, and isn’t even really competitive with IA Writer.

Everything else I’ve looked at has been marginally interesting at best, but generally just instant uninstall fodder. But even if we could find the solution for this particular piece of the puzzle, that’s just managing plain TXTs that we can’t easily sync with Scrivener. Hoping to be able to use Scrivener at home and during my more planned out “lets take the laptop with” excursions, and then being able to work on the content of such projects, even in a limited way using an iPad/Phone/Pod Touch or an Android device, just doesn’t seem to be achievable right now for Windows users. That’s my point, I guess, and I was hoping folks here had already figured out how to work around it and prove me wrong :slight_smile:

So you’re really looking for a way to keep your files in cloud storage so that you can access them from any PC where you run Scrivener?

I’ve got that already, Lee. Keep my projects in Dropbox and I’ve got Scrivener on each PC. That’s never been a problem. Just trying to find a way to be able to write on what I’m currently focused on when I get a random moment that would traditionally become “lost time”, you know, now that I have access to an array of smaller than laptop devices. Basically working around the facts that A) Dropbox doesn’t work from a local folder on iOS or Android and B) Scrivener for Windows doesn’t have “Sync to External Folder” yet (oh and I guess bonus C) non of the Dropbox aware editors or even the iCloud ones will sync to a PC without me needing to go into the app and sync both before I leave wifi territory and after I get back to make sure that I’m working from the latest and that what I do while out gets synced back in).

Seriously, am I not speaking English here? :stuck_out_tongue:

My approach mentioned earlier does not require my intervention. It’s all background processing, and if I’m offline it resumes when I’m online.

Well, True Image certainly looks like a nice piece of kit. An order of magnitude pricier than I was hoping for a solution and, well, looking into it, there seem to be alot of issues for my exact use scenario. Thanks for sharing, though.

Now if only my iPod was actually a tiny Windows PC … seriously, this thing’s got a lot more actual power than the laptop I’m using to post this … I don’t think its unreasonable at all to expect developers to treat this fancy new mobile hardware with some respect and actually let us use it in reasonable, established manners as well as the (IMO, at least) somewhat creepy way they’ve working at right now, not granting the customer any control other than to research and buy more and more apps in hopes of finding the capabilities they actually need. “Sync to External Folder” will be useful, but I doubt that Scrivener will ever truly come to the iPhone/Pod Touch level (screens are just too small, not that they don’t have the power). Oh well …

No worries there! We are developing Scrivener for both the iPod/Phone and iPad form factor simultaneously. The design has been put together specifically to be flexible in this regard. Naturally on an iPhone it won’t look much like “Scrivener”, with a binder and an editor and all that, but all you really need is access to the data and good ways to navigate around—that we can do.

That’s good news actually. All I’d want to be doing when I’m so mobile I only have the iPod on hand is find the scene I’m working on and add to it, and possibly start a new scene. As long as I can do that and sync up when I get home, the heavy lifting is better handled with big screen, big keyboard and well, mouse is a lot more accurate than touch so far ;-p

That’s great news, Amber… But please keep in mind how many millions (billions?) of Android users are out here, and don’t slight us.
Thanks. :smiley:

Interestingly BareBones have just released Yojimbo 4 (Mac only), but after many well documented troubles with Apple’s CoreSync, they’re offering Wasabi Sync

This will be a paid service - $3/month I think - but looking at it there may be ways to obtain a limited free version. I’d never heard of Wasabi sync before and whether it might be applicable to Windows software I have no idea. On the face of it there is a need to incorporate the Wasabi APIs into the product - Mac/WinScriv in this case, which may/may not offer any advantage over the current situation.

The problem with this sort of thing is you end up by syncing different software packages via different cloud setups. That said, it might be worth the L&L team taking a look.

That looks like it won’t work for Scrivener, as it requires the application to use Apple’s Core Data, a proprietary storage kit. Scrivener uses open standards for file storage, so that it can remain cross-platform compatible. The other problem is that it just moves the data storage from one company to another. Most of these consumer-oriented “cloud” services are unsuitable for people who have to adhere to security policies. They are looking for a way to sync directly from the computer to the device, which means standing in the same WiFi zone at the very least, plugged in at the best—no Internet, and definitely nothing that stores or passes data through a company’s servers. You won’t find many things that provide that, because most consumers have abandoned any patience for having to physically bring together two devices in order to sync them.