Version: Beta (1183694) 64-bit - FEATURE REQUEST

Would it be possible to have a ‘REWRITE MODE’ where one rewrites a scene, for example, alongside the old scene?

I tend to nest old scenes within a new scene, then view them side by side and write the new scene whilst referencing the old (SEE ATTACHED PIC). It would be great if this setup was added as a function, and actioned from a single button (‘REWRITE’), that nested the current scene within a newly created one, arranged side by side, and displayed changed text, perhaps in a different colour on the old scene? Also for the two text editors in this mode to be synced together when scrolling, so when scrolling down on new scene, in right editor, for example, the old scene in left editor would scroll accordingly too (and keep scrolling of left editor independent, so one could scroll back for quick reference to other part?).

This would really be helpful for my redrafting process, and I’m sure there are many out there who use a similar method who would benefit.

Use snapshots?

Snapshots provides a useful last draft, and this feature could certainly be incorporated into snapshots as an extra element, but what I am requesting is a different function more akin to REVIEW MODE in Word or Google Files - namely, a function that highlights the differences between the two versions AND a sync lock between the two editors when REWRITING so they scroll together. This would be incredibly useful for many I reckon.

So in REWRITE MODE (be it a new mode or a new part of SNAPSHOTS) any text in the NEW doc that is different from the OLD vers appears in YELLOW, so that you can see at a glance the differences between the versions. You can toggle this on and off so that you can turn off when rewriting is done and have it appear like a normal text.

If anything I’m guessing this feature is bit like a REVISION MODE & SNAPSHOT temporary hybrid, or perhaps these aspects can be incorporated into SNAPSHOTS or REVISION MODE.

If it were incorporated into revision mode I think it would be great if the blue text of revision 2, for example, only appeared in the OLD NESTED vers, and only shows as blue in that doc in other editor (and any deleted text to have a BLUE STRIKETHROUGH crossing it out), whilst the new vers/revision remains white texted like a new clean doc - and the two texts are viewed side by side, with the scrolling linked. So any time you want to check the differences in the future, you can toggle REWRITE/REVISION mode on, and the OLD TEXT VERS will appear in other editor next to current text doc with BLUE TEXT AND STRIKETHROUGHS in the OLD DOC.

This would really be handy IMO.

I may not be understanding what you’re looking for (I’m not a word processor user), but I think Snapshots already do what you want. Have a look at the “Snapshots” section in the interactive tutorial—it’s toward the very beginning. It walks you through the basic features, one of which is marking changes between revisions at a customisable level of granularity.

There are improvements that yet need to be made with the system—namely make it possible to view comparison mode in the main editors and copyholders, when viewing snapshots there. But you can for now widen the inspector to get a good side-by side revision list to work through.

Here are some further tips. It sounds like you are aware of the tools, but maybe you will find some tips in there, on how better to combine them.

Thanks AmberV, Shall investigate…

Hi Amber.

Thanks for replying. I have looked into that feature and it’s great. So thanks.

As you say, it would be even better if it were possible to view the snapshot in Other Editor so that one could work on a revision side by side (in real time would be great). Hopefully this could be implemented in the future.

But the core functionality is certainly very good and just what I was looking for.

Thanks again.

Oh, to be clear, you can already view a snapshot in the editor, either just drag it from the snapshot list into the editor header bar, or right-click on the icon in the header bar and load it from there. The only limitation right now is that there is no way to enable comparison mode in that view. We just need to figure out a good way of doing that—maybe make it so the Documents ▸ Snapshots ▸ Show Changes ▸ Compare commands work in an existing snapshot view.

Glad to hear the core feature itself is doing what you need.

You can also use third-party versioning software such as Subversion.

These allow you to create a repository (an archive, if you like), and check out a “working copy”. Once you’re done for the day making changes to the working copy, you commit the changes back to the repository.

This is useful for two reasons.

  1. It’s basically a backup of your work (you can have the repository on a separate hard drive, network drive, or even Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive etc as off-site backups are always a good way to go)

  2. Every time you “commit” to the repository, it creates a numbered “version” - only your changes are committed. This means you can go back to any point in time since the repository was created. “What did that paragraph look like a month ago?” Simply go back and look.

Whilst Subversion can be complicated - particularly as it’s geared towards computer programmers and therefore commandline only - you would only ever need one or two of its features; Check out, Commit, and possibly Diff to compare versions.

Fortunately there’s a handy free tool called TortoiseSVN which puts all of the power into a handy, easier-to-use app.

Or for you Mac lot, there’s SmartSVN which does much the same job, and has a free version and paid-for “pro” version.

Yes it is more being able to view the compare mode in the Other Editor, Your suggestion for being able to do this would be great.


Thanks for the suggestions GfK, will investigate. It does sound a little finnicky, as I would prefer to have this functionality in Scrivener itself, mainly for realtime redrafting (I have the habit of frequently saving new draft files anyway) - but it is certainly intriguing and I can see it would be beneficial.


I also get 2 different views when toggling Compare on and off in the snapshots window currently. Not sure if this is feature or bug, Is this controllable/customiseable?

Sorry, I don’t follow what you mean by there being two views. I tried in both the Snapshots Manager window, as well as in the inspector sidebar. For me this button just toggles the changes on and off, in the same view.

Note that historically versioning software such as SVN, Git, etc. do not work well in a seamless workflow for Scrivener projects, for many technical reasons, the most important of which are:

  1. Scrivener projects are not simple text files; they are a complex web of text, RTF, and XML files. This format (and relationship between the component files in a project) is not understood by any versioning tool out there, so at best the user is going to have to have a much deeper understanding of the project components.

  2. The underlying RTF format used by Scrivener to store the document information in the project is usually not supported in a meaningful way by any “diff” tool included. The user usually ends up having to manually open multiple project versions at the same time and manually compare them – more of exactly what the OP is already wanting to simplify.

A bunch of us have gone down this road before; I used to be a very vocal advocate for this methodology, but it just adds way too much user overhead to the workflow and doesn’t actually solve any problems that you can’t already solve in other ways.

viewing a snapshot for looks like pic 1.

Then when I click compare it changes to pic 2.

Both modes displays the text in a different layout. Not sure if this is feature or bug - either way it would be nice to have the same layout (great if it could match the editor - or just be viewable in editor as discussed earlier).

Cheers. Will tread carefully

You’re right that it’s probably a bit much for the average user, but I’ve been using git (git extensions and sublime merge for its nice word-wrapped diff) for all my books for several years now, through version 1 and 3 on windows, and 2 on mac. It actually saved me just earlier today when I accidentally synced to an external folder that had files in it already and didn’t have the snapshots to rollback to.

RTF isn’t a binary format (though git can diff .docx files pretty well now, showing you only the text, and you can get plugins for other binary formats), so if you make a commit every day you write or edit, and don’t have quotes and dashes prettified, the diffs are easy to read and there won’t be so many that it’s overwhelming.

I review my work and commit at the end of each workday, and it takes maybe ten seconds.

Thanks for explaining.

As I understand it, this is a backup feature. But what does it offer over the backup feature already built into Scriv, or simply saving the file incrementally every few writing sessions (as I do)? Does it only save the differences and therefore take up less storage space? Because script files don’t really amount to much storage that I’ve encountered…?

A project backup is a full copy of your project. A snapshot is a copy of a single document in your project at its current state. The snapshots are saved within the project. Document snapshots and project backups serve a totally different purpose.