What's the difference between "Synced Documents" and my 'normal' Drafts?

Well, this is embarrassing.
Obviously, this is the first time I’ve opened an iOS created and then synced project on my laptop.
Created the project on the iPad, Dropbox synced, DB synced the laptop (so I had a copy) and then worked on the iPad.
Synced again to Dropbox and then to the laptop. No conflicts.
I just don’t know what “Synced documents” means and if/how it may be different to my Drafts. Do I need to do anything.
I could be the longest using newbie ever.

It depends on what you really wonder about.

Your iPad can read projects from the Dropbox server and also save/upload to it. On iOS this is called syncing although it’s really only a question of manually telling the iDevice to read/download or write/upload copies of your projects between your iDevice and the Dropbox server, by tapping the sync icon in Scrivener.

On the laptop you have a Dropbox App which automatically, in the background, without you having to do anything, monitors the Dropbox folder on the Hard Drive, and automatically read/download or write/upload copies of any files that have changed, either on the laptop or on the Dropbox server. This really is syncing in its true sense, as you don’t have to do anything.

In both cases it means that Scrivener use the same project, which is stored on both your laptop, iDevice and the Dropbox server.

Then there is a completely different process available in Mac Scrivener, called “Sync with external folder”, which had to be used earlier if you wanted to edit a project on an iPhone or iPad, before iOS Scrivener existed. People with Androids still have to use it. It means that your project is exported as text files, one per document in the binder, to a folder on the laptop that is synced to a cloud server, and they are then readable by e.g an Android cell phone.

So in essence, your “normal” Draft is synced between laptop and iDevice with the Dropbox server as an intermediate station, automatically on the laptop, manually on the iDevice.

Thanks Lunk.
So…my Synced Documents and my Draft is…the same thing? I’m kinda paralysed by the two options. Which one do I edit on my laptop? I hate being the dumbest person in class. Sigh.

Hi Jot,

Where are.you seeing this “Synced Documents”? Are you looking in the Dropbox folder on your laptop?

Can you post a screenshot for us? That would help.



The Synced Documents is a Collection. When I opened the project on my laptop, it was what was presented (but I freaked out because it was “coral” coloured and then realised it was a collection).

I can select the x and close the collection and then see my Drafts (which looks the same except…monochrome).
I’ve been scouring the forums etc and it seems there’s an option for turning off “Synced Documents” - I think I’ll do that and just go back to my happy place (apparently sometime in 2015).

And yes, I save my projects in the DB folder (Dropbox>Apps>Scrivener) so I can work on my iPad. I obviously haven’t done this for quite a while because I’ve not had this “issue” before.

To be honest, I’m not seeing what the advantage of Synced Document is (but I have no doubt that it’s vital to someones workflow).

Anyway, I’ve turned it off (FYI it’s in Preferences>Sharing>Sync and I’ve deselected the options

  • “Place documents affected by sync into a “Synced Documents” collection” and
  • “Automatically show the “Synced Documents” collection after a sync”.

I didn’t even know they were a thing (and now they’re not). Phew. I thought I’d blown up my project.

Thank you Lunk and Mark for the help.

Anything in a Collection exists somewhere else in the Binder as a ‘real document’.

A collection is simply another way of looking at real documents clustered together in some way. That could be because they all contain a certain phrase, or they’ve all got a certain keyword etc, or just because you’ve decide to manually select some documents in the Binder and added them to a collection to make it easier to look at them as a whole.

When you see the ‘Synced Documents’ collection, all you’re seeing is that process in action – Scrivener automatically shows you the documents which were changed in the previous sync so you can check them all at once if you want to. If you don’t want to, just return to the Binder and carry on – the contents of the Sync collection will change next time you sync. I recommend you keep this feature on, because it’s a simple sanity check that the sync worked and worth the additional keystroke it takes to return to the Binder after you’ve checked…

You can obviously, keep editing them while they’re in the collection without returning to the Binder – it’s exactly the same document either way.

Hope that helps.

Oh, I see. Many thanks, Brookter.

Actually, the whole process has been positive. I’ve learned a lot. It’s good to be paddling in Scrivener again (even if I did scare myself).

You’re very welcome!

May I suggest you have a look at the Tutorial section for Collections? It won’t take long, and they are much more powerful than the brief outline I gave – well worth seeing if they’ll fit with your workflow…

Eg. if you’re writing fiction – automatically group together all the scenes written from the point of view of character X which take place in town A… or non-fiction – all the subsections discussing punctuation where Macbeth is mentioned etc etc… The more you use them, the more you find a use for collections…

This is not my experience. I recently used split screen to compare a scene in the binder, with one I hade recently synced. They were not the same.

When you have the new collection visible and click on the amended document, what happens when you press cmd-opt-r (reveal in binder?). It should go to the original document in the binder — because it is that document. If you’ve chosen to retain snapshots, you can compare it to the pre-sync version.

One thought: if you remove the number in brackets from the filename in the external folder, Scrivener will think it’s a new document and import it as new — the number in brackets is the key Scrivener uses to track files, not the text of the title — so you’d have two versions of the document in the binder: one pre-sync, one after-sync.

Does the problem still happen? If it does and you’re happy you’re following the instructions, then I’d report that to support, together with the steps you took.

@ Daggilarr,

Are you letting Scrivener automatically name some of your files, and then using External Folder Sync to edit them with another editor? Scrivener produces long, long filenames in that case, like this:

 068 I opened the sitting room drapes and settled myself into my own armchair. I... [85]

Ulysses, for one, can’t handle such a long filename, and will truncate it, losing the last “[85]” and thus confusing Scrivener on the return trip, very much like what you’re reporting. As you’ve already experienced, nothing is lost, but it’s up to you to incorporate those changes.

My workaround is to edit the filename myself, to

 068 [85]

in Ulysses before editing anything else in the file. Scrivener is perfectly happy with that, and my changes are synced normally. Another solution would be to name all your files yourself in Scrivener with somewhat shorter names.

If this is not your situation, I apologise for the long post. I hope this helps.