Wish List: Backup ZIP organized within folders using project name

A rather small request on macOS:

I have Scrivener set to generate a ZIP backup of my project each time I quit the app. I’ve selected the option where it saves the last ten backups.

Proposed improvement: Automatically put the ZIP backup(s) in a subfolder bearing the project name. Perhaps append “_Backup” to said folder. That way the main backup folder has a tidy folder structure to sort through.


Have you tried using Finder to manage this? There are a number of useful sorting and arrangement tools that could make using this folder easier for you. I use the View/Arrange By/Modification Date view mode. As someone that typically has a half a dozen or so projects in active usage at any given moment in time, it’s nice to see things broken down by day.

Another thing I do is automatically classify types of projects using labels, with an automation tool called Hazel. I give it lists of project names to scan for, and it sets the label to orange, green, whatever, if found on that list.

It is a rare day indeed that I even so much as look in my Scriv backups folder. Only in an emergency (which hasn’t happened yet) would I need to be looking in there.


I think if I did not use the backup mechanism to automatically distribute up to date copies between Macs (in conjunction with peer-to-peer syncing), I wouldn’t pay much attention to it either. For me though, that’s my working stack of latest versions whenever I switch from laptop to home, so having a little order and tagging applied to it is pretty useful.

Wait. You are using backups as your cross-device working copies? Why does that sound like a bad idea? I must not have understood. There is no amount of cleverness that I would put past you.

But in any case, sounds like a definitely unusual and unintended use of the backup system, so not really a ground for thinking there is something Scriv should be doing that it isn’t, right?

Anyway, either the OP is being a bit of a neatnik here or, I somewhat suspect, they are backing projects up to a folder that they actively work in (maybe their projects themselves are there even) – which just seems like a bad idea.


Actually, not so unusual. Before iOSScriv, I worked on 2 different windows machines, and I used zipped backups on OneDrive to move projects between them. Judging from posts, a number of folks on this forum use a similar technique. It may even be referenced in one of L&L detailed pre-IOS tech articles on how to work on a project across multiple machines - I believe that’s where I got the idea from, although might be mistaken about that. The idea being that it is less risky to use zipped backups to move between machines than placing live Scrivener projects on a service like DropBox.

I might not have described it well, having mentioned the technique in passing, here is my longer write-up on the approach.

Overall the method is considerably less risky from a usage standpoint. If I mess up and sleep the uploading computer too quickly, then I simply will not have the latest zip of the project available until I rectify the situation. In a similar failure, where one is using a third-party sync tool to modify live projects, the presence of a failure is extremely difficult to detect, and will lead to inevitable forking of internal files, a soft form of data loss (not really lost, but impossible for the software to find).

The backups aren’t really touched, save for a passive read by the unzip utility or Finder when copying it.

Well one thing the next upgrade will bring is the ability to set a custom backup location on a per-project basis (overriding the default location). So I wouldn’t say organising backups is out of scope, but given that future capability, I’m not sure if any further organisation within the default backup folder is necessary—especially considering that as mentioned a decent file manager can help one make sense of flat lists of files.

Thanks for the explanation. Now that I get it a bit more, I think I shall have to look into it!

And during such an emergency, wouldn’t it be nice to easily find the specific backup you need in a sea of ZIP files? :smiley:

I started using this method once I figured out OneDrive wasn’t handling my Scrivener projects in a mature fashion. At that point, I had a local Writing folder on each device and a WritingBackup folder on OneDrive, with each device’s Scrivener install set to create all backups there. At the start of each session I’d take the latest backup of whichever project I was working on, extract it to Writing, and away I would go.

With the advent of 1.9.5 and Scrivener for iOS, my Writing folder is now under DropBox, but the backups still go to the OneDrive folder. That way, I still have multiple copies of my projects and backups and multiple vectors for retrieving them.

Yes! I’m doing something similar. I use the native Dropbox project sync feature between my laptop and iPad. However I have my ZIP archives backed up into yet another cloud service. That way I have sufficient backup redundancy. I mean why not? :smiley:

Would you mind elaborating on this? I’m currently trying to decide which cloud storage option to use for hosting a live project file. Last time I tried this with Scrivener + Dropbox, maybe 6 years ago, my project became corrupted, so I was thinking about trying OneDrive this time around, but your comment gives me pause.

(also hello neighbor, I’m in Lake Stevens, about 15 minutes from Monroe).

The short version is that DropBox is still the only cloud service that seems robust enough to handle Scrivener project file syncing.

But OneDrive and others are fine if you are only using them as a place to store zipped backup files.

I use OneDrive for storing zipped backups, and DropBox for syncing Win + iOS. Works well.

Jason! I totally still owe you a review on The Darwin Elevator – I got it from one of your Twitter giveaways and, well, you know what they say about good intentions…

What I found was that OneDrive wasn’t properly respecting the order of file updates when synching. I’d leave all my machines on 24x7, but close Scrivener when I was done working on a project – but I’d constantly get sync errors and conflicts. This was with a mix of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, over several months. As others have mentioned, I switched to using my OneDrive folder to store my zipped backup folders.

My experiences with DropBox and Scrivener arise from the Scrivener for iOS beta. Keeping Dropbox as my main project folder seems to be working like a champ – again, as long as I only open a Scrivener project on one machine at a time and close it down, making sure DropBox syncs. I still keep all my machines on nearly 24x7 (one is a Surface Pro 3, so it does occasionally go with me places; they are all now Windows 10) but I’m very careful about making sure I let DropBox sync. On my Surface, I’ve also made sure both my OneDrive and DropBox folders are on the internal C: drive – although I can have an SD card for extra storage, there’s a known issue on some Surfaces that causes it to disconnect/reconnect. Needless to say, that can totally screw Scrivener.

Following these practices, I’ve had zero corruption or conflict issues.

Dropbox has improved substantially over the years in its handling of packages and extended attributes - it even syncs finder tags properly now.

To go back to the op’s request - this can be readily setup with Hazel.