Working with multiple documents

This is probably made clear in the manual, but in a place I didn’t find:

I would like to have an older version of my story visible in one half of the window and the new, improved version (a separate project) in the other … the whole thing, not just the snapshots I made.

How would I do that?

There is no way to view the contents of one project in the editor of another, if that is what you are asking. Typically one would use snapshots for this, since you can drag a snapshot to an editor header bar to load it in the split, this tends to address everything people need. In your case it sounds like you are jumping from one project iteration to another when doing revisions, which is leaving older revisions outside of the project. There is no way to resolve that problem without dragging the old versions back into the newest version of the project.

This is in fact what most people do who like to work the way you do. Instead of duplicating the entire project, they just duplicate the Draft folder and set the whole thing aside. Now they have two copies of the manuscript in the project, the current WIP and the frozen older version that is set aside.

Is that basically what you are looking for?

I’m not sure I understand.
When you say ‘duplicate the draft folder’ and ‘set (it) aside’, do you mean save a backup copy of work? Or do you mean duplicate such than you have two copies of each (e.g.) chapter within the project, thus making it possible to look at the old and revision via split screen?

I did look at creating snapshots, but the manual seems to indicate that isn’t a great idea for the whole project.

I can certainly open two separate projects (one the static and one a working revision and more or less align them on my screen.

Yes, that’s exactly it. If you duplicate the Draft folder you’ll just get another copy of the entire book, as a new folder at the top level of your Binder. You can leave it there or move it the bottom, whatever you want. That’s the state of your book when you hit duplicate. So now whenever you want to do a total revision, just repeat that process and file away the next full revision as its own folder (and now you would have three copies including the current Draft and the older one you made before). That way you have access to every bit of the text at that point these points in time.

I do recommend keeping them “below” (by that I mean lower down in the Binder list, not within the Draft folder) the main Draft though, because search results will list hits in order of top down in the Binder. You want your searches to be hitting the current WIP, first, then any old versions of that particular chapter, below. But perhaps you can see the advantage of working this way, from that one example. When you search for something that happened “in that one scene” and find it, all of the older versions of that scene will probably come up in search results too. So if you are looking for that spot precisely because you like an older version of it, you’re already 80% done with the job, having pulled both versions together in a list like that. :slight_smile:

So yes, for large scale backups like this, that’s the preferred way to work in Scrivener. Snapshots, as you say, are for keeping track of the smaller changes as you go along. Some may find a need to use a mix of both, and others prefer just one or the other technique. Snapshots cannot restore order and other over-all outline related stuff though. For that you just need to duplicate the whole thing.

Yes, of course there is that as well, and you can make a Scrivener window very minimal—as in no more fancy than TextEdit—you can turn off nearly all of the UI and just leave a bare white rectangle for the editor. So setting aside a project as a single sheet of paper alongside your current working project is very feasible. If that is comfortable for you, do it. I’m only trying to share ideas here, not advocate anything. :slight_smile:

Hummm… this got me thinking that a snapshot (non editable files) option for the whole project might sometimes be useful. :slight_smile:

I don’t have an obvious need for it myself, but because it is likely easy to implement, I am hereby floating the idea…

Well you can actually do that. You can select all of the items in your draft and then snapshot them all as a group, even giving them all the same title like “Rev. 1”. Easiest way to do that is to use the Outliner to view the Draft. Hit Cmd-9 to expand everything, then use Documents/Snapshots/Take Snapshots of Selected Items (or the titled variant).

Of course, this is still “small scale” in the sense that there is no cohesive roll-back, and only the text content is preserved. If you want the full picture, I feel a duplication is better for that kind of thing.

hehe, I should have thought of that; thanks for describing it though. :slight_smile:
Can you make a duplicate un-editable, or locked, or protected, or read only in some fashion?

No, and I’ve seen advocates for being able to lock files from editing politely turned down; I doubt that will ever be a feature. What I would advocate is to snapshot the entirety of your duplicate. That way, if you accidentally alter the duplicated Draft, you can get back to it’s original contents.

Thank you Robert, very helpful :slight_smile:
I have no more questions.