Writing on IPAD, IPhone (PlainText)and Scrivener for Windows


I am very new to Scrivener (Scrivener for Windows). I am writing a book.

My input sources are: my PC Desktop; IPAD; and IPhone (more likely in reverse order). I have PlainText on my IPAD and IPhone. And use Dropbox.

I need to know in simple terms: does it mean that even with this array of software I still must be tethered to my Desktop? (I gather that Scrivener for Windows does not allow syncing?) Is this for real? How can I then write in a mobile way? Any suggested work flows? I am open to buying new apps to achieve this. (I have Evernote, IA write but these do not solve the problem, I think).

My aim is to write on my Iphone/IPAD and ensure that they all get into Scrivener and then write in Scrivener and continue on my IPAD or IPhone. Is this impossible?

If it is impossible, how about at least writing on my IPAD and IPhone and sending to Scrivener (via PlainText in Dropbox)? Is this possible? If it is possible, how does what I write actually get into Scrivever for Windows.

Your Novice

Automated bi-directional synchronization with external folders is not yet possible in Scrivener for Windows. You can, however, work around the problem:

  • Configure a Dropbox folder on your desktop. Teach Plaintext on your iPad and iPhone to synchronize to this folder.
  • Write whatever you like on the iPad. Synchronize to Dropbox.
  • Bring up the desktop system. Synchronize to Dropbox. You now have one or more plain text files on the desktop system.
  • Use Scrivener’s File -> Import commands to import these files.
  • Edit as desired. Use File -> Export to write these files back to the Dropbox folder. Overwrite the files with the same name that are already there.
  • Repeat.

The two big limitations compared to a true External Folder Sync – which is coming, we promise! – are:

  • Not automated. Synchronization does not occur unless you explicitly Export/Import the files.
  • You are responsible for managing all synchronization conflicts. If you overwrite something important, it is your fault.

Because the process is manual, I would STRONGLY suggest that you store your main Scrivener project file and its backups somewhere other than the Dropbox folder. I’d also suggest you look at the options under Tools -> Options -> Backup and consider what backup strategy will give you the best protection.

Is this approach as robust as an automatic synchronization? No. But if you want to be free from your desktop and don’t want to wait, this should do the trick.


Thank you Katherine. I was beginning to despair. I really appreciate the feedback.