Writing with multiple macs on a home server.

I want to use my iMac and Macbook Air to write a project on my home server.

Can I place the Scrivener file on my home server and work on it there on both Macs? Just to add, as I live alone there is zero chance of two people working on the same file via either computer at the same time though I guess I must make sure the file is not open on one Mac when working on it on the other.

I’m guessing everything will be fine but thought to ask if there is anything I need to be made aware of. One that immediately comes to mind is ‘external reference links’, in such a case I realise I must only link to files on the server and not on either Mac.

My home server is an old Mac Mini G4 with ‘sharing’ turned on, it backs itself up continuously to an attached drive [Sata to USB] via Time Machine… which works just fine and is very reliable.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks.

I do this without any problems. The network needs to be reliable.

Of course, this is not as fast as working on a local disk (especially a SSD). If a project gets really large, you can always shuttle it from Mac to Mac using your home server as a staging post: copy the project to the iMac, work on it, and then copy back to the Mini when you’re done. Copy it to the Air when needed and then back to the Mini again.

But if a project isn’t huge, your network speedy, and your Mini reasonably fast, you should just be able to leave the project on the Mini and work on it from there, storing and referencing any links on the Mini as a shared resource.

Best to try a test project to see if the network and Mini are speedy enough for your needs. But in principle, it should work.

If the network isn’t fast enough for your needs, you can use Dropbox to mirror the project on both Macs so that you are always working on a local copy/local hard drive, with external links stored in Dropbox as well. If you installed Dropbox on the Mini as well, the project would mirror to that and then be further backed up on your USB.

Hi Bridey.
Thanks for the reply, it is appreciated.
Both my Macbook Air and iMac are connected to the network wirelessly but the Mini via an ethernet cable. I think the speed is around 56mb per second? I’m not a lightning writer but rather use one finger with a thumb hovering over the ‘shift key’… but I take your point and will run a few tests first.

Moving the file back and forth wouldn’t be wise in my situation, as I ‘feel’ sure that sooner or later I’d overwrite the latest with an older version but would rather work off one file located on the Mini if possible, with the knowledge that time machine is keeping a regular version history.

Again, thank you for taking the time to reply, I feel more confident about going ahead with my project but was concerned that I might be missing a known problem with working off a local server.

Hello, Karlos

In my experience, text-dominated Scrivener projects have worked well over the network. Things have got sluggish when the projects have contained lots of research materials (PDFs, audio files, etc) or numerous images.

Even if the images are stored outside of the project and only referenced as linked images, such as—


—the compile process can be sluggish when Scrivener has to gather all the material together over the network.

The other thing to consider with a large project is that Scrivener’s native backups (as set in Scrivener > Preferences > Backup) are slower to process over a network.

Prudent, I think, to run a test project between the machines a few times just to be sure that everything works as you need it to.

Good luck