Editing your Scrivener Project Through Sugarsync

Today I want to give a quick tip about Scrivener. I’ve started following them on twitter (here), where they send tips and shortcuts. One that I’ve seen a couple times from them is how you can back up your work in the cloud by using Dropbox–which is a great idea.

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But I’m not a Dropbox user–I’m on the other side of camp with Sugarsync. It works the same way: in Scrivener, go to File>Backup>Backup To, and it will prompt you for a folder, as seen here:

You can save it as a .zip file, and you’re good to go. Do this regularly.

But I mostly don’t use Sugarsync for backup; I use it to synchronize my work between computers, so I can work anywhere. One of my first questions about Scrivener was if I could open a project on a different computer, work on it, and see that work updated when I got to my home machine. Of course, normally you can’t do this unless you have Scrivener on each machine–but I’ve found a way to make it work.

Scrivener saves each project in a series of .rtf files. If you go to Windows Explorer and open up the folder containing your project, you’ll see another folder called Docs. This folder contains all the information for your project, including the little blurbs on your index cards, how they’re linked together, and the actual text files for each chapter or scene.

Click for a larger view.

And here’s the trick: if you open one of those .rtf files on another computer through Sugarsync and make edits, those changes appear in Scrivener as soon as it updates in the cloud–and because Scrivener saves your project automatically, the reverse is true. So working on your Scrivener project on the go is as simple as finding the document you want to edit and going from there.
There are two caveats: the first is the way the files are named. Scrivener names those files automatically–or, rather, numbers them. If you try to change the name of a file to something you’ll more easily recognize–for example, Scene 1–it will show up in your Scrivener project as blank, because the program is looking for particular file names. So there is some trial and error in finding the file you want to edit–but really, it’s as simple as opening up .rtf files until you find the one you want. After that, it’s smooth sailing, though it might be inconvenient for really large projects with dozens of files.
Secondly, you won’t of course have access to all the wonderful options and tools of the program–you’re just editing a word file. If you have Scrivener on another computer, synchronizing should work even better, and you’d have full access to the project on both computers. But this suits my purposes; when I write I like to just bang it out, and go over it later when I edit. I can do the really rough draft on the go, and edit and play around with it in Scrivener when I’m on my main PC.

So there you have it. It may not be for everyone, but I’ve found it tremendously useful! And although I’m not a Dropbox user, I imagine the whole process works in just the same way with that program.

P.S. You can follow Sugarsync on Twitter as well, right here.

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2 comments on “Editing your Scrivener Project Through Sugarsync

  1. What I do with dropbox is I save the entire file to my dropbox folder on my desktop. Each computer has the same dropbox folder so no matter what I use, even my phone or ipad, my file is ready to go. I just open it and write. Close the file and it updates. You just have to remember to close the file before opening it on another computer. Also, if you are going to work where there is no internet, like on your netbook at a nice park, be sure to boot the computer up at home to allow it to sync. Then if you don’t have internet, you can still work on your files.

    Love Scrivener and I love Dropbox. I keep all files that I am currently working on there as well as any file I might want to work on. I will say that you should back up this folder as I nearly lost everything a few days ago when something happened to one of the folders within dropbox, my writing folder, of course. Was able to get the folder out of the dropbox folder on my netbook before it synced! So back up!!!!

  2. tobiasosir says:

    I might have to look further into dropbox. Do they have online storage? One of the things I like about Sugarsync is that you can access your files from their website; so if you lose a folder somewhere, it’s still backed up online. Of course if it syncs, it’s still lost–but Sugarsync has backups on their server (nothing truly deletes from your account until you expressly tell it to). Dropbox might have a similar feature.

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