Scrivener v. iOS, Part 5 — Index Card Workflow Concluded

Once again, this is not an ad for Index Card – I would be delighted if there were any competitor that could access as much or more of my Scrivener projects’ structures.

If you’ve followed my blog posts on Scrivener v. iOS, then you’ve set up your Scrivener project, synced it to Index Card, and worked happily on your iPad far, far away from your Mac. Now you’ve got some changes to your project in Index Card, and want to update your Scrivener project.

Once again, no part of the sync process for Index Card is automatic. You must manually go to the Sharing menu in Index Card and select Copy to Dropbox. Be sure the "Export Notes" option is on. Then, from the list of file formats, tap on "Index Card." You should see an "Uploading to Dropbox…" message. If you get an alert saying, "Existing File," go ahead and tap "Replace."

Back on your Mac, you will need to open your Scrivener project, and select "Sync > With Index Card for iOS…" from the file menu. In the popped-up dialog box, click the "Update collection from Index Card" button. That’s it.

Note that you will get no warning whatsoever from Scrivener that there may have been changes in the Index Card version. It is all too easy to work on the iPad in Index Card and forget one of the two steps – either not copy from Index Card to Dropbox, or not sync from Dropbox into Scrivener – and then wonder what the heck happened to your work. If this happens, don’t panic! Just start the sequence from the iPad with the copy to Dropbox, and then the sync from Dropbox to Scrivener. If you have conflicting changes, they will show up in the Updated Documents collection. Since you checked "Take Snapshot before updating main text" item in the sync dialog (you DID check it, didn’t you?) you will be able to merge your changes via the snapshot.

Avoid syncing back from Scrivener to Index Card until you are sure all your changes are saved in Scrivener properly. Conversely, I suggest you sync back to Index Card before working in Index Card again, even if you make no changes in Scrivener. The reason? Scrivener will continue to update all its documents that were changed in Index Card since it last synced out to Index Card. Once again, this can lead to unexpected conflicts. So, the pattern is: Scrivener to Index Card, Index Card back to Scrivener, then Scrivener back to Index Card again.

IN PART 6: Some notes on External Folder Sync workflows.

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