Scrivener v. iOS: Scrivo Pro and Storyist @scrivenerapp

Yes, I know: Scrivener for iOS will be released in a month or three. Why then bother with Scrivo Pro and Storyist for iOS reviews?

These have a new capability covered in none of my other Scrivener v. iOS articles: the ability to edit a Scrivener project in its native format rather than go through Scrivener’s Sync to Index Card or Sync to External Folder processes. They are therefore the first true solutions for iOS editing that can be used by Windows Scrivener users. If you can’t wait for one to three months for the Literature and Latte product; if you need a solution now, one of these might do. Also, when I can (at last!) blog about Scrivener for iOS features, these products will be good comparison points.

The first to market with this ability, Storyist, first released a version with native Scrivener editing in October, 2015. Scrivo Pro followed in January, 2016. I admit it — they didn’t pop up on my radar. I’d already looked at Storyist Mac in September, 2015, and been unimpressed. I’d bought Scrivo as an upgrade from Studio 5’s previous product, Textilus, and again, didn’t find anything in it that screamed at me that this was going to be more than a slightly slicker Textilus.

I was wrong in both cases.

First to Storyist: If you just buy the app and open it, you get no hint from the interface that you can edit native Scrivener files. You’ll need to look at this article on Storyist Software’s website, “Editing Scrivener Files with Storyist for iOS“. My executive summary: First, be sure you have iCloud Drive — yes, it’s available for PCs. Then, fire up Storyist for iOS. Set up iCloud inside it. Save a Storyist project to iCloud. Now you’ve got a Storyist folder in iCloud. Go to your Mac or PC. In your browser, open iCloud.com and drag the Scrivener project you’d like to edit with Storyist into the Storyist folder on iCloud Drive. Once you’ve done this, go back to Storyist for iOS. Your Scrivener project now will show up in your list of documents, with a big “SCRIV” stamp on the bottom of its icon.

Open that, and you’re editing your Scrivener project. You can rearrange documents, add documents, delete documents, and edit documents. You’ll be able to have your binder open as a sidebar (on an iPad) while you edit a document. Your research will be available in Storyist — but you may not be able to read much of it, as Storyist won’t display PDFs and images are displayed very small. Text research files will be useful. You will not be able to access your synopses, nor any other metatdata. Finally, you will need to keep your Scrivener projects on iCloud drive, and edit them from there. Move them out, and you lose Storyist connectivity.

On to Scrivo Pro: Scrivo will open and work with your project wherever you place it on Dropbox. You will need to manually add the project to Scrivo, manually sync your changes down from Dropbox when you start editing, and manually sync your changes back when you’re finished, but when you’ve made changes in Scrivo there’s a button that shows up with the number of files changed on the main project screen so it’s hard to miss that syncing up might be a good idea.

Scrivo won’t show the binder as a sidebar, but it will display your synopses as index cards, and let you edit them. Scrivo won’t open images for display, so images in your research are inaccessible. PDFs in research are fine, though. As with Storyist, no metadata other than synopses is available.

Warning: These are NOT supported by Literature and Latte. They ignore the  Scrivener sync capabilities — else they would not be currently usable with Windows. This makes it horribly possible to mess up. If using either of these apps, close your Scrivener project on your Mac or PC before opening it under iOS! Manually sync your project from iOS before re-opening it on your Mac or PC! Also be sure that Scrivener is set to back up automatically on project close.

Which would I recommend? Storyist seems less buggy — sorry, Studio 5, but I’ve already run into an irritating bug in the index card display — nothing dangerous to data, but enough to interrupt an editing session. Other than that, if you need synopses Scrivo Pro is your choice. It’s also your choice if you need to create a Scrivener project on iOS. If you like to have the binder visible, Storyist is your choice, if you’re willing to put up with using iCloud Drive. (I personally find iCloud Drive a pain in the keister.) But you’ll have to create all your Scrivener projects on your Mac or PC.

If you can wait until Scrivener for iOS is released — well, you can make an informed choice then. I’ll be sure to post my review the day Scrivener’s available on the App Store.

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One thought on “Scrivener v. iOS: Scrivo Pro and Storyist @scrivenerapp

  1. Pingback: Scrivener for iOS First Impression — It’s Squeaky Clean @ScrivenerApp | A Study In Silver

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