L&L Release Scrivener 2 to Scrivener 3 Upgrade Guide http://bit.ly/2AISioT @scrivenerapp

Literature and Latte just released an upgrade guide for die-hard Scrivener 2 users! This has the deep Compile details you’ve been waiting for. You can download the project at:

http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener-3-update-guide

Happy Scrivening

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Upgrading To Scrivener 3 Mac from Scrivener 2? Don’t panic! Installation & Startup Suggestions @ScrivenerApp #amwriting

Scrivener 3.0 for Mac is here!


Scrivener 3 for Mac is here! It has styles! It has a wonderful new compiler! There are bookmarks, work history and much more. It’s mostly familiar, and it’s awfully tempting to just plunge in. Yet there are road hazards for those who just want to upgrade right now, dammit, and why doesn’t it work just like old Scrivener 2? What happened to my compile formats? What are these ‘style’ things you speak of and how will they help me?

I spent two days down that rabbit hole. Learn from my mistakes. Scrivener 3 is a Major Upgrade. It contains seven years’ worth of pent-up new features. Treat it with respect, and you’ll be up and running in a few hours. Treat it like a minor upgrade, and you too may be crying on the Scrivener forums.

Take a deep breath. Before you download that software, let’s tidy up a bit, and get those Scrivener 2 projects all spiffy and ready to be updated.

First, open your applications folder on your Mac. I suggest renaming the Scrivener app to ‘Scrivener 2’. This will keep Mac OS from getting confused when you install the new version. I strongly suggest keeping both versions active until you are confident to go forward with Scrivener 3. In particular, do not use Scrivener 3 for a project that is running on a close deadline for which you will need to use Compile! Scrivener 3 compile is vastly improved, but it has a learning curve associated with it. You’ll need to unlearn how you used Compile in Scrivener 2, and relearn the simpler, more powerful, Compile in Scrivener 3. Doing this under time pressure equals misery.

If you use iOS Scrivener, take the time right now to be sure all your projects are properly synced to your Mac. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Now, open Scrivener 2. Open each project you wish to bring forward into Scrivener 3. If you use External Folder sync, do one last sync. Make sure there are no loose ends.

Once you’ve done this for each project that you plan on updating to Scrivener 3, you have one last task to perform. Open Scrivener preferences from the Scrivener menu. Down at the bottom of the dialog, click on the “Manage…” button. Choose “Save all preferences…” and save your preferences as a file on the desktop, or anywhere else that you’ll be able to find it quickly. Once you’ve done that, please quit Scrivener 2.

One final thing: Shut down your Mac and re-start it. It seems silly, but at least 75% of the complaints on the Scrivener forum regarding Scrivener 3 installation are solved by a simple restart of the Mac in question. Why take a chance?

At last! You’re ready. Go ahead and purchase your upgrade (or get your free upgrade!) and download Scrivener 3. Install it, but before you fire it up, open your Applications folder. Again, to help Mac OS keep the two applications straight, rename the new Scrivener app to ‘Scrivener 3.’

Now you can open your new software! Enter your registration number, and you’re rolling. But don’t convert those projects just yet. First, let’s visit the Preferences pane. Go ahead and click the “Manage…” button. It’s in the same position that it was in Scrivener 2. Click “Load all preferences…” and select the preferences file that you made in Scrivener 2. It won’t cover everything, because there are new things to prefer in Scrivener 3, but it will keep you from exclaiming, “Oh my [deity of choice]! I already told it not to do that…”

Still in the Preferences dialog, click on the Backup tab. Choose a different backup folder from the one you used for Scrivener 2. Seriously. There will be no easy way to tell the difference between your old Scrivener 2 backups and your new Scrivener 3 backups unless you set up a new backup folder. Also, Scrivener 3 might well start writing over your old Scrivener 2 backups. Let’s not go there.

I know you’re itching to open one of your very own projects, and see it in Scrivener 3 glory. Don’t do it. Instead, select File > New Project… and click on the hated, boring Tutorial icon. You need not go through the entire thing. But I strongly suggest that you take the time to click on the What’s New collection and follow the instructions there.

Yes, it will take an hour or three. It’s a small price to pay to avoid hours or days of struggle. You may even want to view the video tutorials. To find them, select New Project from the File menu and you’ll find the icon right there next to the tutorial icon. I’m happy to wait some more. Take your time.

Now open a Scrivener 2 project. I suggest you choose one that you don’t care about much. Perhaps it’s on the back burner, or its deadline is quite far out. Note that you get an alert asking if you want to update the project. Click the the “Update Project” button. Now, Scrivener makes a copy of your Scrivener 2 project, and rename it to something like “my-project.backup.scriv”.

Personally, I find the naming convention confusing. it makes me think that the file is a real backup rather than an old version copy. If you find it confusing as well, you’re free to change the name to something more meaningful. I’d also suggest taking it out of the iOS sync folder on Dropbox if that’s where you’re keeping your projects.

By now, your updated project is open on your Mac screen. Right now, import your old compile formats, if any, by selecting “Compile…” from the File menu. Click on the gear menu at the bottom of the Formats column. From there, select “Import Scrivener 2 preset…”. You’ll be shown a list of the presets that were available to this project under Scrivener 2. Choose one that you think will be useful, and import it. Repeat as needed.

Please don’t think you will be able to use those presets as they came from Scrivener 2, however. You’ll need to connect them to section types and section layouts as you learned in the tutorial and in those videos. But at least the formats will be close to what you were using in Scrivener 2. Also, you will need to develop section layouts and section types for things in your front matter and your back matter. (A full description of the new Scrivener 3 compile system is way beyond the scope of this blog post. Use the tutorial and the videos, please.)

Other hazards:

  • If you use External File Sync, start a new sync folder. Scrivener uses a new naming convention for these files, and “crossing the streams” is Bad. Trust me.
  • If you sync to iOS, then prep your iOS device by moving your old Scrivener 2 projects to the “On my iPad (or iPhone)” area without syncing. Rename them so that you don’t confuse them with the Scrivener 3 projects (or just delete them.) Remember, these are already saved in the old format on your Mac.
  • When you sync, the entire converted Scrivener 3 project(s) will upload to iOS. Every single file inside the project(s) will have been updated. Make sure that the upload from Mac to Dropbox is finished, and allow plenty of time for the iOS download to complete as well.

I hope that this little upgrade guide has gotten you off on the right foot. Happy Scrivening!

Scrivener Special Abilities on Plus-Size iPhones @scrivenerapp

The plus-size iPhones display the Scrivener project binder in a small sidebar.


Here it is, nearly July—and that means it’s New Phone season if you’re an iPhone user. You may wait until mid-September to get the latest and greatest straight from Apple’s development labs. Myself, I like to snipe for bargains in late August as the phone companies discount Apple’s older models, which will likely be discontinued or released with different (usually smaller) storage configurations.

But if you’re a Scrivener iOS user and have a small iPhone (iPhone SE, or any of the iPhones 5) or a medium-sized iPhone (6, 6S, or 7)—there are some little-known capabilities of Scrivener iOS on large iPhones (6 Plus, 6S Plus, and 7 Plus) that may influence your new phone decision.
Without the extra keyboard row on the iPhone, you can't access fonts, spacing, or indents.

A small iPhone (1136‑by‑640‑pixel resolution—example: iPhone SE) won’t even display Scrivener’s extra keyboard row in landscape mode, for the simple reason that if it did there would be no room on the screen to display text. Because several formatting functions can only be accessed from that keyboard row on an iPhone, as a practical matter, Scrivener can only be used in portrait mode on a small iPhone.

Medium iPhones (1334-by-750-pixel resolution—example: iPhone 7) get that extra keyboard row in landscape mode. With that increased screen space, Scrivener can be used effectively in any orientation on a medium iPhone.

If you’ve used Quick Reference in your project in iPad Scrivener, those files will be available as Quick Reference items for your iPhone Plus binder.


Ah, but on a large iPhone (1920-by-1080-pixel resolution—example: iPhone 7 Plus) you get so much more! The binder sidebar, unavailable on smaller phones, is available on a Plus-size iPhone in landscape. It’s like a teeny iPad. If you also have an iPad, and set up some Quick Reference files in your project on iPad, you can display them in that little binder on iPhone. (At this time, you can’t designate Quick Reference files on the iPhone, whatever its size. Maybe next year…)


UPDATE 1 JULY 2017—

Keith Blount of http://literatureandlatte.com says that for the next Scrivener iOS update, Quick Reference will be enabled for Plus-size iPhones! Huzzah!


I’ve gone ahead and gotten myself an iPhone 6S Plus, not even waiting for August—I wanted to lock in the 3.5mm headphone socket before it disappears from the product line, as well as enjoy the sidebar in Scrivener. Happy phone shopping!

How to (90% Automatically) Track Scrivener (Mac or Windows) Word Counts in Beeminder #amwriting

url-minder
Markos Giannopoulos posted a great article in his blog, Tracking writing goals: Scrivener + Dropbox + Beeminder. His is an excellent way to track word counts from iOS Scrivener if iOS is all you use—but as Mr Giannopoulos notes, the word counts will be higher than true. That’s because all the files Beeminder will be counting are RTF files—which contain formatting information that Beeminder will happily include as words you wrote in addition to the real words you wrote.

If you have either Windows or Mac Scrivener, and you’d like a truly accurate count Beeminded (almost) automatically, read on.

This technique uses the External Folder sync capability of Mac and Windows Scrivener (available in the Windows version since the release of iOS Scrivener) and Dropbox—independently of iOS Scrivener sync. I tried to use Google Drive, but was unable to get word counts through to Beeminder. Sadly for iCloud Drive fans, I couldn’t even get iCloud Drive started.

Is this technique any easier or more accurate than always compiling a plain text version of your project whenever you’d like to update your Beeminder word count (as Mr Giannopoulos also suggests in his post)? If you don’t often add new text documents to your project, and you usually close your projects, then my technique can automate tracking accurate word counts via Beeminder. If you add a new text document or three daily, or you leave your project window open for days, compiling to plain text may work better for you.

I’ll be describing:

  1. How to set up an External Folder sync to Dropbox that will contain all and only the Scrivener files (in a particular project) that you want to Beemind.
  2. How to add those files to a new goal in Beeminder.
  3. How to Beemind any new Scrivener files you may add to your project and want to track in your existing goal.

Setting Up External Folder Sync for Beeminder

First of all: If you’re using Dropbox to sync with iOS Scrivener—this is completely separate. Don’t use the folder you use to sync with iOS Scrivener for this. ANY other Dropbox folder will do.

Filename caution: Once you start Beeminding a text in your Scrivener project with this technique, changing its name inside Scrivener will break its Dropbox link. You’ll need to fix the link in Beeminder to keep your word count accurate.

  1. To make this work, you’ll need to have the Dropbox app installed on your Windows or Mac computer. This will put a “Dropbox” folder on your hard drive. That’s the place you’ll be telling Scrivener to sync with.
  2. Make a new folder somewhere in your Dropbox folder (that isn’t where you sync iOS). I suggest you name it something obvious like BeeminderWordCount or MyProjectWordCount.
  3. Open your Scrivener project in Mac or Windows Scrivener. Consider the documents you want to Beemind. If it’s just all the text documents in your draft folder, great! Otherwise, I suggest you decide on a keyword for the texts you want to Beemind (“WordCount” or whatever you prefer) and assign that keyword to the texts you want to count.
    1. If you’re using a keyword, search for that keyword and save the search as a collection. Usually the collection has the search term as its name, so in my example, the collection would be named “WordCount.”
  4. Now select File > Sync > With External Folder…
    You’ll get a dialog box like the one on the right (or above.)

    1. Click the “Choose…” button and select the folder you set up in step 2.
    2. Tick the box for “Sync the contents of the Draft folder.”
    3. If you’re using a keyword search collection as in Step 3.A, tick the “Sync only documents in collection:” box and select your search collection from the dropdown menu.
    4. Make sure the “Format for external Draft files:” dropdown has “Plain Text” selected. This is what’s going to make your word counts more accurate.
    5. CAUTION: Do not tick the “Prefix file names with numbers” box! This option prefixes numbers to the text filenames in Dropbox to show their position in the Binder. That might cause several file name changes in Dropbox every time you moved a file within your project, breaking many Dropbox shareable links. You’d then need to update those links in Beeminder to keep your word count accurate.
    6. Tick the “Check external folder on project open and automatically sync on close” box. This is what’s going to make updating the Beeminder count (almost) automatic.
    7. Finally, click the “Sync” button. Your sync is now set up, keeping plain text copies of the files in the folder you’ve set up for Beeminder to count.

Whenever you quit Scrivener or close your project, the synced files will be updated automatically. If you don’t close your project ever, you can update those files by selecting “File > Sync > With External Folder Now.”

How to Set Up Your Beeminder Goal

  1. Go ahead and start your goal in Beeminder, using URLMinder as your data source.
  2. You’ll come to a page with a place to insert URLs for Beeminder to track for word count (see right or above.) In a fresh browser window or tab, open Dropbox.com.
  3. In your browser, in Dropbox.com, navigate to and open the folder you created in Step 2 of “Setting Up External Folder Sync for Beeminder” above (EFS for short). You’ll find a folder inside named “Draft.” Open that “Draft” folder.
  4. Now you’ll see a list of the texts that you added to EFS in EFS Step 4.G. For each of those files:
    1. Copy a “sharable link.”
    2. Return to the Beeminder page and paste the “sharable link” into the URL list box. Be sure to tap “enter” after each one.
  5. Now you have a list of the texts you’d like to word count, each separated from the next by an “enter.” Go ahead and finish setting up your Beeminder goal.

You’re done! Be sure to close your project or choose “File > Sync > With External Folder Now” in Scrivener each day to log your word counts to Beeminder.

How to Beemind new Scrivener files

One of the joys of Scrivener is the ability to break the stuff you’re writing into small chunks so that the text never gets overwhelming. But that means adding a file, which means adding another file to the list that Beeminder tracks.

I wish that I could tell you that Beeminder will automatically start counting new text files that appear in your EFS folder—but it won’t. It only monitors individual files. So whenever you add a new text to your Scrivener project that you’d like to have counted, you’ll have to add it to the URL list that you created when you set up your goal.

First, if you’re using a keyword search as in EFS Step 3.A, be sure to add the keyword to your new file(s).

After you close your project (or choose File > Sync > With External Folder Now), the new file(s) will be added to your EFS folder.

From there it’s pretty easy—just go to the “Settings” area of your Beeminder goal and scroll down. You’ll find the URL list there. Follow Step 4 above to add your new URLs to the list. But—you will need to remember to do this for every new file you want counted. (This is the other 10% of the “90% automatically”.) But if you were doing this in any other writing software you’d still have to remember to add new files unless you kept your work in a monolithic plain text file.

That’s it! Happy word count tracking!

Outlining, At Last? #amwriting @ScrivenerApp

Story Genius, by Lisa Cron

Story Genius, by Lisa Cron is the Unified Field Theory of storytelling.


Those of you who have been watching me struggle with Pantsing v. Plotting (iThoughts and the Dreaded Outline, Movin’ On Down the Productivity Highway, Back To Work, Or NaNoWriMo Waits For No One, et. al.) know that I’ve blogged several “breakthroughs” about outlining that, well, have come to almost nothing. There’s always been something “wrong” with the systems I’ve looked at—Too rigid. Too much information to fill out that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with my story. Terminology straight out of an MFA program that doesn’t mean anything to me—even after I look it up. Directions to not let the outline be a straitjacket—but then I can’t let go of treating it like an engineering specification. Something. Always. Doesn’t. Work.

Well, if I can’t use Story Genius, by Lisa Cron to plan a novel, I’ll—strongly consider giving up writing and starting a knitting blog.

Ms. Cron explains why just sitting down and writing doesn’t work. She explains why plotting doesn’t work. She explains why most character bios are bunk. Instead, her thesis is that a story is NOT a series of things that happen (plot), not even if it has some interesting characters. Rather, it is a series of events that force its protagonist to change, to learn some specific lesson in some specific way. Every story. Yes, that one. That other one, too. Even “Grog Survived Being Almost Eaten By A Cave Lion.” Her list of academic references are impressive. Her system is—a lot of hard work.

But it’s work I need to do.

Ms Cron suggests that a would-be author (me) needs to select the lesson that the protagonist will learn in the course of the novel, and create very specific backstory that will make it absolutely necessary for the protagonist to learn that lesson. This creates a coherent focus on the specific theme I choose for the novel.

What? Me, focus? (Laughs derisively.)

Exactly. The world of Fane of Air and Darkness (FOAAD), The Bully Trap, and several other partly-finished stories, is one I’ve been thinking about, building, and creating a history regarding, for more than five years. That’s a lot of backstory, most of it sloshing around in my head. Following Ms Cron’s “blueprinting” process is forcing me to narrow my focus to only those backstory elements that have to do with FOAAD, and to write them down in sufficient detail to build a story with them. It forces me to look at contradictions. It forces me to put certain aspects of the Fraser and Spencer universe aside, as they will confuse the issue of FOAAD.

It’s slow going. Things that have nothing to do with FOAAD keep wanting to take over my brain and my keyboard. There are things that I know I’m going to have to cut from what I’ve already written. There are things I’m resolutely going to have to decide to, well, explore in a sequel. And of course, I’ve spent far more hours than I probably ought to have done, re-structuring my Scrivener project to accommodate this new method. (If you’re interested, Gwen Hernandez wrote an excellent article on this, Using Scrivener with Story Genius and included her Scrivener template which I’ve shamelessly perverted to my nefarious purposes.)

Dammit.

I want to shove it all in, and it’s hard work building a dam to keep irrelevant (for now) stuff out. But already I can feel the urgency building in my backstory—which is going to explode on the page in the story itself.

Ok, if writing a novel were easy everyone would do it. But keeping cats out of my knitting is much more soothing.

Revisiting Beeminder, January 2017 #amwriting @ScrivenerApp

My Beeminder Goals

I’ve expanded my use of http://beeminder.com quite a bit.


Beeminder has undergone a few changes in the past year—they’ve cut back on their free options (though it’s still usable free—just not as generously as in the past.) As a result, I’ve started a $4/month subscription. It’s worth it to me, just to be able to run more than three goals at once.

As you can see above, I’ve actually got seven Beeminder goals active. I’ve stated previously that I know I can’t handle more than three or four—what’s changed?

First, I’ve gotten myself a Bluetooth blood pressure monitor (Withings) as well as a WiFi-connected scale (also Withings). With these in place, a lot of data entry has gone poof. Instead, I can look at the tracking in Beeminder and say, “Oh, [Deity of choice], have mercy! WTF caused THAT spike?” and do something about it, without doing anything more than actually taking the readings. As long as all I have to do to get data into Beeminder is take readings, wear my fitness tracker, and work on my Mac (RescueTime), I’m good.

In fact, all is good except my word count. Lately my word count, to use the old Saturday Night Live line, “really bites the big one.”

I can’t get my word count into Beeminder directly. Scrivener remains stubbornly unconnected to things like IFTTT and Zapier. While I can track the amount of time I use Scrivener in RescueTime, I consider it highly unlikely that anything more sophisticated than tweeting word count automatically will appear in Scrivener 3.0. (Prove me wrong, Keith! Please!) Still, tracking word count in Beeminder is pretty hopeless if I have to have the discipline to do data entry every. Single. Freaking. Day. Even if Beeminder reminds me. Pleads with me. Flat-out nags me…

BUT—I’ve realised that I’ve stopped tracking only activities directly related to writing (Scrivener use, iThoughts use, Wikipedia (maybe), Evernote in my Writing notebook (maybe)). I started broadening what I had RescueTime consider “writing” back in October when I started the publishing push for The Bully Trap. That information is valuable, but it’s not writing time.

So I’m splitting “writing” into two goals—“Writing” and “Business_Hours”. Business hours will retain a goal of 22 hours per week. Writing hours will cut back drastically to 3.5 hours per week (included in the business hours goal) to make it easier to get started again. If it looks like I might derail, I’ll scale back the writing hours goal further, until I can succeed—and then start increasing it again. As I do this, I’ll adjust the activities (websites, apps, etc.) which are allocated to each category—on a daily basis at first, until they’re mostly right again.

I have to fight off feeling discouraged. It feels like starting over again—but it’s not. It’s cleaning up my act.

Besides, I have some True Fans out there. I have to keep on keeping on—for them. I’ve promised.

Want the Early Skinny on Scrivener 3.0? You Won’t Get It Here #amwriting

OK, so an email came recently asking me if I want to be on the Scrivener 3.0 beta test panel when it happens.

I said no.

I can hear you now: “What are you thinking, Silver Dragon? Why wouldn’t you want check out all the cool new features and find all the bugs in Scrivener 3.0?”

The short answer is that I don’t want to spend hours chasing bugs. I’m too much of a nitpicking perfectionist—and my vision of perfection doesn’t always match that of Literature and Latte. Besides, I did that for a living too damn long.

Yes, I produced some good blog posts as a result of being part of the iOS Scrivener beta team. But I’m convinced that the hours I spent on beta testing materially delayed releasing The Bully Trap. Besides, it’s stressful. If Scriv 3.0 is buggy when it comes out, getting work done with Scriv 2.8 will be… challenging. Not that I would—I’d spend hours reproducing bugs, documenting bugs, explaining bugs, explaining bugs again, finding more bugs that were uncovered after the first dozen were squashed…

The end result would be six weeks of beta in which I got one week of writing done. Again. No.

Just no.

Scrivener iOS-only Workflow: Tables and Lists @ScrivenerApp

Harvard_notes
It was the first entry in the Scrivener iOS Knowledge Base: Scrivener iOS doesn’t support creating or expanding indented bulleted lists, indented numbered lists, or tables. Check out the linked Knowledge Base article if you want to know why; but such a high percentage of the beta testers asked about this that I immediately thought—“How can I work around this?” Answering that question took me through a lot of iOS productivity apps and got me into long discussions with the developer, Keith Blount. Here are the answers I found:

If you have Mac or Windows Scrivener and have access to it regularly, your best practice is to use your Mac or PC Scrivener to deal with tables and lists. But if you’re an iOS-only Scrivener road warrior or you spend extended time away from your PC or Mac, read on.

In iOS Scrivener you can edit line items in indented lists, and cell contents in tables. You just can’t add list items, change list indentation, or modify table structure. Again, if you have Mac or Windows Scrivener and can live with the list and table structures you’ve got—until you get back to your computer—your best practice is to do so.

If you can live with unformatted lists and tables, another option is just to defer adding or formatting these visual elements until after you’ve compiled your project, and can use Pages or Microsoft Word to add final formatting.

But maybe that won’t work for you. You need these elements in your iOS-only project. Be aware that full formatting for Harvard-style lists is astonishingly rare on iOS. Table support is more common, but still hard to find—Scrivener is hardly alone in this. Read on for ways to add them while making certain that they’ll come out of Scrivener’s compile process in reasonable order.

The apps I mention below are NOT a complete list—they are only the apps I’ve tested for list and table integration with Scrivener iOS. If you have an editor that I haven’t tested, give it a try! Please let me know how it works! (By the way, I get no money if you buy any of these apps.)

Apps for Markdown (HTML) Lists and Tables

A good Markdown editor will let you compose simple tables, and indented lists (without complex formatting). Scrivener can import either HTML files or RTF files, but retains more formatting if your Markdown editor can export in RTF.

Choose a Markdown editor that supports tables and that will export either RTF (preferred) or HTML via Open in. Two that I’ve tested that work are iA Writer, and Matcha (NOT Matcha 3! Only the older version works.) I prefer Matcha because it will export in RTF, while iA Writer will only do HTML. Byword’s documentation suggests it will work as well as Matcha, but I haven’t tested it myself.

Two Markdown editors that will not work with tables are Daedalus Touch and Ulysses. If you already have these—they’re fine for lists, but have no table support. They also export only HTML, not RTF.

Apps for Harvard-style numbered lists

The only app I’ve found that will export well-formed Harvard outlines in .rtf format is Notability. Pages, Word, and Google Docs all insist on exporting in .docx, and .docx documents run afoul of the same problems that keep Scrivener iOS from doing its own tables and lists to begin with. If you’d prefer these, be aware that you will need to export to a document converter such as Doc Convert, and export from there into Scrivener.

Apps for more complex tables

I had good success with OfficeSuite Free by MobiSystems. That’s right, free. The default table style works fine when exported to Scrivener as .rtf. The fancy table styles I tried didn’t work so well, but I didn’t stop to play with all of them, and there are quite a few.

The bad news is that OfficeSuite Free has plenty of ads and refuses to export to some obscure file types unless you pay for an in-app purchase, but it is nonetheless usable as it stands. (You can buy the upgraded OfficeSuite Pro for $14.99 USD if you like.) Note that its nested bullet lists and Harvard-style lists won’t work in Scrivener—this is a solution for tables only.

Again, you can work with Pages or Microsoft Word if you don’t mind using a conversion utility to convert from .docx to .rtf.

Workflow pointers, or best practices:

Your general approach will be create and edit your table or list in your external editor of choice. Then, export an .rtf (or .html) file to Scrivener (via a conversion app if needed). Once in Scrivener, you can move the file to where you want it in your project.

  • I advise against copying and pasting into an existing Scrivener file; it means more work if you need to edit your table or list in your external editor and re-export. Instead, split your Scrivener document if you need to, and drop in the table or list as a separate file.
  • Always leave a blank line, plus a line with some dummy text (like “Delete me!”) below a table or a list in your original editor. For some reason, there needs to be that bit extra for the RTF file creator in iOS to properly end the list or table. Once you’ve exported to Scrivener, you can delete the “Delete Me!” line but still leave one blank line after.
  • Keep copies of your tables and lists in whatever editor you’re using for them. That way if you need to edit further, you don’t have to try to copy and paste out of Scrivener (or re-export the file back to your external editor.) You can just edit and export again.



iOS Scrivener — Resolving iOS-Only Sync Conflicts @ScrivenerApp

ID-100264847

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at http://FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Last week in iOS Scrivener — How to Resolve Sync Conflicts I talked about Scrivener iOS sync conflicts and presented a method of resolving them based on using Mac or Windows Scrivener.

But what if you don’t have either Mac or Windows Scrivener?

Once again, none of your words have disappeared. You can go forward with resolving sync conflicts using iOS-only tools. Again, you will need to spend a few minutes checking the versions of your file(s) with each other, and manually merging changes.

On each iOS device:

  1. Get to your projects screen inside Scrivener.
  2. Manually tap the Sync icon.
  3. Quit the app. (Double-click the Home button to reveal the app gallery, and slide Scrivener up to remove it from the gallery.)

You should have a “Conflicts” folder on each of those devices in the conflicted project — perhaps more than one. No worries, we’re on our way.

On your iOS Device with the biggest screen:

  1. Open the project that’s conflicted. Go ahead and open a Conflicts folder, now that you’re sure that your iDevices are not hiding un-synced changes.
  2. Dig down inside the Conflicts folder if you need to, to find the actual file shown as conflicted. Don’t open that right away.

Directions For iPad Resolution:

Setting up Quick Reference

  1. In your Binder, find the “original” file. Open it in the Editor. This is the version that Scrivener thinks is the best version. Slide right on its name in the Binder and tap the “More” button. Select Quick Reference.
  2. Go back to the version in the Conflicts folder and open it. You will have had to remove the original file from the Quick Reference sidebar.
  3. In the Binder sidebar, tap on the name of the project (at the top). In the Quick Reference list which appears, tap on the top item — your Binder copy of the conflicted file.
  4. Now you have your Binder copy on the left and the Conflicts folder copy on the right. Read through them and make needed changes to the Binder (left-hand) copy.
  5. Repeat Steps 2 through 4 for every file in the Conflicts folder(s). You may have to do it more than once for the same Binder file, in order to pick up both iPad and iPhone changes.

Now that you have your changes incorporated, move your Conflicts folder(s) to the Trash — you no longer need them. Delete them from the Trash, as keeping them around could cause conflict detection to get confused. Close your project and sync. Quit Scrivener as above.

On all your iOS device(s), just to be sure, go to the Settings app. Tap Scrivener > Reset Scrivener > Clear Dropbox Sync Cache. When you start iOS Scrivener again and sync, Scrivener will rebuild its date comparison information to be sure that all the dates agree everywhere.

What to Do If You Don’t Have an iPad (or have long texts in your project)

Instead of steps 1-4 in the iPad resolution above, I suggest the use of iDiff ($1.99 USD). This will highlight differences between versions and let you merge your changes in a plain text environment. You will need to be cautious when copying your changes back to Scrivener so that you don’t lose your rich text formatting.

iDiff Workflow

iDiff example

  1. In your Binder, find the “original” file. Open it in the Editor. This is the version that Scrivener thinks is the best version. Select all the text and choose “Copy” from the Edit menu.
  2. Launch iDiff. Paste your Binder version text into the green area.
  3. Go back to the version in the Conflicts folder and open it. Select all the text and choose “Copy” from the Edit menu.
  4. Switch to iDiff. Paste your Conflicts version text into the red area. Tap on the differences button (circle arrows in the lower left corner of the screen.)
  5. Now you have your text with all differences highlighted in the white area of the iDiff screen. Edit the red and green texts until the WHITE version reads correctly.
  6. Select all the text in the WHITE area and copy it. Select all the text in the GREEN area and paste the text from the White area over it.
  7. Repeat Steps 3 through 6 for every file in the Conflicts folder(s). You may have to do it more than once for the same Binder file, in order to pick up both iPad and iPhone changes.

Now the white area in iDiff has the corrected version of your text. Copy and paste this back into Scrivener. If your text has no formatting, you can just replace it all; otherwise, copy and paste in chunks, using “unstyled paste” to preserve your formatting where necessary.

Now that you have your changes incorporated, just as in the iPad workflow, move your Conflicts folder(s) to the Trash and then delete them. Close your project and sync. Quit Scrivener as above on all devices, and reset the Dropbox caches.

Nuclear Option

In rare cases, you may get repeated sync warnings on iOS and continued creation of conflict folders, despite having followed the directions above. If this happens to you:

  1. Don’t proceed with sync!
  2. Quit Scrivener on both iOS devices as described above.
  3. Open the project in iOS Scrivener on ONE device (I’ll call this the master device) and make sure it’s correct. Follow one of the above processes if needed.
  4. Make a backup by going to your Projects screen, tapping Edit, selecting the conflicted project, and tapping the export button. Save the backup to Dropbox outside the Dropbox sync folder.
  5. Quit Scrivener on the master iOS Device as described above.
  6. In the Dropbox app, move the original project out of the Dropbox sync folder. This should have the result of deleting the project from iOS Scrivener.
  7. Back in iOS Scrivener, manually sync your projects. If the conflicted project reappears, tap Edit above the Binder, select the offending project, and tap Delete. Keep doing this until the project is completely gone on both iOS devices.
  8. Back in the Dropbox app, move the original project back to your Dropbox sync folder.

Now you may safely sync iOS Scrivener on all devices to get the clean project. If it’s a large project, be sure you’re on a good connection, preferably WiFi.

Next up: iOS-only tables.



iOS Scrivener — How to Resolve Sync Conflicts @ScrivenerApp

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at http://FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It happened. You were working on your iPhone on your lunch hour, and you switched away from Scrivener to answer a text, forgot that you had your project open, and locked your phone. Then you went to a coffee shop after work and started work on the very same file on your iPad. You received no warning. You closed your Scrivener project and it was automatically backed up over Wi-Fi. Then you pulled out your phone to let your Significant Other know that you’re finally on your way home — and remembered.

With fear and trepidation, you opened Scrivener on your iPhone. You’re in the middle of the document you’d been editing all day — and none of your iPad changes were there. You closed the project, your automatic sync started . . .

And you got the dreaded “Conflicted Files” warning. When you tapped away the alert, a nasty yellow “Conflicts” folder appeared in your project.

Don’t Panic!

None of your words have disappeared. You will need to spend a few minutes checking the versions of your file with each other, and manually merging changes. That’s all. If you have Scrivener for Mac/PC, try this:

On each iOS device:

  1. Get to your projects screen inside Scrivener.
  2. Manually tap the Sync icon.
  3. Quit the app. (Double-click the Home button to reveal the app gallery, and slide Scrivener up to remove it from the gallery.)

You should have a “Conflicts” folder on each of those devices in the conflicted project — perhaps more than one. No worries, we’re on our way.

On your Mac/PC:

  1. Open the project that’s conflicted. It will update, show another alert about conflicts, and then that (those) yellow folder(s) will show up. Go ahead and open a Conflicts folder, now that you’re sure that your iDevices are not hiding un-synced changes.
  2. Dig down inside the Conflicts folder if you need to, to find the actual file shown as conflicted. Don’t open that right away.
  3. In your Binder, find the “original” file. Open it in the Editor. This is the version that Scrivener thinks is the best version. Make a snapshot of it.
  4. Go back to the version in the Conflicts folder. Choose Edit > Select All. Choose Edit > Copy.
  5. Back in the Binder version, Choose Edit > Select All. Choose Edit > Paste.
  6. In the Snapshots pane, click the Compare button. Walk through your changes by using the arrow buttons in the Snapshots pane. Correct the Binder copy as needed.
  7. Repeat Steps 2 through 6 for every file in the Conflicts folder(s). You may have to do it more than once for the same Binder file, in order to pick up both iPad and iPhone changes.

Now that you have your changes incorporated, move your Conflicts folder(s) to the Trash — you no longer need them. Delete them from the Trash, as keeping them around could cause conflict detection to get confused. Quit Mac/PC Scrivener.

Back on your iOS device(s), just to be sure, go to the Settings app. Tap Scrivener > Reset Scrivener > Clear Dropbox Sync Cache. When you start iOS Scrivener again and sync, Scrivener will rebuild its date comparison information to be sure that all the dates everywhere agree.

Nuclear Option

In rare cases, you may get repeated sync warnings on iOS and continued creation of conflict folders, despite having followed the directions above. This rare event may happen if you use Scrivener on two iOS devices. If this happens to you:

  1. Don’t proceed with sync!
  2. Quit Scrivener on both iOS devices as described above.
  3. Open the project in Mac/PC Scrivener and make sure it’s correct. Follow the above process if needed.
  4. Make a backup outside the Dropbox sync folder.
  5. Quit Mac/PC Scrivener.
  6. In Finder, or File Explorer, move the original project out of the Dropbox sync folder.
  7. Back in iOS, open Scrivener and manually sync your projects. If the conflicted project reappears, tap Edit above the Binder, select the offending project, and tap Delete. Keep doing this until the project is completely gone on both iOS devices.
  8. Back on your Mac/PC, and still in Finder or File Explorer, move the original project back to your Dropbox sync folder.

Now you may safely sync your iOS devices to get the clean project. If it’s a large project, be sure you’re on a good connection, preferably WiFi. Or, transfer it via iTunes this once.

Next up: iOS-only conflict resolution.