Here’s a small tip that might prove helpful to folks trying out the new Scrivener for iOS.


Scrivener now allows syncing between the desktop and Mobile versions. To do this you need a Dropbox account shared across the devices, and in particular, you need to designate one particular folder for sharing projects.

If you, like me, have a whole bunch of separate directories with your projects, this is a disconnect. For example, I have a “BrokenTablet” folder that includes the manuscript as well as cover art, notes, marketing materials, a Tinderbox database of the story universe, etc.

I’ve seen official recommendation to (semi-temporarily) move all your scriv projects, but this is a bit hacky, and you lose context back to the original larger project.

For projects that stand alone, like my huge “ideas” Scrivener file (which has grown to include my daily work logs and more), I’ve simply moved it to $Dropbox/Apps/Scrivener. Easy.

For manuscripts associated with projects in other directories, I’ve used symlinks.

I’m a command line kind of guy, so I fired up terminal and ran commands like these:

cd BrokenTablet

so I’m in the directory with all my important project files, including the .scriv file.

mv BrokenTablet.scriv ~/Dropbox/Apps/Scrivener/

which cleanly moves the file into the new location.

ln -s ~/Dropbox/Apps/Scrivener/BrokenTablet.scriv .

Yep, the dot at the end is significant. Possibly it would’ve been better the other way around–keeping the original files with the project and putting the symlink in the shared location. Oh well, it’s easy to change later.

With the symlink, the same files appear to be in two places at once. Changes made in either place have the same effect. I’m not sure if there are some downsides I haven’t yet encoutned. For example, it’s quite possible that Dropbox is uploading the changed files twice, if it’s not smart enough to realize the underlying common sources.

If you try this, let me know how it works. If you have advice on how to further improve this, comment below. Thanks!