Scrivener On The Go Report: Author On The Move

I don’t ordinarily do these kinds of posts, Gentle Reader, but sometimes I report things for you because I need to chronicle things for me.

Gail Carriger On The Go Set Up: iPad Mini, bluetooth keyboard, scrivener iOS

First here is a great article on how to get started on Scrivener.

Here is are the tools I use to write on the go:

This setup is ideal for writing rough drafts on planes (tiny seat trays) and traveling in general without a laptop. However because it is not ergonomic I wouldn’t use it in the long haul.

So here’s my report on moving between:

Scrivener Native on Mac Desktop & Scrivener iOS on iPad


I’ve been using Scrivener for Mac on my MacBook Air for the last year. (Yes, I was a late adopter.) I use it for writing my rough drafts since editing (from developmental on) requires track changes, which means I must switch to Word (which I loathe, but that’s another story).

What I wanted Scrivener iOS to do is as follows:

  • Work on my iPad mini with my tiny keyboard (iWerkz Universal Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard, which I LOVE) on planes and in hotels while I am on the go.
  • This means it needs to work OFFLINE for sometimes weeks at a time (I don’t trust hotel wifi), and then sync when I get home and rejoin my home wifi.

On Dropbox:

I’ve only used it in a very limited capacity for transferring larger images. I’ve never had it installed on any of my iOS devices.

What I used before Scrivener iOS?

Evernote Pro.

Evernote has compatibility issues if you keep it open (in native desktop mode) on a home computer and also try to use it remotely on an iOS, or if you use it remote on multiple iOS devices at the same time. The work around for this is to ensure you only have Evernote open on one device at a time. So what I do before a trip is sync, close out, and shut down my home computer. Then I open and sync to my iPad. Reverse when I get home.

Step-by-Step Actions I Took with iOS

(Is the the point were I confess to having one worked in QA for The Learning Company? Yes, including Oregon Trail. I know ALL the ways to die.)

  1. Ensured both MacBook Air and iPad had updated software.
    1. iPad needed update to 9.3.3 ~ Updated
    2. MacBook needed update to 10.11.6 ~ Updated
  2. Researched Dropbox Syncing with iOS for Scrivener
    1. It assumes you have Dropbox and iOS already installed on iPad.
  3. Using desktop: Created a new writing folder in my Dropbox
  4. Installed Dropbox on my iPad
    1. Signed into Dropbox on my iPad
  5. Using desktop: Reorganized Dropbox for ease of regular use
    1. Backed up (created duplicate of) project I intend to work on
    2. Moved project to Dropbox
    3. Scrivener iOS wants to have ONLY scrivener projects in its Dropbox folder
    4. So I created alias link for the now cloud based project to live in my less limited desktop folder (no I don’t use Scrivener for everything, e.g. working cover art needs to be kept separated but still coupled to the project)
    5. Tested link for functionality on desktop with Scrivener
    6. Quit Scrivener desktop
  6. Checked for Scrivener Updates (Up to date at 2.8)
  7. Purchased Scrivener (for iOS)
  8. Followed the Setting Up Dropbox Sync instructions
    1. I did not use the default. I created my own named folder for my writing projects (defaults make me nervous, too searchable by virus etc.)
  9. Looked like everything set up well, so I opened the project on my iPad
    1. On a random notes page for next chapter I wrote sentence. Pressed Sync button. Pressed “Done” button. Quit App
    2. Opened project using alias on my desktop
    3. Scrivener desktop opened me to the exact part of project I had just edited remotely and my edits where there
    4. Success: while at home and always connected wireless!
  10. Testing for remote plane use, Airplane Mode: Desktop to iOS
    1. Made sure I was quit out of both Scrivener & Dropbox for iOS and desktop
    2. Put iPad in Airplane mode
    3. Opened Scrivener on my Desktop
    4. Transferred some notes out of Evernote (the old way I used to do this) and puttered about with manuscript.
    5. Saved the manuscript and quit
    6. Turn off airplane mode
    7. Open Scrivener iOS, synced as requested
    8. Open manuscript, navigated to what I had just done
    9. Found everything updated
    10. Success!
  11.  Testing for remote plane use, Airplane Mode: iOS to Desktop (THE KICKER)
    1. Checking safety net.
      1. Remote: if I type something and do not sync…
      2. Scrivener iOS warns me on the next time I open but saves the changes (presumably on the iPad)
    2. Working in airplane mode on the iPad, not being careful…
      1. Typed away for a bit
      2. Attempted to sync, received notification of no internet connection
      3. Typed more
      4. Swiped to quit without pressing “Done” button
      5. Last sentence still saved! (Good work Scrivener!)
    3.  Working in airplane mode on the iPad, what happens when I get home?
      1. Typed some more pressed done button
      2. Puttered for a bit, fixing a few things correcting spelling
      3. Quit Scrivener iOS
      4. Reopened, everything still good (perhaps should have quit again at this juncture?)
      5. Switched iPad out of airplane mode
      6. Synced
      7. Was told by app to “Close Project and Sync” did as ordered
      8. Swiped to close iOS app
      9. Opened desktop version
      10. Received a conflict notification from desktop. But new work seemed to be there. Not quite sure what I did wrong.
    4. Some issues I noticed
      1. The above syncing conflict seems to occur even when I quit out of everything in the correct order, but as the edits seem to be carrying over I am not too worried
      2. Existing documents created in the desktop and worked on the iOS do not show spelling errors


Scrivener really does seem to work well if both devices stay consistently connected to wireless, and you set it up as instructed.

I took it on my 10 day book tour, no wireless hook up and a few thousand words or so, and when I got home and synced up, everything went smooth as butter.

So far as I am concerned I have a new way of working on the go. Fantastic.

Cost: $20 (for Scrivener iOS)

Time cost for set up: 3 hrs (includes some writing & editing)

{Gail’s monthly read along for August 2016 is Alanna by Tamora Pierce.}



Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second

Rue and the crew of the Spotted Custard return from India with revelations that shake the foundations of England’s scientific community. Queen Victoria is not amused, the vampires are tetchy, and something is wrong with the local werewolf pack. To top it all off, Rue’s best friend Primrose keeps getting engaged to the most unacceptable military types.

Rue has family problems as well. Her vampire father is angry, her werewolf father is crazy, and her obstreperous mother is both. Worst of all, Rue’s beginning to suspect what they really are… is frightened.


Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Six Forgotten Female Pioneers of Photography

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .

Everything You Wanted to Know about Book Sales (But Were Afraid to Ask)

Book News:

*Poster Alexia

Fan Art of Alexia

Quote of the Day:

“Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be.”

~ Clementine Paddleford


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Posted by Gail Carriger

3 Responses

  1. Lynn Kramer said:

    I just had to say you are not alone in your antipathy for Word. I was so happy to hear you say that. The track changes feature is the only thing I think is useful about that program.

    I’ve had Scrivener for several years now on my home desktop. I’ve mainly used it for my dissertation notes, but I love it. I picked it up because I had an iPad and an awesome Note app (that was like a corkboard) that I loved, but nothing on my desktop. Scrivener was the recommended program. I passed it along to various friends and they are hooked too. Unfortunately, my iPad is obsolete, my desktop is Windows, and I have an Android tablet now. Hoping they come out with that version soon, though I am seriously tempted to get another iPad just to use the program on a tablet (it’s already on my laptop). Thanks for giving your opinion and showing how you went about hooking everything together. That’s great advice and I’ve bookmarked the post in case I do get another iPad (especially as I already use Dropbox). Hopefully, the sync will work even though I have a PC. 🙂

  2. Gerry O'Brien said:

    Word was the first piece of software I ever bought back in 1989. I loved it then. Simple, easy, a great product.

    These days, I prefer root canal to even a minor use of Word for anything.

  3. Bella Darkwood said:

    I’m glad it was a happy conclusion. Listening to the problem on Twitter was a little concerning for the state of things.

    So far I’m having mild issues with Windows 10 to Windows 7 Dropbox sync. Scrivener does not seem to be detecting that the file has been closed on the opposing machine.

    I’m counting the days until I can return to a Mac laptop.

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