Getting Started with Scrivener iOS

On July 20th, 2016 Literature & Latte released their long awaited Scrivener for iOS. I’ve now had over a month to work with it and my review of the app is very easy. I love it! This is a well thought out, very well designed app that does everything you need. What I would like to do here is get you started using Scrivener for iOS. It’s much easier than you may expect.

Before we begin, let me point you to the app itself as well as the builder’s website. You can buy the Scrivener iOS from the Apple App Store.You can watch a number of great videos from Literature & Latte‘s website.

Preparing for Scrivener iOS

There is a little work that needs to be done BEFORE you start to use Scrivener iOS for your projects. You probably have a number of .scriv files on your personal computer but they are on your Mac right now. Your iPad will not be able to access those files so you’re going to have to move them to a network that you can access from anywhere. To get the most out of the new iOS version you’re going to need a Dropbox account. I’ve had a free Dropbox account since 2011 and I’ve never gotten close to filling the available space. Make sure you install the Dropbox applicatiodropboxn so that your computer see your Dropbox as just another drive. The image shows my newly created Dropbox  folder (Scrivener) and the new sub-directory, Book One. This is where I will save my master .scriv file for my new novel project. If you already have a master .scriv file, move it to your new Dropbox directory. Take a moment to open the file from the new location in your computer’s Scrivener so that it becomes a Recent File. Now you’re ready to explore the new iOS application. Let’s have some fun. A number of posts discuss syncing your files between your iOS and your computer, but many of these skip over this very important step. So you shouldn’t.

Opening for the First Time

IMG_0302When you first open the iOS application you will see the screen very much like on the left. The only difference is you will not see any of the files you’ve saved in your Dropbox folder (at least not yet). The very first thing you need to do link your Dropbox account. Start by tapping the EDIT option (at the top of the left pane) this will open a number of options in the footer of the left pane. Next tap the gear icon at the bottom of the screen (as show in the image). You’ll be given three options, UPDATE FROM iTUNES, DROPBOX SETTINGS, UNLINK DROPBOX. I’m sorry I don’t use the iTunes option, so I will not be able to provide details at this time (maybe we’ll discuss it in a future post). We’re focus on using your Dropbox account. Let’s begin by tapping the DROPBOX SETTINGS option.

Linking Your Dropbox

We started by setting up your Dropbox to make this step so much eIMG_0303asier. After tapping the DROPBOX SETTINGS you will be presented the screen seen to the right. You will see two options, APPS/SCRIVENER and OTHER (image to the right). Tap your preferred option; I selected OTHER. Connect to your Dropbox account to the iOS app and then select the directory where you you have (or will) save your .scriv files. You’ll see the word CHOOSE at the top of the window and tap it once you have selected your directory. If there are any .scriv files already in the directory they will now appear in the main window (as shown in the right pane of the image above). That’s it. You’ve now linked your Dropbox account. Both your computer and your iOS device will work with this same Dropbox file.

Syncing Your Work

So you’re now askIMG_0308ing me, “why does everyone talk about syncing?” In the image to the left you can see can see a new file called TempFile and there is a little blue warning icon in the lower right corner. This icon is warning you that this file is considered not up to date. You need to sync the file. How do you do that? In the upper right corner of the screen (directly below your device’s battery icon) you will see a plus sign icon and a refresh icon (two circular arrows). This is the sync icon. Whenever you see the blue warning icon all you need to do is tap the sync icon. It will open a sync window (shown to the right) and you will watch as the files are updated. Just wait it oIMG_0314ut. One of my tips would be to always make sure when finished working on the computer file make sure you SAVE your project before closing Scrivener. This will help to make sure the latest information is saved on Dropbox. On the iOS device you will always start with the blue warning icon and will need to take a moment to sync your device before starting working on your project. When your finished working on your project on your device, make sure you work back to the project screen and sync again (if the blue icon appears). This may seem like too much work, it will reduce the chances of problems with lost information.

Creating a New Project

Let’s image your sitting on the dock looking over the lake while up at the cottage and suddenly a new ideaIMG_0306 hits you for a new project. You can start that new project on your iOS device. On the main project screen you will see a large box with a CREATE PROJECT written in it. Tap it. Now you see the screen to the left. If you don’t have a wireless connection at the time, choose ON MY iPAD, but I recommend to select DROPBOX. Some Scrivener projects can get rather large, and you don’t want to fill your iPad’s drive space with just one very large file. Also, even if you don’t have Scrivener on your computer at this time you may one day buy it and having your fiIMG_0307les in Dropbox will mean you can use the same files on both the iOS device and your computer. You need to then give your new project a name and then you’ll see the image on the left on your device. My new file is called TempFile. When you’re ready to open the new file tap the new box and you’ll see the image on the right. This is the default file. To quickly get you started there are two icons in the footer of the left pane that are very important; the plus sign (new file) and the folder with the plus sign (new folder). Click on the plus sign and give your new file a name and a synopsis (optional) and then tap OPEN. Now start writing.

Coming Soon?

As I play with the iOS application may put together additional blog posts. But as I said at the beginning, take the time to go through the blog posts on the Literature & Latte‘s website to learn everything you’ll need to master the iOS app.

– Stephen

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