Scrivener and Dropbox: Seamless Backup, Airtight Project Security

Scrivener and Dropbox

Scrivener And Dropbox: Seamless Backup For Airtight Project Security


I wrote my first novel when I was 19 years old. It was brilliant. It had everything. Action, comedy, horror, drama, romance. It was a tour-de-force.

It took two years to write, and as I put the finishing touches on it, a power outage wiped it all away. I had a backup. Because I was so close to completion, I was rigorous about saving to disk. One floppy disk. Which was corrupted, whether by the power outage or by my constantly overwriting the data on it with fresh file saves, I don’t know.

In less than a second, two years of hard work vanished.

Fast forward 21 years. An entire lifetime has gone by, and I’m looking to the horizon of completing a novel once again. But time and technology have advanced, probably over a soundtrack of angry cursing like the one I spent a night of back in 1994.


Cloud-based off-site backup is my backup strategy of choice for a few reasons. First, and most obviously, because anything that’s likely to corrupt my computer — an appliance plugged into my home’s electrical system — is equally likely to corrupt an external storage array — which is, likewise, an appliance plugged into my home’s electrical system.

Additionally, external storage arrays of the type hardened against that kind of local disruption are of the RAID 1 type — typically not only expensive but overkill for a novelist who’s storing nothing more demanding than text documents and a handful of images, HTML, PDF, and other low-impact file types.

My cloud-based solution of choice is Dropbox. Here’s why: Dropbox enables collaboration, is fully platform-agnostic and, best of all, it does everything a novelist requires (2Gb of storage plus file sharing) on its Free plan. (Additional plans are available, such as Pro which bumps your storage to 1Tb and adds expanded sharing tools for $9.99/mo)

While there are plenty of competitors, such as Microsoft’s OneDrive, Apple’s iCloud Drive, and Google’s Google Drive, none of them brings everything to the table that Dropbox does, nor are their solutions so set-it-and-forget-it friendly.

Integrating Scrivener and Dropbox as a Project Backup Solution

Here are the simple steps necessary to begin backing up your Scrivener projects with total ease and perfect peace of mind:

  1. Create your Dropbox account at
  2. Download and install the Dropbox desktop app for OSX or Windows
  3. Locate your Dropbox folder
  4. Open Scrivener, then open Preferences.
  5. Click the ‘Backup’ button on the Preferences toolbar.
  6. You should see a window similar to the following:

Scrivener Backup Selection

  1. Click the “Choose…” button.
  2. Navigate to your Dropbox folder and open it. If necessary, create a folder and name it ‘Scrivener Backups’. Click OK.

And that’s it. You’ve established cloud-based, off-site backup for your Scrivener projects. Safe. Secure. And immune to any calamity that could ever befall your machine.

Thanks for reading, thanks for watching, and as always: Do good work, and be good to yourselves and each other.

If you’ve enjoyed this post — and I very much hope that you have — consider making a donation in the amount of your choice.

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  • I wish I had taken the time to tell others. I started doing this about the time Dropbox came into being. Thank you for telling others. One other additional benefit, Imagine if someone stole your idea/story, having these backups with unalterable time and date stamps would be helpful legally speaking.


    • John Castle

      Helpful, yes; but airtight, no. The best “poor man’s copyright” I know of is old-school: Print the manuscript and mail a copy to yourself, take photos (or better yet record video) of the unopened envelope, seal and date included, then put that sucker in a home safe or bank’s safety deposit box.


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