Scrivener Quick Tip: Snapshots

This post is part of my Scrivener Quick Tips series

(I’m using the Mac version of Scrivener, v 2.2)

Today’s Quick Tip is about a feature I never use, but probably should use.  Snapshots.

Snapshots are a kind of like versioning, not a back up in the traditional sense. A software developer will write a piece of software and call it 0.1, then the next is 0.2, 0.3, so on and so on, until they reach a stable release of 1.0.  You can do something similar in Scrivener with your Scenes.  When you have a Scene that you’re thinking about changing up or rewriting in any way, you can take a Snapshot of the current version and reference it later, or even revert back to it.

They don’t actually recommend doing a Snapshot with your entire manuscript – that’s more like a backup.

So, let me put that all into context for you.  If I have a completed draft of my manuscript and I’m going to jump in and do a complete rewrite or new draft, personally, I would save the new draft with a new name, preserving the old draft.  Book Name versus Book Name New Draft, for example.

If I just want to rewrite a scene, or even a chapter within my draft, I could use Snapshot to preserve the original while I change things up.

Let’s take a look at my sample project:

Notice that I have Chapter 1, Scene 1 selected in the Binder.

To take a Snapshot of this Scene, I choose Documents > Snapshots > Take Snapshots of Selected Documents

Now, I can see my Snapshots in the Inspector by clicking Documents > Snapshots > Show Snapshots:

The text is available in the lower half.  If you take multiple Snapshots, they’re listed in the upper half:

At the top of the Snapshots pane in the Inspector, you have some options:

The ( + ) and ( – ) buttons let you quickly take a new Snapshot from the Scene you are working on, or removing a selected Snapshot from the list respectively.  Compare is a little more interesting.  This Compares the existing Scene to whichever Snapshot you have selected.  You can Compare by Paragraph, by Clause or by Word:

Clicking Compare shows you how the Scene has changed (new/different text is in Blue & Underlined):

Rollback will revert your Scene back to whatever Snapshot you have selected in the Inspector:

As I said in the beginning, I don’t use this feature much, but I can see where it might come in handy.

More Scrivener Tips coming (every Monday?)

Don’t have Scrivener?  You can try it free here (no, I don’t get paid for pointing you at them!).


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2 comments for “Scrivener Quick Tip: Snapshots

  1. April 23, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    Snapshots appears to be the Scrivener answer to versioning in Word. Thanks, Patrick.

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