More portable Scrivener tips

As I’ve mentioned before. I mostly use Scrivener for my writing. Because I want to work on multiple computers/laptops I have made my Scriv install as portable as possible, by running it from a flash drive.

One other useful feature in Scrivener is the idea of template projects. When you start the software you get the option to open an existing project, or create a new one from a selection of pre-made templates.

These  can be customized to match your own writing process works and set to contain pretty much any information that you want. Their only real problem is that they, like Scrivener itself, are not really “portable.”

Even if you install Scrivener on multiple computers the functionality behind the templates isn’t good as they are stored in the user profile on each individual machine. So, if you create a custom template on your desktop called My-Template (for originality’s sake!) and are writing on your laptop, then the template won’t be available. Yes, you can copy them to each machine you work on, but that can be a pain too.

This is where running Scrivener from a flash drive can be a real help. The templates are just projects, like any other Scriv project. So, if you customize one to your way of working you can then save that as a regular (though empty) project to your flash drive with an easy to remember name (Such as “My-Novel-Template”). That way you know where it is at all times, it’s with you when you need it and easy to use too.

Creating a new project from this is easy. Simply follow the following steps:

  1. Load Scrivener
  2. Open the existing My-Novel-Template project from the flash drive
  3. Save it immediately using the “Save As” option,  giving it the name of your new project.

Hey presto, a portable version of your project! All ready for you to start hammering out the words!

3 Responses

  1. Hi there. Does your method of using a flash drive mean that you have to have Scrivener pre-loaded on the machines you use, or is the whole program saved there, allowing maximum freedom on where I work? Many thanks!

  2. Hi Robert, thanks for the question!
    The way I did it was to copy the installed program folder to the flash drive. When you run it on a new PC it will ask you to register the software again (this is localized per computer). After that you can just work as usual. The only caveat to this way of working is that things like templates are also stored locally. So it will create a new set when you first run the software. I’ve never done much in the way of custom templates, so it wasn’t an issue for me.

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