Scrivener Backups and Snapshots Strategies Pt. 2

Hello to all the SE readers! Last time I posted, the topic was about Scrivener and backups. Today, I’m visiting a similar subject with Snapshots.

Story Empire’s very own Staci Troilo left a comment on the previous post (thanks, Staci) indicating her method of backup as well as her thoughts about snapshots:

So with that thought in mind, let’s cover what a snapshot is, why you might use this feature and how to manage them.

What Are Snapshots?
Snapshots are used to make a quick backup of all (meaning you can choose to take snapshots of multiple documents with a project) or part of your project within in the project. Scrivener saves as you work so point-in-time versions are not available without backups and snapshots.

Why Use Snapshots?
Why would you want to do this? If you want to make big changes but you’re not sure you will keep them, make a snapshot and you can revert to it from the project quickly and easily. You can also make multiple snapshots to include multiple options you may need. Snapshots work just like the name suggests and make a snapshot of your document(s) at that moment in time.

When Should a Snapshot Be Used Instead of a Full Backup?
Why would you use snapshots and not reverting back to a full backup? Simple, reverting to a full backup of your project is much more cumbersome than reverting to a version that’s internal to the project. The full backup is one that is taken (depending on the settings you’ve chosen) either when you close or open your project (or manually). The backup encompasses the entire project and is taken at a moment in time.

However, a snapshot is at least a part of your project and is stored within the project (so you get to keep them in a full project backup if necessary). It’s much easier to rollback to a previous version of a scene or chapter than back to the whole project, especially if you only want to restore a scene while keeping the current version of the rest of the project. This is called granularity and it’s quite handy.

Managing Snapshots
Snapshots are easily managed – especially if you take notes about the snapshot that indicate why you took it. You can access them from the Inspector bar (see my previous post about that topic here) as well as the fly-out menu from Documents => Snapshots (or keyboard command CTRL-5). To take a snapshot with a title use CTRL-Shift-5.


You know if a document has a snapshot if document icon appears anywhere with a “dog-ear” ( turned-down corner on the document icon in the binder, cork-board or outliner). I took a snapshot of this document as an example of what you should look for. Also, when you have the Inspector bar turned-on you can view available snapshots of a document by clicking on the Snapshot button.

If you want to roll the document back to a previous version, you select that version from the list and click the Rollback button. However, make sure you really want to do that or you can otherwise cover yourself by making a current snapshot before rolling back to a previous version – look before you leap!


To further manage a list of snapshots in the Inspector, you can right-click on the snapshot to choose delete or use the minus button to delete.

Getting back to Staci’s comment, a snapshot is quick and easy. Also, you don’t have to create new documents to manage within your project which eliminates confusion (who wants to spend time editing the wrong document?). Just remember to snapshot before rolling back and do it with a title so you know why you made it.

To read more about snapshots, from Scrivener click Help, then Scrivener Manual and go to Chapter 15.6.

Using snapshots allows you to keep different versions of documents inside your project so you can revert back to them easily. It also has the benefit of being backed-up with the full project. Backups keep your overall data safe and easily accessed in case something goes wrong. Snapshots allow you to keep differing versions of your documents within the project. But both can be very useful for data protection and editing.

I hope this helps you with keeping your document straight. Do you use snapshots in Scrivener? If so, let everyone know how you’ve used it to benefit your writing process. Do you see any use for it in your current work? Leave your answers and thoughts in the comments section below this post and I’ll reply as soon as I can.

P. H. Solomon

24 thoughts on “Scrivener Backups and Snapshots Strategies Pt. 2

  1. This sounds like yet another great Scrivener tool…another reason for those of us who haven’t taken the time to learn the program to buckle down and make an effort. Thanks for an informative post, P. H.!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I knew about snapshots in Scrivener, but have never used them. I’ve been doing the same thing as Staci described in her comment. Now that I know more about snapshots, I’ll be using them more often. Good post, P.H.

    Liked by 1 person

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