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Tech Tuesday: Snapshots and Unused Scenes in Scrivener

If you're planning to revise a scene (or whole section of your MS), it's smart to keep a backup of the old version in case you change your mind. Especially if you're making major changes.

Within Scrivener, one option for keeping the original version of a scene is through the Snapshots feature. It allows you to roll back to the old version of a document, and is a quick, painless way to save a document version before you edit.

You can even select multiple documents and take their snapshots all at once (Documents, Snapshots, Take Snapshots of Selected Documents).

Unfortunately, the only way to tell if a document has a Snapshot associated with it is by looking for a tabbed corner on the document icon. There's no list of Snapshots available.

For me, however, the biggest drawback to using Snapshots, is that you can't compare the earlier version side-by-side to the new version of your document, or to other snapshots of that file.

So what's a writer to do? I've created my own system.

Under the Research section in the Binder, I created a folder called Unused Scenes. This is where I store any scene that I've either taken out of the manuscript, or a copy of any scene I've drastically revised. I do this for several reasons.

  1. Sometimes I want to mine the scene for use elsewhere in the MS.
  2. I can compare the old and new scene side-by-side in the Editor pane using the Split Screen function.
  3. I can quickly see which scenes I have old versions of.
  4. Storing these scenes in the references section keeps them from being calculated in the word count, while leaving them easily accessible.

The Snapshots feature has its place, and I still use it frequently, however, for major revisions I prefer to copy the file and move the old version into my Unused Scenes folder.

I'm sure there are other ways to do this. Any ideas?

For great help on using Snapshots, choose Scrivener Help from the Help menu, or view the Snapshots video at the Scrivener Tutorial Videos page.

Happy editing!

Need more help? Sign up for an online class, read more Scrivener articles, or schedule a private training session. If you don't already have it, you can download Scrivener here.

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  1. Christine


    I take a snapshot only to see the tab turned down. Gives me a sense of “the end is near.”

    I’ll need to check out references … and split screens? I need a one-on-one tutorial 😉

  2. Christine


    Okay, where is the “references” folder? I don’t have that… did you make it up? Is that like a “cut scenes” folder??

  3. Reply

    Christine: Yes, your “Cut Scenes” folder should be the same. You can call it whatever you want. I call it Unused Scenes because I used to store new, unplaced scenes in there too. I don’t do that anymore, but the name has stuck.

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