Strategic Usage of Snapshots in Scrivener

Scrivener is a powerful writing tool. I write about it weekly with tips and usage ideas. To read more of my posts click the Scrivener tag or category at the end of the page.

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Scrivener LogoI don’t normally write about Scrivener more than once a week so I won’t bore everyone with the same topic. But a situation arose that I thought I should really address.

Yesterday, someone who reads this blog asked for assistance with a Scrivener problem via Twitter. I was very humbled to be asked so I responded with a few suggestions as to what might be the fix (not knowing the precise details). In the end, the issue was resolved on the other end which was great.

Frustration stress and writers blockHowever, the problem brought up a subject I had planned on addressing in the near future regarding snapshots. Basically, the snapshot function works as a point in time backup of a document in which you are working. While Scrivener does make backups when you exit (unless you change this setting) and you can make backups whenever you want, a snapshot serves a more immediate purpose – a quick backup of current work to which you can easily rollback if necessary.

So, if you are going to make big changes to a document it might be worth your while to make a snapshot before doing so in order to get back to where you were without much trouble. Likewise, when adding blocks of content or trying to fix a problem it might be wise to make a snapshot to prevent lose of any current work.

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So how does it work? First turn on the Inspector by clicking on View, sliding to Layout and clicking on Inspector in the flyout menu. You can also turn it on via your keyboard with this command: Ctrl + Shift + I. The Inspector will appear on the right side.

Scirv Turn on Inspector

There are six buttons on the lower border, click on the second one from the right the get to Snapshots.From there you click on the + button to add a snapshot of the document in which you are working. It will show the snapshot with a date/time stamp. This is important should you make more than one snapshot. Before attempting to fix a problem it Scirv Inspect Snapshotsmight be good to take a snapshot. Should the fix work a second snapshot might also be good to have just in case it is needed. In that case you would use the – button to remove the oldest snapshot after highlighting it. Finally, you can use the Rollback button to go back to a previous document version.

So next time you’re about to make major document changes, take a snapshot. Then if something unexpected happens you don’t need to panic, just rollback to the original version.

Trading Knives 1Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section.

I’ll make an appearance on 8/13 in RRBC’s Book & Blog Block Party. Then I’ll be on The Lost Bow Blog Tour from 8/14-20. I’ll post more news about the tour as it becomes available.

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And one final tidbit – for those who might have seen it on my Twitter feed, I’ve been contacted by a teacher about including The Bow of Destiny in her curriculum. I don’t know much at this time other than it’s being considered. If it is, I’ll share more information ASAP. It’s interesting news at this point and another great reason to write!

To find out more about The Bow of Destiny, click over to one of these online retailers:


  BarnesandNoble      Smashwords

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IMG_4154-EditAbout the Author

P. H. Solomon lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. The Bow of Destiny is his first novel-length title with more soon to come.

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  1. I have read your blog for a while now, and my first response when I have a problem with Scrivener (not often, love the program) is to contact you. You’re my Scrivener guru! Thanks for all you do to help writers who use and love Scrivener.

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