DT3-DTTG Scrivener sync

How does DT3 handle sync with regard to packages, particularly Scrivener packages? Does it update the whole package every time, or does it update only what is modified within the Scrivener package?

So, say, for a simple example, I change chapter 5 in a Scrivener package that is about 3GB to be titled “CHAPTER FIVE” instead of “Chapter 5”, does DevonThink sync the KB-sized rtf/rtfd file in question, or does it send 3GB of data to the iOS device (DTTG)?

Document packages are handled like files, the complete package is up-/downloaded after changes.

Why do you actually want to import/index the Scrivener project and especially such a huge one? DEVONthink can neither display nor edit or convert it and for simply synchronizing the project to other computers Dropbox or iCloud Drive might be much more suitable.


Thank you for your reply. I am glad I asked. What I had initially envisioned was the contents synchronizing, not a simple package=1 file sync. I will probably look for an alternative local sync solution, or else consider breaking the Scrivener package contents into something DevonThink can sync. (“Cloud” servers aren’t what I am looking for.)

Just curious… what is the value of seeing into Scrivener Projects from DEVONthink, when Scrivener has some terrific file and project searching capabilties.

Scrivener is a tool meant to produce final documents, not as an information “warehouse” (or whatever you want to call it). I of course put my final versions of documents produced from Scrivener into DEVONthink. Looking into Scrivener’s project files/folders may, maybe, lead to some corruption of those files. Only Scrivener is designed to work with that stuff. Just a thought.

I just misunderstood the capabilities of DEVONthink sync. Having an information/document manager (DT) that syncs to my mobile device, I thought could use it to sync my Scrivener package as well, since the package essentially consists of folders and files.

The reason DT doesn’t sync the package contents makes perfect sense. It also means I need to handle transfers/sync of that package/contents a different way.

The file is large because it contains massive amounts of story planning, pictures and drafts/notes in pdf and picture form from before I had Scrivener. That seems to be the main issue.

I just have to figure out now whether I keep trying to keep everything together in Scrivener and find a local sync solution (looking unlikely), or divvy it somehow into different storage containers, such as keeping the story in Scrivener and the drafts and notes in DevonThink. A pro to the first is being able to globally search. A pro for the latter is faster, easier transfer.

My recommendation:

in DEVONthink: Keep all the reference documents here. Could use Scrivener Research folder, but as you say the project is huge, this helps offload a bit for infrequently access files. For currently using references, can copy them into Scrivener Research if that handy, or just display Scrivener and DEVONthink in two adjacent windows. Whatever. Read “Take Control of DEVONthink” available on DEVON Technology’s web site. Have a scan of the outstanding DEVONthink Handbook to at least know what’s there for future reference. At minimum, read and implement syching as documented in the Handbook.

in Scrivener: to keep the current working version of the manuscript, notes, etc. For all the things Scrivener designed to do.

Using Scrivener: Write and Compile. use the Snapshot and Backup features to keep past versions and for backup. Use the syncing feature provided by Scrivener using Dropbox. All this fully described in their handbook.

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I plan to try (DTP2 + DTTG3) :

  • moving the project’s non-text files to a DT database
  • indexing Scrivener’s Sync with External Folder to the DT database
  • plan A: downsized Scrivener project stored in the DT database, (plan b: easier AirDrop)


  • Scrivener package reduced (probably from GBs to MBs), transfer stabilized and sped up
  • DT becomes the project’s united storage
    • DT sync keeps mac copy on the iPad, too—no leaving home without it
    • global search in DT—no need to search twice (DT & Scrivener) to find all references, because their indexed via the external folder

Potential Cons:

  • losing connections/context between non-text documents and related notes. Hopefully, DT item links, search features, and iOS’s 2 app Split Screen mode will mitigate this. Maybe on iOS the benefits for comparison will actually offset this
  • I’m iffy on non-draft text/notes export. It trades Scrivener features such as for DT features, but maybe external folder sync will address some of that. Pity there aren’t backlinks to open in Scrivener.
  • I frequently use Scrivener’s split pane mode to compare one text section with another. I don’t know if DTTG in iOS split screen with the indexed sync’d external folder will help or complicate that.


  • is sync automatic via iOS? —if so, what happens if Scrivener is open? can I AppleScript and/or iOS Shortcut to tell Scrivener to quit and DevonThink to sync?
    What if DTTG is not in the foreground on iOS or the iPad is off?
  • How do I tell if sync is finished?

If anyone happens to know of any adjustments or issues to be aware of, thanks.

DT2 experience: 5-10 years ago, read Take Control, Handbook, my RAM too limited then.
DTTG2 experience: lost a file in sync (user error?), Notebooks app enough at the time, collecting dust on iPad
DT3, DTTG3 experience: prefer it to v.2, partial read of Take Control, & Handbooks, especially sync, reviewed many videos and articles, and still feel like I haven’t scratched the surface. The sum of that trial suggests at least sync and index might enhance my data/document management and help keep portable the active files/notes from my trying-to-stay-paperless office,
Scrivener experience: macOS 20+ years, iOS since release.
How I got here: pointed to DT as a WiFi alternative by folks at Scrivener forums, because of issues with local file transfer of a 2-3 GBs . If cloud servers were what I sought, I wouldn’t be here.
Why no Dropbox, cloud/3rd party servers: that explanation would be too long to be helpful. After all, DEVONtech seems to understand at least some of the pros to local storage and sync.
Why unified storage: experience before Scrivener: scattered data over apps, folders, physical files, etc. has many downsides. Until needing to work sometimes away from the computer, Scrivener has been very good for a ~2.6GB. project.

DT Handbooks don’t address sync of Scrivener-type packages, and Scrivener guides don’t elaborate on WiFi transfer of projects. This isn’t a criticism of any developers. These are almost an accidental features, incidental benefits of the design. I’m stretching the software beyond its target because there’s no software known to me that provides my core feature set.

apologies, but probably way too complicated. i certainly can’t get all that you say.

focus on each product for how each works.

No worries. I accidentally replied directly to you, when I just meant it to be a general comment. It is complex. I only posted in the off chance someone does have experience/feedback on this setup. I expect to have to find out by experiment.

I suspect what you plan won’t work as you expect, but … I’m probably wrong. I’d be surprised if any but a few are attempting what you hope to achieve with these two tools, but I’m again, probably wrong. Good luck.