How to Use Snapshot in Scrivener

Using Scrivener Snapshots

In my pre-Scrivener days of writing, I used MS Word. It got the job done, but when it was time to revise I got paranoid.

  • What if I didn’t like all the changes I had just made?
  • What if I liked most of them, but not all?
  • What if deleted an entire scene, then two days later realize I needed that scene after all?

So I learned work arounds…

  • Save each revision as a new file (e.g. Sally and the Cowboy A).
  • Save deleted portions in a specific folder so I could retrieve them if needed.

Eventually, though I had versions A-Z on some projects—I edit the previous work before I write anything new.

While those methods worked, they weren’t ideal for me.

So Scrivener’s snapshot tool captured my interest the very first time I read about the program.

This tool is by far my favorite tool within Scrivener. It allows me to “take a picture” of my work before I begin revisions. Essentially it saves that version of my document in a unique way that is easy to retrieve while I am still looking at the latest revisions.

Snapshot is designed primarily for taking snaps of a single document, not for taking a shot of your entire project. That’s best handled by doing a back up.

How to Take Snapshots

A video version of this post is available here:

Like all things computer there is more than one way to take a snapshot. Today I’ll show you two.

First, select the document you want to take a snapshot of. Then from the menu toolbar, select Document → Snapshot → Take Snapshot (or Take Snapshot with title).

Document menu for snapshots

You’ll notice next to Take Snapshot the text “Ctrl + 5.” That is the keyboard shortcut for taking a snapshot—hold down the Ctrl (control) key and 5 simultaneously for an untitled snap, or Ctrl key, shift key and 5 all at once for a titled snap.

The Snapshot Pane in the Inspector

Another way to take snapshots is from the Snapshot Pane in the Inspector.

Inspector buttonIf your Inspector isn’t open, click on the blue circle button (pictured at left) to open it. This button is located in the upper right hand corner of your screen.

Next click on the camera icon. This will open your snapshot pane. To take a snapshot, click on the + sign.

Snapshot Pane

When you take a snapshot you’ll hear the sound cameras used to make before the advent of digital photography. You’ll also see your snapshot now listed with the date and time you took the shot and it’s title.

To see the text contained within that snapshot, click on the item listed.

If you’ve made changes you don’t like you can either go back to the original version by clicking on “Roll Back” or by copying and pasting specific pieces of text from your snapshot back into your document.

If you take snapshots as often as I do, you might want to add the snapshot button to your toolbar. (More on customizing your toolbar in my next Technical Tuesday tip.)

Have questions? Leave them in the comments below.

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