Syncing Scrivener with nvALT

nvALT is one great fast note writing app. After collecting your short notes for a long time into nvALT, now, it is time to use them in your writing. you have two choices:

importing: importing the notes saved in nvALT into scrivener. this is a simple method. The problems is, any of the changes you made in Scrivener will not be saved back into your nvALT notes. As a principle, I personally don’t like importing because all the notes I saved in plaintext in my dropbox folder will be eaten up by a proprietary file format…the reason I don’t like Evernote and confused about Tinderbox.

syncing: This is better method for working in Scrivener directly updates the notes in nvAlT and vise-versa. The best part, you are still maintaining your clean plaintext files in your dropbox folder. Suddenly you decide not to use Scrivener, well, everything is in you hard; open your texts in another editor. Therefore, my agenda is to show you a small trick to make the two best text editors work flawlessly together using Scrivener’s FolderSync feature.

  1. First, store your notes in nvALT, as a plain text file; in a folder in dropbox (finder). I call the folder nvALTnotes.
  2. Now, start up a new blank project in Scrivener. Before you write anything in it, go to File menu and Sync. Create a blank folder in Dropbox called Scrives and choose that folder in the sync dialogue.
  3. Now, open and look at the Scrives folder in dropbox. Scrivener has created two folders: Draft and Notes
  4. Delete the Notes folder
  5. Go to and install the small free app: Macdropany. What does the app do is create a symbolic link from your Finder to your dropbox. you can also do the symbolic link via Terminal if you are technically inclined. i am not. i go for the small app.
  6. Now, go to nvALTnotes folder–>right click–>Services–>Sync via MacDropAny
  7. Choose Dropbox from the list of cloud services
  8. Now, when the dialogue asks you to choose a folder in Dropbox, choose Scrives folder that you created above
  9. now, when the app prompts you to rename the folder, name is Notes (this is very important; otherwise, Scrivener will not sync)
  10. Finished.

Now, all your note files in nvALTnotes folder will be available inside Scrivener; and any changes you made inside Scrivener will be reflected in nvALT.


One thought on “Syncing Scrivener with nvALT

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  1. I’ve read a few of your scrivener related posts and I have to say, THANK YOU.

    I’ve found the information you provide by sharing your personal research workflow to be really useful. I just wish I would have had all these tools and resources at my disposal when I was actually still attending school.

    Anyways, keep it up, I hope to see more useful information from you soon.

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