Sync Settings

Opening Sync Settings Wizard

To begin syncing with either Scrivener or Ulysses, you will need to open the Sync Settings Wizard. 

You can open the Sync Settings Wizard via the appropriate option in the Sync menu, or by opening the Sync Panel and clicking on the Settings icon in the top-right corner of the panel:

Select your Writing Project

If you are syncing this timeline for the first time, the first step is to select your writing project:

  1. Click on the Scrivener or Ulysses icon, depending on which item you wish to use
  2. If you select Scrivener, a File Open Dialog will be shown. 
    • Select the Scrivener project file (MyProject.scriv on Mac, or MyProject.scrivx on Windows).
  3. If you select Ulysses, you will be taken straight to the next screen.

Select Sync Folders

The next screen allows you to select which folders within the project you wish to sync.

Narrative Folder

At a minimum, you will always need to choose a folder to sync your narrative to:

  1. For Scrivener: this is likely to be the Manuscript folder within your Scrivener Project, so that folder will be pre-selected by default. 
    • You can select a different folder if you only want to sync with part of your Manuscript, or with a part of your story that is stored in a different folder within your Scrivener project
  2. For Ulysses: select the top-level folder that will contain your documents for this project. 
    • Remember that everything inside this folder will be synced with your timeline narrative, so avoid selecting a folder too high in your Ulysses document tree that will contain items other than the story itself.

Entity Folders

In addition to syncing your narrative to a selected folder containing your narrative, you can also select folders to sync lists of other entity types, such as Characters or Locations. This allows you to build Character or Settings sheets within your writing program, and keep those updated with matching lists inside your timeline file.

To setup syncing of an entity folder, you should perform the following steps:

  1. Click on the Add Folder button, and choose a folder from your Scrivener project or Ulysses.
  2. Select the corresponding entity type from your timeline that you wish to sync with that folder
  3. Decide whether you want this folder to have a Flat or Nested structure (see below), and choose the appropriate option
    • If you choose a Nested structure, you will need to specify how the nested folder should work, as described in the next section

  4. Once you have configured the current folder, repeat steps 1-4 for any other folders you wish to select as entity folders for syncing

Flat vs Nested Structure

Flat Structure
  • The folder contents will be a flat list of documents containing no further hierarchy.
  • Any document you create within the folder will be turned into an item of the selected type (e.g. a new character in your timeline file)
  • Any item of the selected type you add to your timeline will be turned into a corresponding document directly underneath the selected folder
  • Any nested hierarchy you create within this folder will be flattened the next time you sync
Nested Structure
  • There will be a further hierarchy of folders and documents within the selected folder
  • When you select this option, you must choose how Aeon Timeline should treat new documents and folders that you create underneath the selected folder
  • You can select different options for folders and documents
  • You can choose to ignore items below a certain depth (e.g. if a Character Sheet will have sub-documents that you do not want brought across into Aeon Timeline)
  • Examples of nested structures are shown below

Example Nested Structure: Characters and Character Groups

Aeon Timeline allows you to organise your Characters into separate Character Groups.

In this story a number of well known pop culture characters will come to life in the imagination of a child narrator (who knows, maybe it is an allegory for loss of innocence or something). So in addition to the Child Narrator, we have a number of Heroes and Villains that we organise into separate categories to keep our timeline neat and ordered:

In this scenario, we know that our nested groups will only go one level deep, so we choose to limit syncing to only go one level down, using the following settings for the entity folder:

This means that inside our writing project, each top-level folder will correspond to a character group, while any document at the top level or one level down will represent a character.

We choose to Ignore all other documents or folders below these depths. This leaves us free to create additional documents inside our writing project, which will not be considered when syncing. In the screenshot below, the Backstory and Traits documents nested underneath Spiderman will not result in the creation of new character items in the timeline, as they are below the configured depth.

Document Properties

For every document that you sync, whether it is part of your narrative or inside an entity folder, you can choose which additional properties you wish to sync across into your writing project.

The following options are available when syncing:

  • Timeline label can be synced with the Scrivener or Ulysses document title
  • Timeline summary can be synced with the Scrivener synopsis, or Ulysses notes
  • Timeline color can be synced with: 
    • Scrivener label (i.e. color)
    • Scrivener status
    • List-type Scrivener custom metadata fields
    • Ulysses Notes
  • Timeline start date, end date, and duration can be synced with custom metadata fields in Scrivener, or Notes in Ulysses
  • Timeline properties can be synced with matching Scrivener custom metadata fields, or Notes in Ulysses 
    • Timeline list-type properties can also be synced with Scrivener label or status
  • Timeline tags are automatically synced with Scrivener or Ulysses keywords

Within Scrivener, most of these items are visible in the Inspector:

Within Ulysses, the values will be shown as keywords or notes on the Annotations tab.

Document Relationships

For every document, you can also ask Aeon Timeline to sync information on the item's relationships with other items in your timeline.

There are two ways to sync relationships:

Keywords The document will have a keyword added for each relationship the item has with other relevant items.
  • You can choose which item types will result in keywords being added
  • New relationships created in your timeline will result in keywords being added to your document
  • If you add a keyword to a document that matches an existing item name, a relationship will be created between the two items in your timeline
  • If you add a keyword that does not match an existing item, it will be added as a keyword to your timeline item instead

Custom Fields Additional custom metadata fields (or Ulysses notes) will be created for your selected relationship types 
  • A separate custom field will be created for each relationship type, meaning more specific information will be available in your writing project
  • Separate items within the same field (e.g. if a scene is witnessed by multiple characters), each item label will be separated by a new line
  • You can select from existing custom metadata fields, or choose "Create New" to add an additional field into your Scrivener project
  • In Ulysses, each relationship type will be shown under separate notes

Changing Sync Settings

You can change your sync settings (e.g. to add or remove particular fields), or to turn off syncing altogether, by returning to the Sync Settings dialog.

Changing Settings

Any changes to sync settings, such as adding fields and properties, will be applied when you click OK at the end of the wizard.

The sync status will be immediately updated to reflect the new changes. If you add additional syncing fields that already have values on both sides (e.g. syncing Scrivener labels with Timeline colours), we will not know which value you wish to retain, and you are likely to have to resolve conflicts between those items before your next sync.

Moved Project File

If your Scrivener project has moved, you can open Sync Settings to provide its new location. In this scenario, be careful to click on the "My Project has moved" button rather than "Remove Current Sync", so that your existing sync information is retained.

After selecting the new project location, you can click through the remainder of the wizard and confirm those settings are still valid.

You should only choose this option if the writing project is a copy of the original project, as Aeon Timeline will assume all of the existing links are still valid. If you choose this option and pick an entirely new project, Aeon Timeline will delete all of its existing items, since those items appear to have been deleted from the Scrivener project.

Sync with entirely new project

If you wish to sync with an entirely new project, you should open Sync Settings and click "Remove Current Sync".

You can then select your new project, and proceed with setting up your sync settings for your new project as described throughout this article.

When you choose this option, all existing sync information is erased (i.e. any links between Scrivener/Ulysses documents and timeline items will be permanently lost, and replaced with links to your new project). 

Stopping Syncing

If you wish to sync with an entirely new project, you should open Sync Settings and click "Remove Current Sync".

When you choose this option, all existing sync information is erased (i.e. any links between Scrivener/Ulysses documents and timeline items will be permanently lost).