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Scrivener For Chromebook

If you are a writer who owns a Chromebook, it’s natural that you’d want to use Scrivener on your machine.

After all, once you’ve mastered the Scrivener learning curve, and familiarized yourself with the software’s way of getting things done, it’s unlikely that you’d want to return to a more basic writing app.

Chromebooks are often used as portable second machines by desktop owners, and are also very popular with students due to their relative affordability in comparison with other laptops. Both user groups, not to mention countless other types of Chromebook fan, are prime candidates for Scrivener use.

Finding reliable information related to Scrivener and Chromebook is often a tedious process requiring the browsing of forums and blogs, hoping that the information found is reliable and contemporary.

Instead, your friends here at Scrivenerville would like to offer you something different. We are making this page the go-to resource for questions related to using Scrivener on Chromebook. We’ll strive to keep this information current. Please feel free to comment with any question you’d like answering and we’ll do our best to help out.

Is there an official version of Scrivener for Chromebook?

There is no official release of Scrivener for Chromebook. Currently, Scrivener is offered officially for users of MacOS, Windows, and iOS.

The creators of Scrivener, Literature and Latte, have begun to tease details about Scrivener 3, which is scheduled to release for Mac before the end of 2017 and for Windows sometime in 2018. However, there has been no mention of an official way of using Scrivener on Chromebook as of yet.

Is there an unofficial way of using Scrivener on my Chromebook?

We Scrivener fans are an independent group of people by nature. After all, to use Scrivener involves rejecting the most popular mainstream word processors in favor of something that is better but also less intuitive. It therefore follows that Scrivener fans are the type to find innovative ways of accessing our favorite writing tool, even on our Chromebooks.

There are numerous unofficial ways of accessing Scrivener via Chromebook. Some are easier than others and each comes with its own advantages and drawbacks.

We’ll now consider two of the most popular ways of accessing Scrivener on Chromebook, and also look at some of the lesser known methods.

Using Linux To Access Scrivener On Chromebook

Is there a way of using Linux to work with Scrivener on my Chromebook?

If you’re reading this and consider yourself to be fairly comfortable with tech, you might want to consider using Linux to access Scrivener on your Chromebook. This definitely isn’t the right option for everyone. However, if you like Linux and feel comfortable with it, it’s a viable way of accessing Scrivener.

How do I access Scrivener using Linux and my Chromebook?

There are lots of different methods available online, but one of the most popular comes from Joe Warnimont. The basic steps are outlined below, but please read Joe’s guide for more detailed info.

  1. Check your Chromebook’s processor is Intel based to get the maximum compatibility between Scrivener and Linux
  2. Backup all your data
  3. Enter Developer Mode (wipes your data, hence the need to backup first)
  4. Download and run Crouton, which lets you run Linux and Chrome OS together
  5. Install Ubuntu Linux from Crouton
  6. Download the current beta version of Scrivener from Literature and Latte (there is no official release, only a beta)
  7. Run Scrivener for Linux beta on your Chromebook

As you can see, the above process requires a fair degree of comfort with making modifications to your Chromebook. However, if you’re comfortable with Linux in general, you shouldn’t find the above steps too difficult.

It should be emphasized that the above process only gives you access to the Linux Beta version of Scrivener. This will be fine for some writers, but be sure to check the current info on the beta to make sure it offers the level of functionality and stability you require.

What are the advantages of using Linux to access Scrivener on my Chromebook?

The main advantages to installing Scrivener via Linux are –

  • Scrivener is stored on your Chromebook, unlike other methods. This can lead to a more stable performance and sidesteps any problems stemming from remote connections.
  • You support the Linux beta of Scrivener which is a community effort.

What are the disadvantages of using Linux to access Scrivener on my Chromebook?

  • Some writers won’t be comfortable wiping their Chromebook, entering developer mode and installing Linux.
  • The Linux beta version of Scrivener isn’t as stable as the Scrivener you are probably used to, and doesn’t have the same level of functionality.

If I am uncomfortable installing Linux on my Chromebook, is there an easier method I can use to access Scrivener?

Yes! Thankfully, there is no need to run Linux. In fact, there is a semi-secret method built into every Chromebook to access your full version of Scrivener. We’ll now explore it in depth.

Using Chrome Remote Desktop To Access Scrivener

What is Chrome Remote Desktop for Chromebook?

Like many of the coolest things made by Google, Chrome remote desktop is somewhat unknown. Every single version of Chrome (whether on Windows, Mac, or even mobile) has the Chrome Remote Desktop capability. It’s basically a way of controlling your desktop machine from your Chrome browser, no matter where you are.

What do I need in order to access Scrivener using Chrome Remote Desktop?

Thankfully, you only need a few things to be in place to use Scrivener on your Chromebook with Chrome Remote Desktop. They are –

  • A Mac or Windows machine with Scrivener and Chrome installed on it
  • Chrome Remote Desktop configured correctly on the target machine (this will be covered in a minute).
  • A stable internet connection for both your Chromebook and your desktop machine

If you have the above three things in place, you can use the following method to work with Scrivener on your Chromebook.

  1. Install Chrome Remote Desktop on your home machine containing Scrivener (it can be found here)
  2. Ensure that your PC or Mac is set to stay active. If the machine goes to sleep, you will lose your access to Scrivener until it is back online!
  3. Setup Chrome Remote Desktop on both your Chromebook and your home machine in order to get the special codes needed for access
  4. Test Chrome Remote Desktop on your Chromebook while at home to ensure you’ve set everything up the right way
  5. You can now access Scrivener anywhere you have your Chromebook and an internet connection

What are the advantages of using Chrome Remote Desktop to access Scrivener on my Chromebook?

The above method has the following benefits –

  • Far easier than installing Linux. Even tech averse writers have reported finding this method easy
  • Access to the full version of Scrivener. The experience will be the exact same as when you use your home machine, which isn’t the case with the Linux beta.
  • No need to modify your Chromebook as Chrome Remote Desktop is already installed.

What are the disadvantages of using Chrome Remote Desktop to access Scrivener on my Chromebook?

No method is perfect, so some of the potential drawbacks to using this method include –

  • Relies on a stable internet connection between your home machine and Chromebook
  • If your desktop machine shuts down for whatever reason, you lose your ability to access Scrivener
  • Chrome Remote Desktop uses a lot of data, so you should restrict your use to wifi, unless you have an unlimited plan

Alternative Ways Of Combining Chromebook and Scrivener

As things stand, the Linux method and Chrome Remote Desktop method outlined above are two of the most reliable and proven ways to access Scrivener on your Chromebook. We therefore suggest most users choose from them.

However, in the interest of providing the most complete info possible, we’ll now touch upon any other methods, either proven or rumored, present or future, by which you can access Scrivener on your Chromebook.

Can CrossOver be used to access Scrivener for Chromebook?

Crossover is an app which allows Windows software to run on Mac, and a version is being developed for ChromeOS.

In theory, CrossOver will allow you to run your Windows version of Scrivener on Chromebook. However, it’s currently badly supported by the developer, and there are no reports of users accessing Scrivener on Chromebook this way. It’s theoretically possible though.

Scrivener Alternatives For Chromebook

Obviously, this site is dedicated to Scrivener. However, there may be times where you choose to use a different writing tool on your Chromebook which you then combine with either your home or iOS version of Scrivener.

If you want to write in a different app on your Chromebook, consider the following options –

  • Using Google Docs with the Concordance add-on. Allows you to quickly and easily create and arrange content which can then be imported back into Scrivener.
  • Penflip. Has some similar functionality to Scrivener, but requires a monthly subscription for full featured access.
  • Novlr. Allows full-screen composition, project stats and writing targets just like Scrivener, but requires a monthly subscription.

Scrivener For Chromebook Final Thoughts

You now know the various ways you can access Scrivener on your Chromebook, the advantages and disadvantages of each, and some alternative options for writing on your Chromebook.

To summarize –

  • There is no official version of Scrivener for Chromebook.
  • You can install Linux on your Chromebook to access the Scrivener for Linux beta
  • Chrome Remote Desktop can be used to access your full home version of Scrivener for either Mac or Windows
  • Other native Chromebook writing tools can be used in conjunction with Scrivener

As stated at the start of this article, updates will be made over time, and this page will serve as an ongoing resource for Chromebook Scrivener users.

If there’s anything you’d like to know, or any experiences you’d like to share, please let us know in the comments!

Mike Thompson

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