2 Different Scrivener Versions Don't Match and Won't Update

Hi, first post here so hoping it drops in the right place. I’ve been using Scrivener just for the last couple of months, ordered it on my PC (v1.9.16.0) and then again on my laptop ( As I can’t save it to Onedrive and have the copy syncd, I have to save to USB and then take the later edition to my PC manually. However, when I do this, the PC version isn’t the same and can’t read the file. It says I need an update however when I ask it to update, it says it doesn’t need one - has anyone any tips on how to fix this? Thanks

I am rather new to Scrivener as well. But it seems to me that you need to upgrade your PC version to V3 as well. Scrivener in version 1.9 will not be able to read a version 3 project file from your laptop. So that is what the error message is telling you.

That your PC version of Scrivener does not see any upgrades has probably to do with version 3 not being an automatic update. It must be upgraded manually. They also switched the license management system. I would download and install V3 onto my PC. As license code you should be able to use the license code of your laptop installation – I think they allow multiple installs on different systems of the same user.

If you don’t want to upgrade you Scrivener on the PC for whatever reason, there is a second option. You could export the project on your laptop and use File → Export → As Scrivener V1…
The exported project should then be readable on your PC with the V1.9 Scrivener.

Someone of L&L will probably comment this afternoon, when their timezone in the US wakes up. Just wanted to get you going in the meantime.


Hi, @floella , and welcome!

As @NorbVor stated, Scrivener 3.x is a major update from the 1.x version and uses a different file format, hence the incompatibility. Since it’s a paid upgrade, there’s no automatic update for it from within 1.x (too easy to accidentally update and then be booted into trial mode, which can be a nuisance if you’re not interested in updating at that time). Instead you’ll want to uninstall 1.x and then download and install 3.0.1 from our website. Since it sounds like you already own a 3.x license, you can simply use the same info to register Scrivener on that computer.

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Thanks, so much, that’s really thoughtful of you to jump on. It seems that you’re bang on :slight_smile:

Thank you - will I lose all the work that is on the current 1. version though?

Scrivener V3 is able to read all your V1.9 projects, just not the other way around.

Of course, make back ups before you do anything :grinning:

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To expand on what the others have helpfully said, your projects aren’t stored in the program itself but separately on your disk–you’ve been moving them between computers, so you know they’re just folders with the .scriv extension, stored wherever you put them. Thus, uninstalling Scrivener won’t affect the project files, and once you’ve reinstalled the app, you’ll be able to open them again. When you’ve installed version 3 and attempt to open any of these older 1.x projects, you’ll be prompted to upgrade the project to the new format, and doing so will first create a zipped backup of the original (in 1.x format). As @gvdv says, you can also make your own backups ahead of time however you normally handle backups.

With the exception of some compile settings–because compile has been significantly overhauled–all your work in the 1.x project will appear in the upgraded project when you open in it in 3.x. Even the compile settings will be brought over as much as possible, so depending on the complexity you may not need to tweak them much, although there is a lot of new stuff that compile can do and you may find one of the new built-in formats works well for you, too. If you’re interested in digging more into that and the upgrade as a whole, there’s an upgrade guide you can download and work through. Since you’ve been using 3.0 already, much of it will probably be familiar to you, but some of the information on upgrading projects specifically may be of use!

Once a project is upgraded to the 3.x format, it won’t be able to open in 1.9.16–as you saw with the original problem of trying to go between machines with the two different versions. However, you’ll have the backup copy, and there is an option in version 3 to export into the 1.x format if for some reason you needed to do that.

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I should have said, too, you can keep 1.9.16 installed and install 3.0.1 alongside it on the PC if you have some projects you’d just rather finish out in 1.x rather than fussing with upgrading them. That will work fine; the two programs will use different settings, so altering preferences on one won’t affect the other. The main sticking point is that Windows can only associate one of the two with the file extension, so double-clicking a project’s file to open it in Scrivener will always open in whichever was the later of the two installed (e.g. if you leave 1.x installed and then install 3.0, 3.0 will be the default). You’ll always get the upgrade prompt and a chance to cancel before a 1.x project is converted to the newer format, so you won’t need to worry if you accidentally click an older project and it starts up Scrivener 3. To open the old projects in 1.x, you can drag and drop the project file directly to the 1.x app’s icon on the desktop or launch 1.x first, then open the project through the menu.

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Ah yes that’s a good point, thank you.

:crazy_face: yes, I already do that obsessively!

Excellent - it pays to be obsessive sometimes :slight_smile: