All my footnotes have disappeared!

I’ve been using Scrivener 3.2.3 for Mac for a book project for the last few years, which I save on my hard drive and backup on close to my Google Drive. This morning, Google Drive notified me that it was changing the location of some folders (I can’t remember exactly, but something like from ‘favorites’ to ‘locations’?) I couldn’t really make sense of it but then I opened Scrivener and it couldn’t find my book project. Eventually I was able to download a backed up copy on my google drive, re-name it and save it on my hard drive, and start working on the project again. Everything seemed to be there. HOWEVER I now see that all of my thousands of footnotes have vanished :frowning:

There is a footnote notation in the text, but when I click on it, nothing appears in the Inspector.

I assume there is some file somewhere that didn’t download or is stored elsewhere? Please help!

Thank you!

We do not recommend using Google Drive to store live projects, for exactly this reason. It sometimes takes liberties with the internal structure of the project.

Was the backup you opened created by Scrivener, or by Google Drive? Do you have a Scrivener-created backup available? (You can locate Scrivener’s automatic backups by going to Scrivener → Preferences → Backups and opening the backup folder in Finder.)

oh jeez i wish I’d known that!

the backups seem to be created by Scrivener. Is there a way to tell from the filenames? The project is called “Special.” I’ve now saved multiple versions of it, in all the confusion. (See screenshots below)

When I opened the backup I downloaded from Google drive, Scrivener informed me that the location of the project as well as its backup were in the same folder, and that I should move the project elsewhere. I didn’t really understand that, because I kept the project in “My documents” while the backup was on Google drive (or so i thought.) I didn’t want to move the project elsewhere, so instead I moved the backup folder to Google drive (where I thought it had been all along.) I realize i’ve made a mess…Its all very confusing.

here’s are screen shots of the relevant files on my google drive and in “My documents” on my hard drive.

Hard drive:
Screen Shot 2022-08-05 at 12.45.33 PM

Google drive:
Screen Shot 2022-08-05 at 12.45.06 PM

By “live project”, @kewms means uncompressed project. If your backups are zip files, Google Drive wouldn’t mess with their internals, but it will screw up an uncompressed project. If you unzipped the project in Google Drive, you made it vulnerable.

I didn’t, I don’t think. I downloaded the backup file from Google drive, then unzipped it on my mac. all the files are there, except for the footnotes.

the question is, where are the footnotes and how do I restore them?

I think I told Scrivener to back up a zipped version of my project to google drive and ALSO told google drive to automatically back up the “My documents” folder on my hard drive (which is where I kept my live Scrivener project.). Oy.

You can locate the backups Scrivener created via the Scrivener → Preferences → Backups pane. I don’t know what convention Google Drive uses for their backups, so I don’t know how to tell which is which.

If Scrivener created a ZIP backup, then that file should be intact regardless of whether Google Drive then made another copy of it. Unfortunately, Google Drive does not necessarily honor file extensions in ZIP files that it creates. (More information here: Google Drive Advisory / Cloud Syncing / Knowledge Base - Literature and Latte Support)

To see the internal structure of a project, locate it in Finder, right-click, and choose the option to Show Package Contents.

To find your actual work, go to the Files/Data subfolder. There you’ll see a bunch of folders named with random alphanumeric identifiers. Each of these represents one item in the Binder.

Inside these folders, you’ll find a variety of files, depending on what the item is. ‘content.rtf’ contains the body text of the item (if any). ‘synopsis.txt’ contains the synopsis. Footnotes (if any) will be in a file called ‘content.comments.’

What may have happened is that Google Drive renamed the ‘content.comments’ files to ‘content.xml’ or ‘content.comments.xml,’ because it believes it knows better than we do what our files should be called. :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

If that’s the case, you can fix them by changing the file names back. (Do this on a backup!)


That’s probably not a good idea. Keep the live project somewhere else, where it’s not part of Google Drive.

Thank you Katherine! I found them and have restored the footnotes. Phew! Will not be using google drive for this project anymore!!

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But what if the zip file is in Google Drive and the OP unzipped it there? Isn’t it then a vulnerable uncompressed project? I wasn’t talking about making a copy of the zip file.

That is correct. If Google Drive can see it, it can $#@% with it.

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