All research is GONE

and no I am not kidding, Three years of research links and documents are gone now, from all versions of the file. This is what I consider a very serious problem


In fact, all is gone, except the two RTF files done in Scriv 3, maybe.

:blush: :imp:

(And my backing on other areas of the drive saved me, I do have a backup of the backup, but working across devices is not going to happen until you fix this little issue)

Do you have any backups you can use? TimeMachine? Super Duper?

Do you have any archives you can use? (e.g. I title my projecst something like this MyProject-2017-12). If you have archived by month then go back to an earlier version?

Have you checked the trash? Perhaps you unintentionally put there. Nothing gets auto-trashed.

Another alternative: duplicate your most recent project. On the duplicated project right-click (or control-click). Choose Show Package Contents. Then see if there is anything in the folder named Files.

I’ve never heard of something like this happening so it’s very strange. Hopefully the support at L&L can help you even mnore than me!

I’m not sure what you mean by:

How are you working across devices? Dropbox? Something else?

For example, with Dropbox it is essential that you let all Dropbox sync finalize before closing down one computer. Otherwise exactly what happened to you can happen. But that’s not a Scrivener issue, that’s a “knowing how to use Dropbox” issue.

At any rate it’s important to be specific about what happened. Otherwise we’re just guessing.

This is why we encourage people to have backups. There are a number of things that might have happened that have nothing to do with Scrivener.

What devices are you working between, and what service are you using to connect them?

Are the versions of the project on those other devices current?

Do other users have access to any of those other devices?


I don’t know if this is still the case, but when I started using Scrivener there was a warning that you shouldn’t have a project open on more than one device at a time.

So (in those days anyway) you shouldn’t have The Novel open on both your MacBook and your iPad at the same time, because if you made changes on one it would make them on both. Or so I understood it.

This so terrified me that I only use Pages to write on my iPad, I never use Scrivener on anything but my MacBook. And I don’t open Scrivener on old computers for fear of opening an old version of a project and having it overwrite a newer one with a version lacking many years of research.

Could I suggest that (after quitting Scrivener on all devices) you go back a month in Time Machine, download the month-old version of the project, rename it with a different name (“October 2017 Version of The Novel”, for instance) and then open that differently named project and see if it has your research (at least up to a month ago)?

Note: I’m just an ordinary user, I don’t work for Literature and Latte and my suggestion is only that of a user, not of an expert. You may wish for Keithven or one of the other programmers to comment on it.

The very best of luck with this. My heart aches for you!

That is still the case for opening the project on two different devices of the same type. You shouldn’t ever open a project on two different Macs, or a PC and a Mac at the same time. Likewise you shouldn’t ever open a project on two different iOS devices at the same time. You will still get warnings if you try to do that.

But, as for opening on iOS and the Mac—that’s fine. The sync system was designed from the ground up to make that possible and safe to do. All of the normal caveats apply, of making sure the open project is properly uploaded before syncing the device. Physics still matter—but there is no need to worry excessively over closing your project before switching to iOS in general.

Not that caution is a bad thing! I’m much of the same sort in that I don’t use sync for much of anything—even when I use manual sync technology where I have to click a button for it to happen I feel uncomfortable with it—let alone the fancy automatic two-way Internet-based stuff people like these days. I prefer copying the whole project around—even with iOS.

It worked for Sir Edmund Leach … 94.article

‘Edmund Leach had spent the war among the Kachin, after a year of orthodox fieldwork there, although all his original fieldnotes, photographs and draft thesis were lost “as the result of enemy action”’

I use IOS on both phone 6S, amd an IPad Pro and always close in between devices.

The service is Dropbox.

I guess will have to move material (Lots of Research) to notebooks.

What was your lost research on? A Mac or one of the iOS devices? And I’m not clear - do you have a backup?

I’m a hewer for backing up - I have a big bruiser of a backup disk, very tough, that I keep at home, and another that I keep in a friend’s house, to be sure to be sure. There are also various older backup drives from earlier machines. I got a scare a few months ago when I discovered two backup discs to be unreadable; luckily one had a Firewire option and I was able to transfer its contents to a different drive using Firewire; the other was a goner.

If you look on the Dropbox website and view the package contents then view deleted files / earlier versions, were the files there?

I keep a backup for a good reason. And nope, all the material is gone in the file that went back and forth. No problem. Made a backup of the backup… and looking into importing all that to Evernote, notebooks, any system that I can keep the research nice and snug. Hell, I might just copy the whole thing to Google Docs online. That way I can do my writing in an application where this has never, ever happened, with research in another application that has not had this issue

Once this issue is solved… I will look back at Scrivener.

Thankfully I am anal about keeping backups of backups.

Right, of course you should and did have backups. But for forensic purposes of actually figuring out what happened here, it would be useful to know when the last version on Dropbox was that had the research files in it, and what was done with the file between that version and the version with everything missing.

Sorry, but there is no such application.


Hm, if you think Google Docs or Evernote is the answer, good luck!!! Scrivener’s doc format is a simple folder, which is highly robust. You seem to assume Scrivener was to blame without any evidence to support this assertion, but it is more likely some other software on your system, or a macOS bug, or some other factor is to blame. You didn’t check your Dropbox history so can’t really know what caused your issue, but the large number of us who use Scrivener daily for years to store all our research / docs and projects attest to its robustness.

I mmmmayyyy have a solution. I just opened a project which contains (or so I hoped) all the notes etc from previous courses I’d run over the past few years.

To my grieved surprise, the Binder was empty, and all that the project appeared to contain was one short story.

But when I searched for a specific word, one of the documents appeared in the Binder, and then the others followed.

Perhaps this might work for you too?

Are you using the iCloud Documents and Desktop feature?

Several other cloud services have something similar, where documents live in the cloud and are only downloaded to the local disk as needed. This feature is known to cause weird disappearing/reappearing file behavior with Scrivener, and is not recommended.


I’m not. I hate iCloud and only use it when there’s no obvious other way.

If I read your description very literally: it sounds like you left a project search open when you last closed the project. When you opened the project, the search was still active and showing the one single file that matched the search criteria.

So you ran another search, one that perhaps more broadly included several documents, and now the binder has a few more entries.

Either way, the solution isn’t more searching, it’s using the Navigate/Collections/Binder menu command, or clicking the “X” button in the binder header bar.

If you can’t see Draft/Research/Trash then you aren’t looking at your entire binder, and we simply cannot make any determinations about whether or not anything is actually missing if parts of the binder are not being displayed.