Blank text documents

Help! Today I discovered that in one of my Scrivener projects, every text document created before August of 2016 is blank. (I know the date because all the titles include the date written) The documents are all there in their folders. The title of the documents are there, but all the words in the documents are gone and they show Zero words. I absolutely would not have deleted these words, as it is valuable source material for a series of books I’m writing.

I don’t use Dropbox and didn’t open the files on a different device – I know those can cause problems. I’m hoping there’s a setting that I inadvertently changed. Please help. I’m a professional writer and if all this is gone, it’s a severe blow.

Where is your project saved? On the local HD or somewhere else?

My project was saved on my hard drive, on Carbonite and on 2 drives I use for manual backup.

I finally found an old backup from last May that has my old documents still intact, thank goodness. I’m really paranoid about using Scrivener now if words can just disappear within a file. I guess I will just have to make more, different kinds of backups and keep them longer.

Do you know what can cause this? I will do everything possible to prevent this from happening again.

No, not withoit knowing what you did, how you use Scrivener, version, how you save, how your Binder looks and how you organize your text, and how you use Scrivenings mode, and so on. Without knowing anything more than what you wrote in your first post it’s impossible to guess.
What is Carbonite and do you mean that you save the project simultaneously in four different places? If so, how?

A blank document indicates that the file listed in the master index used to build the Binder is either empty or missing.

The most common cause is that the project is incomplete. That can happen if Dropbox synchronization was interrupted, but also, for instance, if only part of the project is copied between systems by some other method.

It can also be caused by rogue cleanup utilities, for example if you allow a utility to delete “old” files to save disk space. (Or do so yourself, manually.) Since you’re not using Dropbox, I would tend to lean toward this cause.

To figure out what’s going on, it would help to know how long the files have been gone. Do you review older material regularly? Or is it possible that an incomplete project was copied to your current machine months ago (say, in August 2016) and the problem wasn’t discovered until now?

You might also search your system for other copies of the missing material. If it is indeed present, knowing where it ended up might give an indicator of the cause.


Well, sounds like it might remain a mystery. I haven’t used a utility to clean up old files, and I haven’t cleaned out these project files either. To back things up I use Carbonite, which is a backup utility. I also keep hard copies of all my documents and have two external hard drives that I manually copy files to. Without doing a lot of digging, I can’t say when this file problem actually happened. I haven’t needed to refer to the older documents in the project file for a while. I don’t recall what happened more than a year ago. I might have screwed things up without knowing it and just now realized it. Whatever, I appreciate the help!

When you copied and backed up projects, did you copy the whole project folder or only the .scrivx file?

The whole project folder.

Do you have Carbonite backups going back to the date of the missing material? I once helped a user who found that their Carbonite backups had the complete version of the project, while files were missing in Scrivener’s own copy. Carbonite was somehow interfering with the normal save process.

(Note that this was quite a few years ago, so the Carbonite bug that appeared to exist may be gone by now.)



Would the save and rebuild search indexes fix this problem? Is the master index the xxx.srivx file? or is it in the search.indexes file?

No, rebuilding search indexes will not fix the problem.

Yes, the .scrivx file is the master file for the Binder. It matches the document name you see in the Binder (“My Novel Chapter One”) to the actual file name on the disk (“123.rtf”).