Cannot Open a File in Scrivener 3 that I last edited 2 whopping years ago, because reasons

Obviously, I am on a Mac, with OS Big Sur, aka OS 11.2.3.

When I try to open on of my novels that currently has 40k plus words in it, or maybe it doesn’t any more if I can’t open it. Anyway, when I try to open said document, I get a dialogue box that says this so far unhelpful message:

"The project at “/Users/margaretmmcglynn/Dropbox/Apps/Testypoo/Rough-Magic.scriv” seems to be of an older format, but no binder.scrivproj file could be found inside it. It may be missing or corrupt, possibly because of a problem with the device on which it is stored, or because of a synchronisation problem.

Try ctrl-clicking on the project in the Finder and selecting “Show Package Contents”, then look for a file entitled ‘binder.scrivproj’. Ensure it has not been renamed by a backup routine. If it does not exist, try restoring from a backup."

So, okay, kids. If a file has been renamed, how would I know what it has been renamed to? Riddle me that.

Also, many expletives.

Two years later, and um, WTF, Literature and Latte???

So I will not effing panic, and I will try opening this on the $20 mobile version of the app, and then I will save it like a good girl. I’ll report back. It’s getting exciting, isn’t it?



And here’s what unhelpfully and horribly happened when I tried to open the file using the iOs version of Scrivener on my iPad:

A wonderful message that proceeds thusly:

"Invalid Project.

This project cannot be opened because id does not contain a valid binder structure file. Please ensure that the project has been fully uploaded from other devices and then try syncing with Dropbox again.

Um, no, I can’t do that because it makes no sense. It has been sitting on Dropbox like since the damn pandemic started or maybe even six months before.

So, um, L&L lurkers. Please to help or I will be shouting your uselessness to the interwebs rooftops. Now this is me being nice. You won’t like me when I’m angry.

When a writer writes stuff, they depend on their software to be back-version compatible. And if that isn’t a thing, well there, I just made it up. Because I am a mofo writer. And I can write some scathing things. Bad idea to make a writer mad, L&L. Such a bad idea. :frowning:

More expletives. Fumes rise from ears. Eyes burn red. :smiling_imp:

Love you all ever so.



I’m not a Mac person, so can’t help you directly with this. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable than I will come along shortly.

In the meantime, I recommend you submit a request directly to L&L support (if you haven’t already). Here’s the support URL:

The other thing you may want to do is have a look at past posts from folks who’ve also received this particular message. Perhaps you’ll find something useful in them. Here’s a google search for that message:

I wish you the best and hope you’re able to recover your project.


Before you do anything else, make a safety copy of that project!

That message indicates that Scrivener is unable to read the file that serves as the master index for the project. A common cause of this problem is incomplete synchronization.

Is the Dropbox application installed and running on your Mac? And have you made sure that “smart sync” for this folder is not enabled?


Almost certainly an issue caused by expletive Dropbox or an expletive macOS upgrade rather than mofo Scrivener.

But you have automatic backups expletive configured, right, because all we mofo writers back our mofo work up, don’t we?

Worth expletive checking:

Scrivener > Preferences > Backup > Open the expletive mofo backup folder…

See the expletive expletive expletive manual, section “5.2 Backing Up Your Mofo Work”

Expletive love