Cross platform troubles

Hello, everyone

i’ve used Scrivener for many years, and for all the troubles i’ve had, i’ve used this forum with success. So first of all, to all of you that have helped me without knowing it (especially MimeticMouton), thank you :slight_smile:

But this one i could not find a solution for. To make a long story short: i just started in a new job that allows me to work on my writing from time to time. But here (work) im stuck with a windows computer. At home im using a mac.

Because dropbox is closed behind the company firewall (i can’t access dropbox, twitter, etc), i sent the mac-files to myself pr mail, and download it at work, where i (after reading about it on these forums) thought it would be no problem if i just followed the “steps”.

But: when i loaded my five projects, they vary from 1) loading in full (with the file structure intact etc) but with no text in the folders and files and 2) not loading at all.

What is causing this? And with dropbox “banned” from work, what is the best way to sync my projects?

Thank you in advance for all help!

All the best


I’m not sure which steps you were following, so to start off, make sure that you’ve zipped your projects before mailing them to yourself. Although they appear as a single file on the Mac, projects are actually folders of files saved in a package format; they won’t send properly unless they are zipped into a single file. To do that either choose File > Back Up > Back Up To… from within the project to create a zipped backup that you can attach in your email or Ctrl-click the project’s .scriv file and choose the “Compress” option to create a zipped copy.

On Windows, you should then be able to download the zipped project, right-click it and choose “Extract All…” and then save the project to whatever location you like and load it from there in Scrivener as normal. However, occasionally you’ll find that Mac-zipped files trip a permissions flag on Windows and the files will extract with some of them encrypted. Usually the filenames will appear in green text in the file browser to indicate they’re encrypted. In this case often the project will open but none of the files will load.

Try closing the project in Scrivener, then right-clicking the extracted .scriv folder and choosing Properties, then Advanced (on the “General” tab, which should be what’s visible when the properties opens). In the Advanced window, deselect the option to “Encrypt contents to secure data”, then OK out of the advanced attributes window and click “Apply”. You should get an option to apply the changes only to the selected file or to all the folder’s subfolders and files as well; choose that latter. Ideally Windows will decrypt everything and you can click OK to exit the Properties window. Then try opening the project in Scrivener.

Finally, if the unzipped project is not loading at all, open the folder and take a look for multiple copies of the yellow-icon .scrivx file (it will probably be named for the project, i.e. if your .scriv file is called “MyNovel”, then inside the .scriv folder on Windows you’ll find a “MyNovel” .scrivx file with a yellow Scrivener icon). Multiple copies can prevent the project opening on Windows, so if you see this, remove all but your most recent and then try again. If that works, you may want to extract another copy of the project–one for each of the .scrivx files you had to remove–then repeat the process but leaving a different .scrivx file in the project folder each time, so you get a separate copy of the project folder for every version. (Give the projects distinct names after you extract them.) You can then open those all side by side in Scrivener and compare them, in case there are conflicts you need to resolve–e.g. files appearing in one that are not shown in another. You can pick one as the master, then drag any missing files from the binder of the other projects into the master’s binder. When you’re finished, close them all in Scrivener and trash all the copies but the master.

I’m hopeful some of those solutions will solve the problem, but if you’re still not having success, could you detail exactly what steps you’re taking to send the project to yourself and open it on Windows, and also which version of Scrivener you’re using on each and which version of the Mac/Windows OS?

Thank you so much. I just followed these steps, and then, afterwards, all my five projects were loading (and containing text).

I really appriciate it :slight_smile:

Since Dropbox is unavailable at work, what kind of sync-method do you recommend?

Again: THANKS!


I would recommend using the automatic backups (Tools->Options->Backup and Scrivener-Preferences->Backup on Windows & Mac, respectively) to make date-stamped, .zip compressed backups in a convenient folder on your drive (rather than the default, out-of-the-way locations they start with). When you close the project and it generates the newest backup, you can just sort on name, grab the latest one, and email it without introducing any uncertainty as to which is newer; the one in your email, or the ones in your backup folder on whichever machine you’re at.

If you go that route, then your routine would look like this:

  • Write, then close your project and let the date-stamped, .zip compressed backup happen.
  • Go to your backup folder, pick out the latest backup for each project you worked on today, using the date in the file name as a guide.
  • Email that/those to yourself.

When you get to the other location…

  • Save your emailed backups from the other place to your local backups folder
  • Copy that file (don’t just move it… you want to preserve that as a backup locally) to another folder to work on it.
  • CMD-click/right-click on the copy in your working folder, and “extract all” of your project from the .zip file
  • rename the un-zipped project so it doesn’t have the date in its name. If you already had another copy of the same name, trash it (but don’t empty your OS’s trash until you’re sure you’ve got the latest copy open in Scrivener).
  • Open your project and write.
  • Go back up to the first step in the previous list of tasks and repeat.

Alternative to email: Use a thumb drive, but otherwise use the same method; writing directly on a thumb-drive seems to be less than desirable (mostly because so many are still running at USB2 speeds or will be plugged into usb2 ports).

For a guy who (as im sure you have imagined) are not so technically skilled, these tips are a real blessing. (Lets just hope im better at writing than computer-stuff). Im overwhelmed by the helpfulness in these forums.

I will do my backups just the way you describe it, robertdguthrie. I guess thats the safest way also, since there from time to time can be trouble with syncing to dropbox/drive.

Thank you again!