disappearing texts

Previous versions of the beta haven’t given me trouble, but now I’ve got a mystery: a number of articles I copied into Research texts yesterday have vanished. The index cards are still there, the titles are still there, but the content is gone.

What did I do?

Hi tam,

Are these PDF files or text files? PDF files aren’t being displayed properly in beta 026, due to a .dll being missing, so you’d see exactly what you describe. Lee’s updated his Beta 026 post to include a copy of the .dll file for download and instructions on how to copy it into your Scrivener directory.

If the missing files aren’t PDFs, the first thing to check, if you’re seeing just a blank editor (like a new document with no text), is that the text is really absent and not just that it’s turned white and hidden against the background. Someone in the Linux forum had some colors go haywire and it appeared text had gotten lost when it really was still there.

Second, try using the Windows search feature to look for text or phrases that was in your missing documents and see if it finds anything. The documents may be in your project but not being loaded properly, which would mean something happened with your .scrivx file and we should be able to fix it.

Any further details on what you were doing would help as well to figure out what might have happened.

Thanks for your quick reply. I don’t think these were PDFs, so it wouldn’t be that. I believe they were all HTML. and I didn’t Import them, I just copied and pasted the text. It might be the color thing because I was trying to get rid of some colored text earlier, unsuccessfully. But now I have another problem: the color pencil (and the arrow beside it) aren’t working. I click and nada. So my theory is that I screwed up the color somehow trying to get rid of color a few hours ago. Any help getting it back would be appreciated–at which point I can then proceed to find out whether that’s the source of the disappearance.



So I discovered that it wasn’t just the pencil that was disabled, it was the whole format bar. Not hidden; it was there all right, but nothing on it was clickable. So I tried the Hide command (which worked) and then restored it to visibility, and that also restored the functionality. I have no idea what I did to disable it in the first place, but it does seem possible to bring it back by hiding it and then unhiding it.

However, my texts are still blank. I tried fooling with the color–changing it to black, for example, but nothing worked. Still blank, or empty, disappeared, I don’t know which.

Now what?

I had a real honeymoon with this beta for several weeks; it has only now started giving trouble. Don’t know whether this is relevant, but I’m now working on a different computer: a Lenovo Thinkpad running Win7. Previously I was trying Scrivener out on an old Dell desktop running WinXPSP2. I am wondering if the problems are related to Win7. If so, boo hoo, because I have really been liking it.


Go to Tools -> Options… and click on “Defaults” and then “Apply”

There’s a problem with the display options getting wiped clean. If this is the problem I’m thinking it is (and I sincerely hope it is), everything is still there, you’re just looking at grey-on-grey text. This sent me into a panic at first, because it certainly looks like everything is gone.

I hope this helps!

The format bar is only nonfunctional in the empty texts. Texts that are OK have a normal format bar.


Alas, it didn’t, but thanks for the suggestion. Setting to defaults (or something) did appear to have one effect, though: now the format bar is disabled in ALL my texts, not just the empty ones.

BTW, my blank texts are not grey, they’re white and empty looking.


Hi tam,

Next thing to try is searching via Windows for some text in the missing documents–did you do that? It’s possible they’re still stored in the projet, just not showing up, so it’s worth at least trying that. Have you made any backups or done a “Save As” at any point while working? Were any sync services running when you used Scrivener just prior to the text disappearing? (Meaning, when you had the project open and closed it and all was fine, prior to your opening it later to have documents missing.) I’m afraid if Windows doesn’t find any of the documents they may be wiped, and your best move is to restore the project from a backup. If you can zip the .scriv folder for the project missing text and send that to support AT literatureandlatte DOT com, I can also take a look at that to see if I can restore any of the text from within the project. (If you have an untouched copy from when you closed it last prior to the text going missing, that would be best, but if you’ve just got the one copy you’ve been opening and examining, I’ll take a look at that.

I’m so sorry this happened to you! I hope the files are found when you do the search, and that examining the project just shows some kind of minor and easily fixed issue, but we definitely want to track down what happened so it can be prevented. If you have a chance, answers to any of the following questions would help Lee look into the problem.

1.) What is your operating system (e.g. French Windows 7 pro 32bit)
2.) Is your Windows user account standard or administrator?
3.) Where are you saving your Scrivener project file? (e.g. to your Documents folder, to a thumb drive, etc.)
4.) What format is the drive you’re saving the project to? (NTFS, fat32, etc)
5.) What is your ‘Save after period of inactivity’ set to in Options>General
6.) Do you have any backup or sync services running while working in Scrivener?
7.) and as much relevant information as you can so that Lee can reproduce the same situation as closely as possible

I also haven’t seen the issue with the Format Bar, so I’ll mess around and see if I can reproduce that. Just to check, are you using a standard mouse or some kind of tablet pointer? Scrivener doesn’t seem to like tablets much and doesn’t respond to mouse clicks from them, so it could be that. (It’s on the list of things for Lee to look into, since we’d certainly like to provide good tablet support.) Try plugging in another mouse, if so. Sounds like you may just be using the laptop trackpad, though, and I haven’t had any other reports on Scrivener hating Lenovo, so it may be a different bug. If you find a way to consistently reproduce it, please let me know.

Jennifer: I am going to try to respond to you point by point. But at the outset, let me say I think the disappearing files are probably all my fault (see below), although I’m not sure how to fix it. About the nonfunctional format bar, though, I have as yet no clue.

I don’t much use the Lenovo by itself because I really need a full-size keyboard. So I’m using a wireless Lenovo keyboard and the Logitech wireless Marathon Mouse. I’ve used both of these for at least a year with no problems.

My hunch is that this is all entirely my own fault from stupidly having this project in two places. Any advice you can give about getting the pieces back together will be gratefully received. And I apologize for sucking up your time.

I see that my answers were incorporated into the quoted material and therefore will be hard to figure out. If it would help, I can do the message over again with my comments in caps. Or maybe you just want me to slink away. Who could blame you?


Hi tam,

No apologies necessary, I’m just delighted that you’ve found your files! I’m still not quite clear how it happened, but it definitely should be fixable. At this point then, do you have two separate Scrivener project folders, let’s call them ProjectA.scriv and ProjectB.scriv–possibly one originally which then got forked at some point so that they each contain some of the same files and some different ones? (It’ll be a bit difficult to tell just looking in their Docs folder, I’m afraid, since all you’ll see are the numbers. Scrivener will assign an ID number to each document you import and to all documents created, so two projects can both have a “16.rtf” which is a completely different file.) This might’ve happened if you did a “Save As” at some point, then continued working, and then next time you returned you opened the original project file instead of the new one. (I’m sure it could’ve happened other ways too, but that seems like the simples answer.)

If that’s the case, the first thing I would do is make a backup copy of each of the projects, just so nothing gets lost in the process of getting all your files into one. Name the copies something obvious (“backup of X” or whatever) and for good measure I’d zip them, too, so you don’t accidentally open them and confuse things. Then (with the projects closed) rename one of the two projects something like “Master”, just so you know which is the keeper, and open both the Master and the other version so you have the Scrivener windows open side by side. Then you can just drag all the documents you need from one by selecting them in the first binder and dropping them in the “master” binder. You will have to redo your meta-data (labels and status and such), but that should bring over your synopses and notes as well as the main text.

Note: You’ll need to do the drag and drop this way, from project window to project window, and not via File Explorer by dragging the documents into the other project’s Docs folder. If you do that then no, they won’t show up in the binder, because Scrivener won’t have indexed them and won’t recognize that they’re there. Also, you may end up with multiple numbers–e.g. you might have two different 6.rtf documents–and you need to go through Scrivener so that it can reassign a new number and keep everything organized.

That’s probably the easiest, assuming that the documents themselves are visible in the binder for each project. If you don’t have two complete project folders, or if the documents are contained in ProjectA’s Docs folder but aren’t appearing in the project when you open ProjectA, then we’ll need to do something a little different. Basically, you should be able to just select all the rtf files from where they’re stored in the wrong folder and import them into your good project, but if the project isn’t displaying files that really are contained within it, then possibly the .scrivx file got messed up and we’ll want to fix that. Could you in that case zip your project’s .scriv folder and send it to support AT literatureandlatte DOT com so I can take a look at the file? Also, what’s the full file path of the two locations that you found the files?

The format bar not working shouldn’t be related at all, but then again given that I have no idea why it’s not working I guess I should keep my mouth shut. :wink: Just to double-check, you’re unable to click anywhere on the format bar when working in a text document (not a PDF or image or something) and the focus is inside the editor?

P.S. No slinking! I read it just fine. :slight_smile:

I will do as you suggest moving the files. But I’m not sure which copy is the “right” one. Remember that one of the missing files is in one subject folder and the other 5 in a different folder. Shouldn’t they all be in the same folder? i.e., why are files from both folders missing from the project?

Re: the format bar. The format bar is there but nonfunctional in all my texts, empty or not. Some of these are pasted html material and others (I think) are the blank (probably Imported) .rtfs. This project is in the early stages, and I haven’t put any other material (like pdfs or images) into it yet, so I have no idea how those would be.

I forgot to ask: how can I find out the path for my project? That will help me figure out which copy in which folder is the correct one. thanks


Whoops, sorry. In the Windows search, you should be able to “show more results” or something like that and see the files displayed in Explorer; you may see the whole path there and if not you can right-click and choose Properties to see it.

If you don’t know where the project you’re opening is stored (if you’re opening from the Recent Projects menu, for instance), it’s probably easiest to just again use Windows search to look for the name of your project folder, so e.g. “MyProject.scriv”.

Yes, well, that’s the problem: they both have the same name. I guess I should use the one with the most recent date???


Ahaha. Sorry, I’m slow today. If they’re both closed, just rename one in File Explorer, then open them both to compare and decide which you want to use as the master.

(You’re right that it would be nice to have an easy way to identify the file path from the open project Window; I’ll have to do some research into that to see how that kind of thing is usually handled, and I will suggest it to Lee as a future addition.)