Document Could Not be Opened error: only on Mac. Works fine on Windows and iOS?

I’m working across 3 platforms, and my Mac isn’t keeping up.
If I create a Scrivener Project in iOS or Windows, I get the “Document Could not be Opened” error on my Mac.
I’m also getting the same experience on older Scrivener projects: they open fine on Windows and iOS but my Mac doesn’t like them.
The icon looks a little different for the Mac-Friendly files, but otherwise I can’t figure out what the difference is, or how to get it so I can open these files on my Mac.
Any thoughts?

If you right-click on one that works, in Finder, and select “Show Package Contents”, and then do the same for one that does not work, do you see any notable differences between the two?

One way to maybe fix the issue is to open the troublesome ones in the Windows version, and use Save As to create a new copy. See if you can open those on the Mac; if so, archive the previous copies and use the new ones from then on.

How are you transferring between devices?

Is the Mac able to create new projects in this location?

They look pretty much the same. The Mac-friendly one does have a .scrivx file in it, but there’s no scrivproj file in either one.

One other datum: my Mac is really old. It’s a MacBook Air from 2012, running High Sierra. My Scrivener version is 3.2.2.

Yeah, I tried that. When I create a new project in Windows or iOS, my Mac doesn’t like it.

If I create a new project on my Mac, I can open it in Windows and iOS, and the Mac is still happy with it. So I suppose the workaround would be to create a new project in Mac, then open it in Windows, import the old project into it, and save it.

I’ll give it a try.

Dropbox sync. And yeah, new projects created by my Mac work fine everywhere.

Older projects (probably Scrivener 2, though some might be Scrivener 1) and projects created in Windows or iOS make my little Mac sad.

Oh, the warning says it’s not a valid project to the level that’s gone all the way back to trying to recognise it as a v1 era project (.scrivproj hasn’t been used in close to 12 years). That does usually indicate an incomplete sync. If you aren’t carefully monitoring sync status on all devices, that’s something to start doing. If the PC insists it has uploaded everything, and the Mac insists it has downloaded everything, it may be a matter for Dropbox troubleshooting on the Mac—probably a routine clearing of the cache files.

By the way when I run into transfer issues with large quantities of files (as Scrivener projects are), I prefer to use archive files (like .zip) when copying data between machines. It reduces the file count down to one, makes it smaller so it transfers quicker (makes a lot more sense when using the Internet, as you are), and you get a much more obvious success vs failure result. If the .zip doesn’t copy correctly—well you try again. If you’re copying several hundred small files from inside of a project all at once, if two or three fail—maybe you’ll never know? Or maybe as in this case the missing file is so critical it ends up not even being considered a project.

By the way, it’s super easy to package up your project as a zip file for transfer. When you’re done with your project on the PC, just use the File ▸ Back Up ▸ Back Up To... command, and make sure the zip compression option is checked, then save it to Dropbox.

iOS is a bit different. You need to return to the main project list, tap Edit and then select and “share” the project to your Dropbox folder. That zips it automatically.

I don’t know if that’s all a working style you’d be comfortable with forever, but as a way around a transfer problem initially, it may be a start. Perhaps once the project is fully copied to the Mac, it will sync better from that point onward.

I’d personally be a bit nervous about it though for a while, and take extra care to use the tools I described to create self-contained backup copies whenever you’re done working on one device.

Odd… make sure your mac’s dropbox client isn’t using “selective sync”: How to use selective sync | Dropbox Help .

FYI, I found a couple of projects on my mac with icons like the 2 you showed on the left side of your screen shot, whereas most were like those on the right. Your rightmost icon is showing that the project has a Mac Finder “quick look” preview ready, where the other two do not. That’s a pretty good indicator of a file that hasn’t yet been opened on your Mac, but otherwise isn’t a sign of anything amiss.

I think it means Spotlight hasn’t indexed the file and assigned an icon based on package contents. It’s not a useful preview image, though.

You can follow AmberV’s advice to create a ZIP backup in either Windows or iOS Scrivener and transfer it to the Mac by some non-Dropbox method, such as emailing it to yourself. Uncompress the ZIP file and open it to confirm that the project opens correctly on the Mac. If it does, then the issue is related to Dropbox synchronization rather than the project itself.