drafts becoming unreadable

This has happened to me twice:the text of a file in the “draft” column suddenly doesn’t show up when I click its title. Instead there appears the text of the previous file. Since in my case the entire text I am working on was imported from Word, I can easily delete the corrupted file and replace it. But if this were wholly original material being generated in Scrivener it would be lost. Is there any way to prevent this from happening?

Just to make sure there are no confusions, when you say the “draft column”, are you talking about the left sidebar (eggshell blue by default)? If so, that is referred to as the Binder, and it can actually hold much more than just your Draft—that is only one section of the Binder. With a few exceptions, everything in your project can be accessed with the Binder. If that is indeed what you are referring to, the next point of clarification would be: If you have, for example, two sections in the Draft folder called “A” and “B”, if you click on “B”, the contents of “A” are loaded instead, and there seems to be no way to load the contents of “A”? Is that what is happening? Try clicking on the Draft folder itself and pressing Cmd-Opt-1 to load all of the text at once, do you see everything, or just B?

Thank you, AmberV. Yes, I am referring to the Binder. I have many more than two sections in the Draft folder. At some point, the contents of, say, section “P” show up when I click on “Q”, “R”, and “S”. Then “T” may respond normally when I click it, but “Q”, “R”, and “S” continue to be identical to “P.” Next time it happens I’ll try clicking on the Draft folder itself and pressing Cmd-Opt-1, as you suggest.

There are a few features that could cause Binder activity to become confusing, if engaged, but none of them would really cause things to react the way you are describing. The Binder Affects sub-menu will cause clicks to go to a different split than ordinary, and locking the editor will make it so no Binder clicks at all will do anything—but like I say neither of those should produce the results you are seeing. It does sound as though the underlying data is missing. I’ve never seen it happen myself, but could conceive of a case where if the RTFD file for that section is messed up, clicking would seem to do nothing. This could also be a problem in the file which governs all of these, too.

Have you by any chance been using some sort of backup/restore or synchronisation software? Are these projects all stored locally on your computer’s hard drive or a plugged in external drive? What you are describing, I think I’ve only seen mentioned once or twice in many years and I’m not even sure of that, so to have it happen more than once in different projects for one person would indicate something in your workflow potentially (and most likely) outside of Scrivener is causing issues.

I do back up data, including Scrivener, on an external hard drive. Short of excluding Scrivener from the backup, is there something you can suggest?

Straight backups shouldn’t be causing issues. I do that all of the time as well, both automatically with Time Machine, and at least once a week a full backup with Chronosync. A passive copy should not damage the project file at all, even while it is open (though you wouldn’t want to do that because then your backup wouldn’t be as safe). So I doubt just backing things up is the problem, but just out of curiosity what software are you using for that?

Without a working example of the situation that you can test, it’s more difficult. The next time you see it happen, created a zipped backup and send it to support. If there is project file corruption, or missing resources, it will be very obvious. Might not explain how it got that way, but at least the facts of the error can be ascertained, and it would be easier to work backward from there.

Given that you do backups, might you have a backup of one of these potentially damaged projects in your archives?

Even just getting some copy and paste from Console.app while clicking on the non-responsive items could be of benefit.

Is there any way you could post a video showing the problem? Or short of that, screenshots with a step-by-step description? I can’t think of anything that would cause the wrong document to appear when selecting the document in the binder.

At this point the problem has been remedied, simply by deleting the corrupted files and reimporting them from Word. If and when it happens again, I’ll send you screen shots, as you suggested, with a step-by-step description of what happened. Thanks for your thoughtful attention.