Dropbox issue? Some project files missing.

I’m currently working on a Novel on two machines (i.e., work and home) and storing the scriv file in Dropbox.

I came home this evening, and my chapter text was up to date - no problem at all - but for some reason I was missing an ‘ideas’ document that I had created in the research folder, and some character profiles that I had created using the Character template earlier in the day on my work machine.

Anyone hazard a guess as to why some, but not all, of my work has been transported via dropbox? I’m using the Novel template (very nice by the way).

The version had plenty of time to sync, and I checked to make sure things were saved before I shut down at work.


It’s very bizarre. Maybe an indexing file in your project, responsible for tracking which files are present, is somehow not properly synced.

One thing you might try is to hold down the OPT key while you’re in the File or Project menu (I think; I’m not at my Mac right now). A menu item will change when you hold down the opt key to something like “rebuild index” or similar. Try that, as there may be something wrong with the part of your project that tracks the rest of the files in it.

Another thing is to reveal the contents of your scrivener project using the finder (right-click or CMD-click, I believe reveals the contextual menu). Search inside for any files with “conflict” or “conflicted” in their names. Alternately look at your project via the dropbox website.

Good luck!

Robert, Thank you.

No luck getting to the bottom of this, but this morning when I returned to work I had to recreate the characters and ideas document, lost since opening the project on my home computer the previous night.

Interesting, and very bizarre, as I started to add the information back, some of what was lost re-appeared. For example, adding a character using the Character Template populated the fields with my previous (lost) work. At one point, while in index card view, I right clicked my way through the ‘add from template’ option, and my lost "ideas’ text file reappeared.

Most perplexing. I think I’ll have to keep an eye on this, and in the mean time instigate a more rigorous backup routine (just in case there is something buggy going on with my setup).


The reappearance definitely means that your .scrivx file didn’t sync, so the project saw an older version which didn’t have your newest documents listed. Since the documents are identified by incrementing numerical IDs, as soon as you created a new document to be listed in the .scrivx (the binder file, let’s say), Scrivener found the document already associated with that number and the text thus appeared in your project. E.g. the project .scrivx had documents listed up to 30. You created 31, 32, and 33 yesterday, did the sync, then opened the project on the other machine. The sync hadn’t actually completed, however, so the .scrivx on that machine still only lists items up to 30, even though the actual documents 31, 32, and 33 do exist in the project folder–it’s just that Scrivener doesn’t know they exist. So you create a new file in the binder and it gets called 31, since Scrivener thinks that’s a free number (the last one it can see is 30). However, once that link is put into the binder, the 31.rtf file already in the project gets associated with it, and you see the text.

The usual causes for this sort of sync error are that the projects were open on both machines at the same time or the sync didn’t fully complete after the project was closed on the first machine or before it was opened on the second machine. Patchy internet connections and such can mess with things, so my guess is just that all the project files (a Scrivener project is made up of multiple files) hadn’t updated on the second machine before you opened the project.

It sounds unnecessary now, since you’ve already recreated the files, but if you ever get this again, the easiest fix is to just restore from a backup. If you haven’t changed the default settings, Scrivener automatically makes a full project backup on close and saves the most recent five of these backups, so on the machine where you’d made the updates (which didn’t make it across to the second computer), you could copy out the latest backup from the time the updated project was closed and then just replace the corrupted version with that. You can access the backup settings and the folder where they’re stored via the Backup tab in Scrivener > Preferences.

Thanks Jennifer,

I suspect the files had not fully synced. I’ve been back and forth a couple of times (between work and home) and things seem to be fine again, now that I’m keeping an eye on the Dropbox sync icon, and making sure that it has fully finished before I shut down.

Thanks for confirming that the problem is likely to be “user error”.