Empty pages

I use Scrivener 3.2.3 on my Mac with MacOS Mojave 10.14.6.
For about six months I have been writing notes for my research in a single document, it contains folders, pages with text.
I usually edit the document on the hard disk of my mac at home; when I want to edit it from the office I copy the document to Dropbox and from the office I edit it leaving it on Dropbox. Once back home I prefer to copy the file from Dropbox back to my hard drive locally.

I never had any problems until, a few days ago, I noticed that the text written on some pages disappeared. I checked and this happened over several dozen pages. The pages are present in the Binder, with their title, but when I select them they are empty.

Thankfully, thanks to Scrivener’s automatic backups, I was able to track down the lost texts and restore everything.

Given the dynamics of what happened, I find it hard to believe that I accidentally deleted these texts. But given the care with which this software was made, I find it really strange that there could be a bug causing an event of this kind.
The only reason I can imagine is that there was some sync error on Dropbox. Although I find it rather strange, I would have imagined that that would have made one or more pages disappear completely and not empty the content.

I was just wondering if anyone had experienced such an event.

But at the same time I would not want to alarm other users for something that I certainly cannot exclude having done myself (even if I cannot imagine how), my trust in Scrivener is unchanged. Certainly automatic backups (and any other form of backup) are a good habit.

  • Marco.

from how you describe it sounds like an incomplete sync by dropbox.

1 Like

This location on your local hdd, is it a non-icloud folder? I’ve heard of icloud causing blank documents in Scriv projects.

Also, see this A year on and I am still trying to recover from a catastrophic loss of Scrivener work - #20 by kewms post by kewms and some of the other messages in that thread for more about this blank documents thing, backups, and related info. Also, for anyone who read this, if you haven’t read Alternative Method of Keeping Projects Synced / Cloud Syncing / Knowledge Base - Literature and Latte Support then it’s worth your time to read it (you might have already read it Marco, but other people who read this could find it useful).

Also yes scrivener’s built in backup ability is awesome! I have it set to make a zip on every project close with the date and to never delete old ones (I disable the only keep 10 or whatever), and it has saved me before.


I hope so :wink:


  • Marco.

Yes, the folder on my local hdd is a non-icloud one.
And thanks for the links to the other threads!

  • Marco.
1 Like

This Dropbox page might help: Fix syncing problems in Dropbox | Dropbox Help

1 Like

I know you said it’s not an iCloud folder but to make sure since it hasn’t been mentioned––the macOS feature to “Optimize Mac Storage” (or other vendor smart storage type offering) has caused harm to Scrivener projects, including empty pages.

Excerpt by @kewms, Scrivener support:

Recently, I’ve seen an unusual number of support tickets that seem to be related to misguided “smart sync” operations. A “smart” sync is one that downloads files to the local system only when needed. Depending on your usage and the speed of your internet connection, though, this can result in the content of a file not being available when Scrivener needs it. Most people find the resulting “blank” documents extremely disturbing.
I also especially recommend against iCloud’s “Optimize Mac Storage” feature. There have been a few cases where this feature “optimized” projects off to the cloud while Scrivener was actively using them, leading to save errors.

From this recent post:


I just had that experience. My novel lost 3-4 scenes overnight. It shows them in the binder but nothing on the pages. NOTHING! Any ideas how to fix this? My back up files are in the cloud and the back up file yesterday has the same problem. I need those pages back!

Sounds like an incomplete sync. see above for advice.

and i am assuming when you say backup “in cloud” you are referring to a sync location. sync locations in cloud are NOT Backups as explained in so many other posts here.

i guess unless the synced files are lost or corrupted try to complete the sync. and look to your “backups” if needed biut they also might be corrupt.


No, I’m sure I’m not using the “Optimize Mac Storage”…
at this point I think it was for sure a Dropbox sync problem.
Among other things, I found the alternative method of synchronization exposed in the link above by @demonofsarila very useful.

1 Like

Hi Peggy & welcome!

If the problem is in your backup from yesterday, I would recommend looking at an older backup then. Are the backups being created by Scrivener’s auto back up feature? “Project not in a recommended save location” error / macOS: Troubleshooting / Knowledge Base - Literature and Latte Support has some info. If you have Scrivener set to only keep a limited number of backups, consider copying it so you can’t over write your backups or at least looking at your oldest backup next.

I hope you find what you need @PeggyMcKenzie

1 Like

@mrcmrc I’m glad you found it useful :+1:

Thank you for the info. I’ll check out everything you mentioned.