ERROR in latest build 1.5.6. 0 "this file is used..."

Installed the latest build today immediately got the error shown in the screengrab when I opened a Scrivener project

I did not have MS Word up (Word 2007)
PS I restarted the computer, and did not have the issue

This is a bug with a set of the doc/docx converters Scrivener uses. If you go to the Import tab of Tools > Options and deselect the option to use Microsoft Word/Open Office for the conversion and then restart Scrivener, that should prevent you getting this error. For most import/export you don’t need these on, but you can always re-enable them when you do. (You can’t export to .docx without them, but you can still import, and you can export to .doc just using a different converter which typically does a fine job, so it’s mostly just in the off cases where an import/export doesn’t look quite right, usually from some fancier Word styles or such on import, where using these converters sometimes allows a cleaner conversion.)

Hi Jennifer
I looked at my options and the box option to use Microsoft Word/Open Office was NOT selected.
I got this message while Scrivener was opening (see attachment)
I have Word 2007 set to be compatible with Word 2003 – don’t know if that makes any difference in this situation

PS Forgot to mention that Word was NOT up, but had been up earlier today
error 2.jpg

Bah! Thanks for checking that and for the extra info; I’m sorry it’s not as easy a resolution as I’d hoped. I’ve sent on to Lee about this, as it’s almost definitely going to be an issue related to the converters Scrivener uses and how they’re checking for Word; the option for enabling or disabling them previously was the workaround for this bug in the Doc2Any tool, but evidently some changes for 1.5.5/1.5.6 have opened this up again, and I’ll need him to take a look.

Hi Marta. At startup Scrivener checks for available tools it can use to provide the right import/export/compile options. During this stage it also checks for MS Word availability. There was a bug that did not use the right conversion tools and was addressed in v1.5.6.0. I can imagine that MS Word, or some MS Word tool is running in the background when you start Scrivener and because of this you get the message. It is safe to ignore the message and continue using Scrivener normally. I understand this is inconvenient getting this message sometimes on startup and we will address it in the next update.

Good to know it’s not an issue that can cause a problem.
It only seems to happen if I’ve opened Word that day. ( I shut down every night)
thanks for the info.

Hi Marta – it’s not at all unusual to see a Microsoft Word process hanging around in the background on Windows XP. I think it often has to do with having run Outlook, if not Word itself, but also that it can happen in almost any case.

It’s not harmful, and I’m glad Tiho is able to give such a good explanation for the present in Scrivener.


Hi Clive
I don’t use Outlook or even have it installed, as I prefer Thunderbird.
I’m glad it’s not harmful, but it is annoying because Word keeps asking if I want to save changes to my normal template.
I’m thinking of reinstalling the earlier build as it did not have the issues, but I’ll wait a while to see if there’s a patch soon

Yes, that’s what that background Word does, causes you to get messages about saving the Normal template when another Word gets involved.

I hope Tiho can come up with a way to keep Scrivener from setting this off.

In the mean time, just cancel any action request about that template, and your situation should be good.


I think we have found a solution, guys. It will be available with a minor update within a week, if everything goes fine. In the meantime ignore the message, as narrsd suggested. :wink: Have in mind that this message does not appear with all MS Word 2010 installations. It is specific to the users installation and Marta might want to check why Word is running in the background, when it is probably not expected.

Hi Tiho
I think I can find out IF it’s running with CTRL>ALT>DEL.
What file should I look for (other than the obvious Word.exe-- which is NOT running from what I can see)

But how do I find out WHY Word is running in the background? (I use W 2007 if that makes any difference)

I’m not an expert on this, but I think the process you should look for in Task Manager ( CTRL>ALT>DEL) is WinWord.exe, not Word.exe. It’s possible that Word would leave some other lesser process around, but I don’t know.

As to why … “Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to crash and cry.” :slight_smile: I doubt that it’s anything you’re doing, or anything that you could fix. I did a little online searching, and what little I could find suggests to me that in certain situations Office programs, especially older versions, simply do remain hanging around after supposedly quitting, perhaps waiting for the computer system’s “garbage collection” process to unload them. Evidently something in the Scrivener 1.5.6 update changed the way this is or is not handled at startup.

If you can find WinWord in Task Manager and manually end it, that’s the most obvious of the various clunky workarounds. Next up the ladder might be not to start Word before Scrivener, and next above that would be to reboot the computer, neither of which is liable to be compatible with your work habits or productivity. At the top of the ladder, of course, is updating your Word program and/or operating system, costing bunches of money.

It sounds like the Scrivener folks have the fix figured out, and I hope till the minor update comes out you’re able to find the darn thing in Task Manager and swat it.

Pulled up word 2007 and closed, then went to Task Manager. No evidence of winword or any word related program running, so it’s gotta be something else.

This will sound eccentric, but I like to “get under the hood” of a computer, and be able to troubleshoot and customize. For me, XP is like a stick shift. MAC and later PC systems are too automated and take that control away from me. I HAVE to know how things work, and change them to suit me. I know that MS is stopping support for XP next year and dread the day I have to go to 8, 9 or whatever is around then. It’s not just the expenditure (though that is a part) but my main issue is that I’ll feel that the machine controls the way I work, instead of me telling it what to do.

For the same reason, I see no reason to update from Office 2007 to anything later; it’s pretty bloated as it is. I have Word 2007 set to save as Word 2003 .doc (VS .docx) as to have compatibility to our other computers.

I only use Word for letters and/or writing stories. I use an external HTML editor for web, Photoshop & Illustrator for design. All the additional bells and whistles in Word actually annoy me, and I have it set up that most of them don’t show up.

Hope I don’t sound too crazy… :wink:

Not crazy at all, Marta, barely even eccentric! I know just what you mean.

Apologies if the following goes too far off-topic. I want to point you toward an alternative word processor, Nota Bene ( It is made for writing, not for … well, whatever it is that Word is made for. When I say that it allows you, with a single keystroke, to transpose two words, sentences, or paragraphs; that it gives you complete access to all underlying formatting codes; and that it allows you to rearrange the interface (toolbars, etc.) to suit your tastes, might that pique your interest? (Details here:

Nota Bene is especially aimed at academics, but its tools can be useful for any writer. It includes a built-in text search-and-retrieval component (in case, for instance, you’re writing stories with recurring characters and you want to retrieve your original description of Lila’s home life), and a bibliography manager (more important for works with footnotes, etc.).

I should add that the current version, v. 9, is several years old, but runs great on XP. V. 10 is in advanced beta, and many people are using it successfully in Windows XP, 7, and 8. And one last point: like Scrivener, NB is produced by a small, dedicated corps of people committed to helping their customers get their work done. You really do feel like you get to know them.

Hi David
Checked out Nota Bene. I got sticker shock–nearly as pricy as Photoshop.

And–not that it’s that important-- but the interface looked a bit “Old School” like windows 3.1 software.

But I do appreciate the suggestion.

Sticker shock to say the least. The web site is constructed using tables - right out of the '90s - so they can’t be wasting any of that sticker price to get into the '00s at least.

If you want to see sticker shock, check out the prices for Finale or Sibelius. I was a long-time Finale user, but if I wanted to upgrade to the most recent version, I’d be shelling out $600. (One reason why I switched to lilypond, beyond the fact that I like the look of engraved music better.) You’d also better not be drinking anything while looking up the price of ProTools HD. (Upgrades start at $1500, I think, and that assumes you’ve got the specialized hardware.)

Niche software’s expensive.

Surely you can’t be comparing the complexity of ProTools to a program such as Nota Bene, right?

The MS Word popup should be fixed with the new update, Marta. Please, let us know if you still experience problems and if the fix worked for you. Enjoy!

You’re right about the v. 9 interface; v. 10 is much better-looking. As to the price … it’s much more than a word processor, so it does cost more. But if your writing doesn’t involve footnotes and bibliographies, it would probably not be worth the cost.