Feature request: Open Scrivener 3 files in the current Windows Release

I realise most of the Scrivener development for Windows is focused on Scrivener 3. And I am looking forward to that coming out. I’ll certainly buy it when it does. But in the meantime, the one thing stopping me using the current Windows version isn’t a lack of features or a snazzy interface. It’s simply the fact that I can’t create a file on a mac then open it on Windows.

As an interim measure, is there no chance of an update to the V1 version of Scrivener for Windows that lets it open Scrivener 3 files?

If it took several years to produce Scrivener 3 on Windows, I wouldn’t mind at that point. Because I could continue with my workflow regardless.

Apologies if this is actually a really difficult thing to do. I’m not sure whether there’s some hidden complication. It’s just that it would make it so much easier to use Scrivener across different operating systems.

Mac Scrivener 3 can export as a Scrivener 2 project, which the current Windows release can open.


That’s great - thank you :slight_smile:

Just checking what that means for the workflow. Does it mean:

a) I go into Mac Scrivener, export as v2, and from that point I can open and close with both programs seamlessly.


b) I go into Mac Scrivener, export as v2, but I have to use the “export as” function each time I add text under the Mac version?

I.e. is there a way to interoperate between the two programs seamlessly? Or do I have to do something manual each time?

By seamless, I mean something like, ‘double click the file to open and it opens. Close it and all data is saved. Now the other OS can use it. No prep work need take place in advance to use the other OS.’

If you are using Mac Scrivener 3, it will convert to Scrivener 3 format every time the project is opened. You’ll then need to convert it back to use it with Windows Scrivener.

If you want to switch between the two platforms routinely, I would recommend either using the Windows Scrivener 3 beta, or downgrading to Mac Scrivener 2.


Ah. That’s a pity.

In that case, I would like to request the feature that all active versions open and save the same version of the file.

It won’t happen – that’s a MAJOR chunk of upgraded code to retrofit, and this behavior keeps parity with how the Mac version behaved in the 2.x to 3.x upgrade (with the exception that release Scrivener 3.x for Mac can export back into 2.x format – and the Windows release 3.x is expected to do the same once it comes out of beta.)

The problem is thatnit’s not a file. The project is the whole folder structure which means it’s a very big job to change the old Win version, as Devinganger points out.

Well… how about doing it the other way round?

The Mac version can clearly open Windows files. It can also write them out if you ask it to.

So it would seem possible to have a flag in the option tree to “use the old file format,” and make that the default.

Mac Scrivener 3 opens projects in the old format and immediately converts them to the new format. It is not able to directly edit the old project format. Nor can it be easily modified to do so, since all of the code that manages the links between the Binder and the individual files comprising your project would have to change.

We didn’t change the project format just for grins, or to irritate our users. Among other things, the new format is more robust against possible synchronization errors. Which would seem to be especially important for anyone using more than one copy of Scrivener.


There are two file formats: v2 and v3. Both are cross-platform.

Scrivener 2.x for the Mac and Scrivener 1.9.x for Windows both natively open and work in the v2 file format You can open a v2 project in these programs, edit it, and save it; it will still be a v2 project. Neither has any idea what to do with a v3 format project.

Scrivener 3.x for the Mac and Scrivener 3.x for Windows (forthcoming, still in beta) both natively open and work in the v3 file format. You can open a v3 project in these programs, edit it, and save it; it will still be a v3 project. If you open a v2 project in these programs, they will save a copy of it and automatically convert the live copy to v3. Scrivener 3.x for Mac also has an “export to v2” option to allow you to convert backwards, but that functionality did not show up until essentially the end of its beta period – so while the Windows 3.x beta currently lacks this “export to v2” functionality, some of us are assuming that we will see it added right around release time (I believe that L&L has stated that was the intention previously, but I do not have the time to track down that conversation).

Scrivener for iOS handles both v2 and v3 formats, since it was developed as the push to v3 was taking place. If you open a new project natively in Scrivener for iOS, it will be a v3 format project. Otherwise, it will natively handle both formats, but it does not provide options to convert between them.

L&L’s strategy has always been clear – new format requires the new version of the tools to handle. I am not L&L so my answer is not official, but if L&L decide to backport the ability to read v3 files into Scrivener 1.9, I would be so shocked that I would buy you your Scrivener licenses.

I just upgraded from 1.9x to 3 Beta 64bit on Windows 10. Do you expect any problems when syncing my project files between the 3 Beta and Scrivener 3 on Mac? Any possibility that the 3 Beta might have some internal bugs which may corrupt my project files on Mac?

I don’t switch back and forth heavily, but I have been doing so consistently since the beta was first released and I have not yet noticed any bugs that have produced corruption on the Mac.

Thank you for your help.

My collaborator is Windows based, I am Mac-based. We’ve been working on projects together with her on successive Windows v. 3 Betas for two years without any problems other than the occasional “pilot error” of shutting down too quickly before the cloud server has sync’ed fully.



That’s great to hear, thank you! :slight_smile:

Great! I’ll just use the new version on Windows…

You see the problem?

Look… I don’t want to come across as snippy here. I get this can’t be done. I’m just disappointed is all.

Nope. You can download the beta version today and use it. You won’t even have to provide a license until it’s out of beta and fully released. The Windows 2.9.x beta version fully understands v3 files and interoperates seamlessly with the Mac v3 Scrivener release. There are many of us who are using the beta as our regular version of Scrivener for now – I do this explicitly because I got tired of maintaining side-by-side 1.9.x and beta on my Windows computer and both 2.x and 3.x on my Mac.

There is so much that has changed between the versions that it is literally not realistic to expect L&L to backport all that functionality into 1.9.x.

If anyone wants me to use unreliable and unfinished software, there’s a simple solution: produce a working version.

If the manufacturer of a program isn’t willing to go beyond ‘beta,’ I’m not going to contradict them.

The beta is very stable! Very reliable, ‘works’ and just a smallish number of ‘features’ to be squashed.

FYI, the beta process us how one arrives at a ‘working’ version.

Then why would you want “unreliable and unfinished software” (e.g. the entire Windows Scrivener codebase that handles v3 projects) to be backported into the 1.9 release? You do realize you’re contradicting yourself here – either the code is mature enough to use (as many of us can attest, having been using the beta exclusively for quite a while now) and is enough of a difference to warrant a major release that breaks backwards compatibility; or it’s not mature enough, belongs nowhere near released software.

With all due respect, what you’re asking for is for L&L to have invented time travel.