Getting started

My first problem is that I’m new to Mac. I’m a stranger in a strange land. I bought a Macbook Pro to start my career as a writer and had had enough of PC’s.

I downloaded, or attempted to, the trial version of Scrivener. The box for Scrivener is the smallest thing I have ever seen.

It says drag the application icon into your apllications folder to install.

I did that and nothing happens.


Hi, Casey,

Is the Scrivener icon in your applications folder? If it is, it’s probably all installed and ready to go. Double click the icon and see if it loads ok.

Have you installed many other applications on your Mac? It sounds as if you’re expecting an entire install program to come up like on Windows, but on Macs, many programs are installed just by dragging the application icon to the Applications folder. That’s it.

My apologies if you know that already. It’s just that often new Mac users aren’t used to the streamlined nature of OS X.

If there’s another tech issue involved, I’ll let better heads answer. :wink:

Yes, the scrivener icon is in my apps folder. When I click on it, it says scriver is unregistered. I hit “try” and nothing happens.

hi casey753,

If I had your macbook sitting on my desk I would go through a simple diagnostic sequence.

First, the application itself may not be what what you are double clicking - and you are DOUBLE clicking it I’m sure. You may be trying to open the FOLDER and not the application inside it.

Second, I would trash the whole Scrivener folder and the preference file (careful doing this if you are not sure - a search on this site for ‘preference file’ will help) and load the whole thing again and go through the simple process of double clicking the Scrivener.dmg then dragging the Scrivener application to the Applications Folder, then double clicking the Scrivener application.

Try that and keep coming back here. DON’T PANIC. It will be OK. The scrivener community will make sure it all works out in the end for you.

If you can describe exactly, the steps you are taking, it will help to do a proper diagnosis.



Before trying Lord Lightning’s (excellent) advice try this.

Double-click on the Scrivener icon in the applications folder again.

Now look up at the left corner of the menubar at the very top of the window. Do you see “Scrivener” just to the right of the Apple?

If you do, that means Scrivener is already running, you can select Tutorial from the Help menu (at the far right) and you’re on your way.

If you don’t, it’s time to try LL’s suggestion.


Yes, dafu is right on the money here.

I did this the first time I ran it. I had not got into the Scrivener preferences and asked it to show the last document I was working on and so when I called the application it was runnning and I couldn’t see it because nothing appeared to change on the screen.

So, check the long white panel on the very top of your screen to see if Scrivener is actually running after you DOUBLE click the application.

Let us know how things are progressing.

remember, a small triangle under a program icon in the dock (the row of icons at the bottom of the screen) means the program is running

in Mac, just because there are no windows open, doesn’t mean the program isn’t running

and remember, every windows user in the first month always wonders “did i make the right decision”

three months later, you’ll be sure you did - so just stick with the learning curve… it only gets better

It has the arrow under it yet the only box that appears is a VERY small window with a corkboard background which has 3 icons, the first being scrivener, the second being “read me” and the third “extras”.

When I click on Scrivener, nothing happens.

Edited to add, underneath those 3 icons on the corkboard is the phrase, “drag the application icon into your applications folder to install”.


is the scrivener icon in the dock with the triangle under it? if so, click it once… the word “Scivener” should appear in the menu bar at the top beside the blue apple logo… the program is running, you just have to open the tutorial by going to Help > Tutorial

or, press command-tab (command is the button with the apple on it), and scroll through those icons to see what programs are open

if scrivener is not running, then:

make sure it’s installed; scrivener is only installed if it’s in the applications folder… the .dmg file you downloaded from the site is like a zip file… you should get a white drive icon on your desktop when you open it…

then, go to finder (the most left icon in the dock, press it once) and you should see a scrivener drive in the left corner (with an eject symbol next to it)… you need to click on the white icon once (not the eject symbol) and drag the scrivener “file” to the applications folder… that should install it… when you go to the applications folder, double-click to run, and follow the steps above

keep us posted

Ah ha!

Second paragraph, first. What you see there is a window showing the contents of the “installer.” You can disregard it, provided you did what it suggests which is drag the Scrivener icon to your applications folder and then double-click on it there. I think you did that because you now have the spiffy Scrivener icon in your dock with a little triangle under it, yes?

If so, do what I suggested in the post above:

Hope you’re on your way!


PS It’s a temptation, I know, but if you’re getting frustrated because you just want to get to work and things aren’t working the way you expect, it might be best to just shut it down and come back tomorrow. Things are easier on a Mac but they’re different and you can get smoke coming out your ears 'til you sit back and realize small steps are the best route.

Wow that was a mad crazy experience. I’m in now.

Thank everybody for your help. Quite the community you have here. I learned quite a bit not only about Scrivener but more so about my mac.

That small window was indeed the contents of the installer. I’ve never seen anything like that on a pc. All I had to do was click on the Scrivener icon once, then move it into applications (as suggested). I was double clicking on that thing like a madman thinking that was the shortcut to open the program.

I feel like I need to hit the steam room after a tough workout.

Have fun!

Now where’s that steam-room you’re talking about?



Phew! Excellent. That is how most Mac applications are downloaded and made available for use. It’s a Mac thing, not a Scrivener thing. The funny extensions such as .dmg have particular meanings. dmg means disk image. The Mac sort of says, “Hey, this is a disk that’s been downloaded, guess I need to open it to see what’s inside.” Of course you know it is only an image of a disk and not a real one you can drop on your foot. So whatever is inside is usually an installer (which loads stuff into the applications folder automatically), OR it is a bunch of files you have to drag across yourself to the applications folder.

A little trick is to click once onto the blank desktop (screen) which will make a new set of information appear on the very top ribbon or panel [Finder, File, Edit, View, Go, Window, Help]. Click on the name in the ribbon called File, which makes a panel drop down. The second item in the drop down panel is New Folder. Go down to this using your mouse and release on it. It will make a new folder on the blank desktop (screen). You can rename this folder (which starts life as ‘untitled folder’ to Scrivener 1.03 (or whatever). It is always a good idea to include the version number so that when you upgrade the older version is still alive and well as a backup until you decide to get rid of it. If you don’t the computer will automatically trash the old application or folder if it has the same name as the one you are replacing it with.

Now we get to the point. Instead of dragging the application from the opened .dmg folder (which the computer thinks is a disk and which will disappear when you turn your computer off - not the .dmg - just the folder that opened when you DOUBLE clicked the .dmg) – drag the contents to the folder you just made. THEN drag that folder to the Applications folder and everything inside it will be safe - including the read me files etc.

One last tip: make a new folder that you leave on your desktop called Tiger Downloads and drag all of your .dmg folders there - for back up. So if your computer crashes you can reload all of your precious applications again from your backup disk. I make a practice of also backing up my documents (actual scripts and stories) to this folder as well by dragging a copy of the Scrivener Documents folder there. There are several keyboard shortcuts on the Mac ie Command-C for copy - worth learning. I do the drag holding down the OPTION (ALT) key, which automatically copies the source file or folder and leaves the source where it is.

All the best.

This reminds me… I think I really need to add a panel offering to open the tutorial the first time that Scrivener is run. The menu bar with no window confuses a lot of new users, so I need to address this. Thanks for reminding me. :slight_smile:
Glad you got it all figured out!
All the best,