Going from macOS to Linux via Windows/Wine (?)


I’ve used Scrivener for macOS for years (version 2.8.1). I’m looking to switch to a Linux laptop and it looks like the only way to use Scrivener with it is to use Wine and a Windows version of Scrivener. (Please correct me, if I’m wrong about that.)

So—does transferring from macOS to Windows work? Risky? Challenging? Piece of cake?

I saw a similar question on this forum about the reverse, and it mentioned Windows versions 1 and 3, but nothing about a 2.8 Mac version…

Also, do folks doing this really have to buy a whole new license just to keep using the program in a new format?


Swapping from Mac to Win current versions of Scrivener presents no data challenges other than you will need to update the project to the latest format.

The only way for you to run the Win version on Linux I believe is through Wine. Plenty of people do it, though it’s not without challenges apparently. The old Linux beta was never developed and I believe the data format is incompatible with later version.

Yes, you will have to purchase a new licence for the Win version. The two versions had completely separate development teams, processes, and challenges.

I do believe L&L will offer you a discount if you provide details of the Mac licence. Best email them using the contact form link on their web site home page. Licencing matters, beyond the most basic are not discussed on the forum due to customer privacy.


I have a collaborator who is using Ubuntu+Wine+Scrivener Win. The major problem we face font settings get messed up (we are juggling 3 OSes after all), and the compile dialog takes many seconds to show up. There are some other micro issues, but nothing major.

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Thanks for the detailed info/confirmations!

As a Mac-user who needed access to the Windows version, I used Crossover, which is a GUI for Wine, simplifying the installation process considerably, as it does the Wine set-up for you. CodeWeavers, the developers are very active in the development of Wine. There is a Linux version of it.

It costs (£60 for a year of updates, so presumably $60), so depending how comfortable you are with setting up Wine yourself, it would be an easy way in. The only problem I’ve ever encountered is getting a suitable version of .NET installed (necessary for accessing Paddle for licensing Scrivener).

There are plenty of people who can help you get Scrivener set up under Wine, but if cost would be less of an issue and time spent getting set up more of an issue, give it a try (14 days free trial).


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Sarah, you can use install Scrivener on linux using Wine (or Crossover) but that is not the only way. You can install a virtual machine (e.g. VirtualBox) and then install a full Windows operating system on the VM. You can then switch between each desktop using a keyboard shortcut (e.g. Crtl-F1, Crtl-F2) as necessary.

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Thanks! Good to know there’s nothing too huge to deal with.

Thanks! I’ll definitely take a look.

Thanks—is this how you’re doing it? Seems like the pro to that would be if a person had other Win programs they wanted to run, and the major con would be the extra memory, etc. for hosting a whole other OS?

If you have a linux machine then the ram requirements are not high, depending on your use case. From memory (sorry) Vbox only needs 4GB of ram. Scrivener uses little in Vbox. So unless you have a system of 8GB ram, you should be fine. Vbox is free and a Windows licence can be found for very little.

However, unless you are using Scrivener for scriptwriting, using Scriv under Wine should be fine. I had to go the Vbox route because some scriptwriting shortcuts would not work properly under Wine.

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Just another thought, depending on your timescale (and your current Mac + OS version), you could install a trialof Crossover on your Mac and download Windows Scrivener, install it and run it in trial mode without needing a licence to see how you get on with it.


I’m making this same move–Mac to Linux–and I would definitely recommend doing it all in trial mode at first to make sure it works. I’m having some trouble getting it work well enough to actually use it, so I’m glad I haven’t paid for anything yet, to be perfectly honest, because it might not work out.