HELP! Emergency. Data is Disappearing a few seconds after opening project!!

I’ve been using Scrivener on Mac for years with no problem. Today I opened up my book manuscript project (saved on Dropbox) and as soon as I click on a file in the binder, it turns blank. I have tried exporting and compiling. Only some of my files show up in the export. I have an entire book manuscript in there–probably 200K words. I have no idea what’s going on. I can see older backups. I have opened those and the same thing happens. When I close the doc and reopen it, my files show up but if I keep it open for a bit, they turn blank before my eyes (even without me clicking on them) so I can’t even copy paste. Holy god. Please help. I have another version on my laptop I haven’t opened for two days. It’s connected to dropbox however, so it would have synced last night with this project.

I’m panicking. Does anyone know a Scrivener expert who can walk me through this stuff over the phone? I will pay handsomely. I need help! Thank you!

“Blank” documents are an indication of incomplete synchronization: the master index file used to build the Binder is there, but not the actual contents of the project.

You posted this question in the Windows forum. Is the issue happening with Windows or Mac Scrivener?

The question matters because the project appears a little differently on the two platforms. On the Mac, you see a single .scriv file, but it’s actually a folder, with subfolders and many component files. With Windows, you see the full structure, and double-click on the .scrivx file to open the project. For that reason, it’s not unusual for Windows users to copy the .scrivx file separately from the project, which will cause exactly the symptoms that you’re seeing.


Thanks Katherine. I thought I was in the Mac Forum. I’m so sorry. Any way to move the thread?

Ps. I am in my Dropbox and I have found, I hope, the deleted data as files in the “docs” folder as “rtf” files. For some reason, they were all deleted but Dropbox keeps them awhile, thank god, so I’m restoring them to Dropbox. No idea how to make them appear in Scrivener again? And also keep this from happening in the future?

Okay, I have restored every one of my rtf files on and it seems like I’m not missing anything. I will definitely do my own backups going forward and not just rely on Scrivener’s transferring seamlessly to the cloud. I don’t know why they all suddenly deleted however.
I need a whiskey. Thanks all.

Yay! Glad to hear you’re back on track.

Best practices for reducing the risk of synchronization errors are discussed here: … c-services

There are a number of things that can cause mass deletion of files, ranging from “helpful” cleanup utilities that think you have duplicates, to user error, Without more information, I wouldn’t want to speculate about what might have happened in this case. Since you are on a Mac, though (I’ll move the thread), one thing to check is the Mac OS Documents and Desktop feature. This evil spawn of dark powers will “optimize” your disk by storing things in iCloud, rather than locally. Using that feature in combination with Dropbox could cause massive confusion.