Help. I cannot load my file

Hi there. I desperately am seeking assistance to recover my Scrivener project which is not loading.
I am using Scrivener on MacBook Pro (Retina, Mid 2015) on MacOS Mojave.
I have never had this problem occur before btw.
Earlier today I finished my work shutting down my MacBook Pro and closing Scrivener.
On my flight back to Seattle, I opened Scrivener and my file would not load. I tried getting out of the program. It would not close. I tried saving the file. Nothing happened. It got stuck in a Loading file…msg then Saving changed file… msg that would not resolve (see 1 of the 3 pictures attached which shows the unresolving Loading file msg but not the Saving one)

When I closed down the Mac and reopened it, Scrivener could load other projects but the same behavior occurred on my critical file but at some point when it actually opened it showed the screen with “No Selection” in the windows (see one of the attached files).

I have attached a screenshot of the file in its directory showing when I last modified it today at 12:49pm today.

Please help with showing me how I can recover my project?

Warm Regards

Tom in Seattle

It’s worth noting that version 2 was never tested for, nor repaired to work with macOS 10.14. We are aware of some bugs that can result in what you’re describing, or something similar to it.

It is a relatively benign bug in that you can get out of it, and it doesn’t hurt anything, but whenever it happens you’ll need to run through this checklist. Since the project does appear to somewhat open, you may be able to attempt saving the project settings to a Layout, before clearing them.

Hi Loa,
Thank you so much for being with me on this. My first anxiety to not lose my content. I think you have reassured me to that extent.
So, I am trying the second procedure which is
[] I have created a zip copy of the project.
] Extracted a new copy.
[] Double clicked on it…this is when I got the warning attached but I proceeded.
] Now I get the same msg "Loading “File Name” which just hangs and does not resolve.

I think what I am going to do now is reboot the laptop then go into the original file and trash its “ui.plis” file. I will let you know of success.

I’m wondering if re-installing Scrivener might help?
Maybe even going to Scrivener 3?
My biggest fear is that I will not be able to recover my content.

Thank you again for being a God send.


Loa, I ‘misspoke’ in my reply. When I went to close down the Mac I came to find that the unzipped project had actually opened in the background and was now available to me. So I stopped the close-down process. I am in the process of inspecting the file and seeing how manageable it is in terms of being stable for saving and reopening on a sustained basis. I will keep you posted on success.


I’m sorry to keep hanging on like this but I am not quite resolved on the issue here.
I inspected the new project’s content to my satisfaction and saved it manually.
Then I saw that the Saving window was still lingering (see attached). So I saved it again
to see if the time stamp on file in the directory did actually change and it did which tells
me the file was saved despite the lingering window. So that’s good but now I am wondering
what will destabilize me for good? Would going to Scrivener 3 solve the issue or is it an OS problem?

Thanks for being my angel on this.



I think I might be missing one attachment from you—what you are seeing when it is “saving” perpetually?

I can say the other one, the “Copied project” warning is benign. If you read the text of that message you will see it is safe to continue if you are sure it isn’t open on another computer. This message can appear if it is copied or backed up while open, or when crashing.

As to the rest—like I say version 2 is not tested to run and 10.14 and it isn’t supported. I can’t really say whether there is a fix for what you’re running into. It sounds unusual to me, I’m sure there are plenty of people out there trying to use version 2 on 10.14, but I don’t really know what’s wrong.

Upgrading would potentially fix the problem, but I cannot say for sure without knowing what the problem is. You can of course test this yourself easily enough, by downloading the demo and opening the project with it. It will create a backup for you, so updating the project format is safe. Plus you can test the software for 30 days and determine whether it is worth the upgrade.

Sorry Amber, attaching a pic of the lingering Save window that will only go away if I reboot. [it is though only localized to one desktop, so I guess it would disappear if I deleted that one :slight_smile:]

As I proceed on, my plan is to run your procedure(s) on the backed up file from yesterday which I located in the backup directory [i’m learning] to see how working with that one turns out. Hopefully that will be a pre-corrupted version (assuming that’s what it is). If that doesn’t work out then I’ll probably proceed to move to Scriv3.

Could I trouble you to confirm that Scriv3 is ok to work on Mojave 10.14?

Above everything else, it’s a huge relief to find that my content and data is safe.

Thank you again so much for your help.


Well you might be able to just force quit Scrivener rather than fully rebooting. But that’s not a good scenario to be in really, having to force quit to close a project (and who knows how well it is closing).

To test whether it is a single project problem or not, you could use the Help menu to create a copy of the interactive tutorial. That will give you a little content to work with, and so hopefully enough to see whether this is a general issue. If it doesn’t work either, there’s no sense in digging through backups.

Yup, that’s no problem. It works all the way back to 10.12 in fact, which is what was in circulation when it was released. Version 3 is also the only version that will work once you upgrade to 10.15! That’s good to know before you make that jump—10.15 drops support for all older 32-bit software. I wouldn’t recommend upgrading to it for a while yet though, it’s pretty buggy! :slight_smile:

Hi Ioa,

I would consider my case ‘closed’.

I was able to drag and drop folder files into a new project file and abandoned the earlier buggy one which I think got corrupted. I also manually copied over project notes not knowing of any way to migrate them easily over.

I found that using the backed up unzipped file also gave me saving issues. I did have a report sent to Scrivener at the last issues appearance trying to use the backup copy.

I think the nature of the issue stemmed from a forced quit of Scrivener that was somehow imposed on me after having left Scrivener open for several days - don’t know exactly the details though.

I will continue to use 2.8 on 10.14 for now but will soon be migrating over my production file to Scrivener 3.0 trial to orient myself then proceed on from there.

Thanks again for your support.


Yeah that’s one of the reasons for why we changed project notes quite a bit in v3. There really was no good way of exporting them, or even searching through them. When you get to the point of upgrading your project, you’ll find them automatically converted to “bookmarked” binder items, which is how this will work going forward. You can keep your important notes easy to get at—browse them in the sidebar like before, or the window—but otherwise they are binder items, so you can even compile them if you want.

Sounds like a good plan. I like to take things slow for the major software I use, as well.

  • I’d recommend going through the interactive tutorial—at least through the Collection tab that is oriented toward existing users. It’ll run through the basics of the bigger changes to look out for (like project notes).
  • Another helpful resource will be Appendix E in the user manual, which does much of the same, though to a greater level of detail. That’s the place to go if you’re looking for a setting or menu command that appears to have vanished.
  • Lastly, we have a migration tutorial, which is mainly aimed at translating your compile settings to the new system with a minimum of fuss. Despite the large changes on the surface, the underlying mechanisms are quite similar, enough so that there is an import feature that it will walk you through.

Great - thank you for this info.
Do you know if and how the project notes migrated over?

That is one of the things all of those resources goes over, and as well if you upgrade a project with notes, the software will present a dialogue explaining precisely how they will be migrated.

Awesome. Thanks again…downloading the guide file now and the 30 day trial of S3 for now…