HELP! My Scrivener seems to have disappeared!

My ENTIRE novel appears to have been deleted. I went to open scrivener but it says it’s an alias only and when I try to fix the alias it asks me which application to use - but Scrivener won’t highlight. Please help me - I have an entire year’s worth of work on scrivener. I’m completely freaking out - and no, I don’t have a backup (sorry).

Sorry to ask the obvious, but is it actually just an alias that you are trying to open? (It will have an arrow in the corner if so.)

Have you tried searching your hard drive for “.scriv” using Spotlight? That will bring up any Scrivener projects.

Where did you save your project? Have you moved or deleted any files recently? Scrivener can’t delete files on its own, so hopefully this is just a problem of finding the file if you’ve moved things around.


I did delete some files but only from the downloads - could it have been in there? Yes, it’s definitely the alias… when I search the HD it brings up the title of my novel and the tutorial but when I click on them it simply says: “There is no default application specified to open the document…”

oops, I did Apple/System preferences, but no “spotlight” comes up… where do I find spotlight?



Oy - sorry to be a dolt. Found spotlight… but can’t see a box where to type in my search.

Okay, found out how to use spotlight - but nothing came up - just the same aliases as before.


You haven’t deleted Scrivener have you? If you had, then you wouldn’t be able to open the files of course - could you have left Scrivener itself in your downloads folder and then deleted that?

How big are the files you think are aliases? Aliases are usually only about 4kb.

It’s possible that the file was in the Downloads folder, but you would have had to specify for it to be saved there when you first created the project - otherwise it would have been saved in your Documents folder.

What happens if you launch Scrivener and then go to File > Recent Projects? Is your project not there? Or what if you open Scrivener and go to File > Open and try to open one of the files that seem to be aliases?


When I try to launch Scrivener I can’t do anything except get a message saying it’s an alias. It asks me to either “Fix Alias” “Delete Alias” or “OK”

My actual novel is in the documents folder with the title.scriv but when I click on it it simply says the document could not be opened.

All right, your novel is almost certainly fine. As the good guide says, “Don’t Panic!” :slight_smile:

It sounds like all you need to do is re-install Scrivener. Who knows how, but somehow you lost the original version and have been using an alias to open it all this time. Now that the original is missing, the alias obviously can’t do much. The first place I would check is in your Trash can, in the Dock. Click on that and see if Scrivener is in there. If it is, just drag it back out into the Applications folder. You can open the Applications folder by clicking on the Desktop background once, and then using the “Go” menu.

If it’s not in the trash, then follow these instructions to re-install.

And don’t empty your trash, just in case.

Not in the dock - am reinstalling now… will let you know if that works.

Breathe, Breathe, Breathe,

OMG it worked!!! Can I send you flowers/ promise you my first born? A thank you when I’m published??? :laughing:


Now about those backups you should be making. :slight_smile:

Glad you got everything back up and running, and nothing was lost! And yes, you should definitely start backing up. :slight_smile: Scrivener’s File > Back Up To feature allows you to make copies - or zipped copies - of your project easily.


You read my mind. I just did that!!! :stuck_out_tongue:

…and if you open a (free) account with Dropbox you’ll be able to make zipped backups to there as well. That way if your computer blows up or your hard drive dies, you will still have a backup online. I’m so glad this thread had a happy ending. I was reading with my heart in my mouth.


Can I just add in a “teaching your grandmother to suck eggs” kind of way, make sure you’ve installed Scrivener in your “Applications” folder, and not just from the DMG you downloaded. If you did the latter — or are doing it now — Scrivener will disappear as soon as you turn off your computer.