HELP: When trying to open .sciv projects the terminal opens

Dear Fellow Users and Support Staff,

I am a longtime Scrivener user. As of today something very strange is happening. When I click on any .scriv project the terminal opens up rather than Scrivener. Please see the screenshot. The ONLY way to access projects is from the recent projects menu in Scrivener, but if it’s not been opened since I last cleared the list I cannot open it.
Screen Shot 2017-04-10 at 11.21.06 AM.png

I recently had some trouble syncing with Dropbox. The problem was not with Scrivener but with the fact that somehow I delinked Dropbox from my Mac; in the process of relinking I had stopped syncing. All was well; I figured it out and did not lose anything.

But not being able to open Scrivener projects is odd and concerning. I am tempted to redownload Scrivener and see if that works, but if it does not then I lose the recent projects menu and cannot open the things I am currently working on–and must keep working on now.

I will leave it there for now and will try and answer any questions to clarify.



Does right click - open with - Scrivener work on *.scriv files?

If so, you should try to right click - get info on any scriv file and change the way all scriv files are opened:

Dissertation.scriv Info Finder, Today at 17.34.25.png

Thanks re the right click suggestion. I am afraid it does not work.

In the meantime, I recalled that yesterday, when trying to sort out the syncing matters, I had copied the Scrivener app and placed the original in the trash. I decided right after I wrote to see if the trashed version of Scrivener (now called Scrivener (old)) would open files. It does. So, now I have trashed the copy and put Scrivener (old) in applications and it seems to be working. But what happened?

Thanks again


That could be your answer right there. How did you copy the app - via duplication? Never ever do that. The way to approach things is
(1) Trash the preferences file (or move it out of Preferences) to see if that cures things; if not move the original .plist file back again.
(2) Trash the app and REINSTALL it (don’t copy it) - reinstalling associates the newer version with all its ‘bits’ in Preferences, Application Support, etc.

By the way, use Command-I for a Get Info panel where you can change what app opens what kind of document; in this case, as you found out, it wasn’t relevant.

Thank you very much, but I am not sure what this means:

(1) Trash the preferences file (or move it out of Preferences) to see if that cures things; if not move the original .plist file back again.

Can you explain please? Thanks again

In your Preferences folder in Library (you will have to Google how to ‘see’ or ‘Go to’ your Library - I have mine permanently visible) there will be two files for Scrivener, which both begin com.literatureandlatte.scrivener2. These are the files to move out of the Preferences folder then relaunch Scrivener to see if the issue is cured. In this case though, it wasn’t the cause of your problem, and you don’t sound too confident about it, so perhaps I wouldn’t try this unless you know what you’re doing?

However, the other point about reinstalling apps instead of copying them, stands, and I believe this was the cause of your problem, which you resolved.

Of course, you should not do anything now, because things are working!

(By the way, you probably could have opened projects in two other ways during you emergency period: dragging projects and dropping on the Scriv app icon, and using Scriv’s own Open function.)

It is a mystery to me what troubleshooting magic you thought you were pursuing by duplicating the app and throwing the original away. That does not seem to me something that could possibly help anything.

It would be hard to diagnose what happened, because doing just what you said you did (duplicating the app, trashing the original, renaming the copy to the original’s name) ought not have caused a problem by itself. I would chalk it up as an anomaly until such time the like of it happens again!


Thanks all. Yes, it seems to be resolved. Copying Scrivener was likely done in a panic induced haze. Cannot recall the logic! Since installing Scrivener in 2008 and writing 2 books on it and into a third I have NEVER had a single moment of trouble so I was worried. It all seems to have been related to unlinking and relinking my Mac from Dropbox.

Thanks again.