Human-readable .scriv packages

I write both on Mac and Windows computers. Within Windows, .scriv files are treated as folders. When I go into a .scriv folder, I see a few Scrivener-specific files, and also a bunch of RTF’s which comprise my project. These RTF’s are labeled only by number. When a project has grown to thirty-five chapters, and when numerous scrivenings have been deleted along the way (leaving gaps in the numbers), finding a specific scrivening becomes difficult.

On a Mac, the make-up of a .scriv is of course not an issue… Yet because I do a good deal of writing on Windows, I would love to be able to easily navigate my scrivenings while on non-Mac operating systems, or while on Macs without Scrivener installed. To this end, I wish that the .RTF files within a .scriv file were both named and numbered. Instead of seeing “1.rtf,” seeing “1 Need.rtf” (or whatever the chapter’s name might be) would be much more informative.

I’m not Keith so obviously this is not an official answer, but:

You will almost certainly not see any change to this until a Version 2.x release, which is a long way off. Part of the reason is to do with how Scrivener accesses and references files internally, how two files can have the same “name” (but their number will be unique), etc. I think Keith has detailed this in a post somewhere before, but I have no idea which thread. Regardless, to change the internal structure would involve a large amount of work.

As it currently stands, the .scriv files are not intended to be opened and accessed independently, except in the emergency case of retrieving data from an otherwise corrupted file. If you play around inside that folder for any other reason, you would be running the risk of corrupting it so that it will not work in Scrivener at all (this will probably be fine if you only edit the RTF files, but if you accidentally changed or deleted anything else, there could be trouble).

There have been some other discussions about how people work on windows, or work with other users who have windows, so you might like to try a forum search to see if you can turn up some of those threads.


Even that might cause problems. I am not sure of it, but I think that the fast searching index would get out of synch if you do a lot of editing of the files themselves.

Yes, it is definitely not recommended to go poking around inside the .scriv files either on the Mac or on Windows. They have the format they have just for added security; that is, if Scrivener completely blew up or suddenly failed to work on every single computer everywhere on the same day I got abducted by aliens, you would still be able to extract your data. It wouldn’t be pretty, but you could do it - all your words would be there, intact.

The format is not designed for you to editing files inside a .scriv file, though. Generally this wouldn’t do too much harm, but you could mess up any footnotes and annotations, which could cause internal errors in Scrivener; you could mess up the indexing of files for the search (though you can fix that by holding down the Control key when you click on “Save”). Etc.

The current internal numbering system was adopted following feedback on Scrivener Gold. Scrivener Gold’s .scriv format had all the files with their titles internally. However, many users found this frustrating. It meant that tiles could not contain characters disallowed by the file system (so you couldn’t have a title with a slash or a colon in it); it also meant that you couldn’t have two documents with the same name. Thus, the current system.

If you want to edit your documents elsewhere, I would instead recommend using File > Export > Files. That will create RTF files (or whatever format you choose) with the correct titles. You can then just reimport them into Scrivener.