I'm losing my text


I’ve been using Scrivener for a couple years and am just now losing text.

The other day I opened my project and four completed scenes were completely blank. The next day I noted that several synopses were gone. Today I paid more attention and clearly watched as my synopses disappeared, gone forever, when I clicked on the title in outline mode with a double screen.

So far, I’ve been able to recapture the lost text because I’ve sent proofs to my writing partner, but it’s super scary and I lost hours recopying and pasting only to have to do it again today.

Please help.

thank you,

Since you list Mac + iOS in your profile, I assume you are using Dropbox? This is a common symptom of a synchronization error, where the master index file (used to build the Binder) is out of sync with the actual documents in the project. Make sure to fully synchronize Dropbox before leaving one system, and before opening the project on the other.

On the Mac, Scrivener’s automatic backups can be found by going to the Scrivener -> Preferences -> Backups tab, and checking the box to open the backup folder in Finder.

For future reference, it’s a good idea to address this kind of problem immediately. Ignoring it won’t make it go away. Not only do you risk further data loss, but because of the way Scrivener’s backups work you risk progressively overwriting good backups with damaged copies of the project.


What can be done to make these kinds of sync errors far less common?

Don’t open the project in multiple locations at once.

Always ensure that Dropbox has finished synchronizing before shutting down the device you’re working on, and before opening the project on a new device.

If you find yourself with an unusually poor internet connection, be sure to synchronize the project once your connectivity is restored. (In extreme cases, it might make sense to simply disable synchronization altogether until you have good connectivity again.)

And, as I said to the OP, if you discover an error, fix it promptly.

Synchronization errors should be rare, and are rare for most people. If you find that you’re getting a lot of them, you might take a look at your work habits with the above best practices in mind.


I wasn’t ignoring the problem. I was assuming user error.

That said, while I do use dropbox, I don’t open my projects in multiple locations, and I do check that the project has finished syncing before opening it. I check by looking at the date and time in my dropbox menu bar and watching for the green check. What else might I do?

The file, which I am absolutely sure is now synced, is still doing it. Thoughts?

ps: I went and got an old backup, saved it as a new project, then added in all the newer stuff, and finally deleted the old that I had not replaced. This left me with a slight loss of synopses in the files that I actually wrote in, but otherwise I’m good again.

Locate the project in Finder, right-click, and select the option to Show Package Contents. Browse through, looking for any files with names that don’t match the standard naming scheme. Dropbox-related conflict files will have names like “Conflicted copy of…” other services will have other names.

Knowing what the structure of the project looks like is the first step to figuring out what’s going on.


There is something similar you can be doing for caution in iOS Scriv. So, for example, when you are done working in your project, you probably want to back out of that project in iOS to get to the iOS Scriv project desktop. At that point, Scriv autosyncs to Dropbox or you tell it to. And then you make sure that’s done before exiting the app or sleeping the device.