Incompatible versions between Mac and Windows


Our team wants to use Scrivener together on a project and work off the same files at times / send things around, but we currently use both Windows and Mac machines.

Whenever I attempt to open a Scrivener file saved by a Mac user, it gives me an Error about the file having been saved by a newer version of Scrivener. Did some research, and it seems like there isn’t much to do apart from either downgrading on the Mac machine, or downloading a not-so-stable Beta version on Windows. So my questions would be:

  1. Has anyone worked around this successfully and can share his/her experience?

  2. Why is this the case? This feels like a pretty obvious flaw. Does anyone know if the developer team plans to fix this? 'Cause if not, we’ll probably cannot use Scrivener.

Thanks in advance!

  • Christian

Yes, you’re absolutely correct. The only way the project formats will be compatible without effort is if you either downgrade Scrivener for Mac to 2.9 or use the Windows 2.9.x.x betas. You CAN download 2.9 for Mac and your 3.0 license codes will work for it. You can find that download here:

There one possibility you did not mention: Scrivener Mac 3.0.x can import and export Windows Scrivener projects. This would mean always importing and exporting on the Mac side, which may or may not work for your team workflow.

As I only use Scrivener Mac / Scrivener iOS I can’t speak to the stability of the Windows beta.

I’m not a company spokesperson, just a user, but…

The only plans I’ve ever heard for making the Windows file format compatible with Scrivener 3.0.x for Mac is the eventual release of Scrivener 3.0.x for Windows. Since I don’t use the Windows version(s), I can’t speak to the stability of the current Windows beta. I can affirm that L&L’s policy is to not announce release dates more than a week or three in advance, so there’s no telling when, exactly, Windows 3.0.0 will be released, although L&L have said “next year.” They said that in late 2017, so I’m presuming 2018. Sometime.

Also, you did mention in your post that your plans are to “work off the same files at times.” Scrivener in general has no internal support for this. It would mean using team discipline to be certain that only one individual was working on a project at any given time. That said, there are many successful collaborators on the forum and since I’m not one, I can’t give good guidance on how to achieve collaboration :smiley:

Can someone from the development team comment here? I bought the bundle as I use both Windows and Mac machines, depending on where I am, but I can only really use the Mac version, taking into account this fundamental flaw. I love Scrivener to bits but coming from a dev background myself its poor to release two OS versions with a flaw like this, in a bundle, and would expect your teams to have a timeline for resolving this defect.

I’m not from the development team, but I can say that I’ve just not upgraded my Mac Scrivener so that I can maintain compatibility with my Windows computer in my office. It’s annoying not having the latest version and having a lot of things coming out showing the new features and not being able to access them, but I’m just plugging away at my writing (a PhD dissertation) until it comes out. I keep searching to see if any announcements have been made. I’m hoping that it does happen before the end of 2018!

I have been using the beta version for about four months on two projects that require daily writing, and I can attest to the fact that (for me at least on a Windows 8.1 laptop) the beta is very solid.

I work on Windows and on my iPad and sync between the two with no problems, using Dropbox.

The primary area in which the Windows Beta is still deficient is in the area of compiling and exporting finished work. (There are other things to be added but this, I believe, is the main area still lacking necessary features).

If you have the Mac version as well as the Windows beta then you could do all your compiling on the Mac. This would give you a modern working environment on both operating systems.


I’m not from the development team, but the status of the Windows version and the project format change were both clearly disclosed when Mac Scrivener 3.0 was released. Moreover, the “Export as Scrivener 2 Project” option was present in Mac Scrivener 3 from the initial release (actually from the late betas).


I tried using Windows Beta and now have downloaded Scrivener Windows version But I still cannot use Scrivener Windows to open documents started in (or saved with) Scrivener Mac version 3.0.3 (3032). I had hoped that the most recent update of Scrivener Windows would fix Mac compatibility issues, but this appears not to be the case.

Reading through posts in this forum, it looks like I might be able to address this issue by saving documents from Scrivener Mac as a pre-version 3.0 file. Can anyone affirm that this is true? And if so, how to I set Scrivener Mac to save files in the appropriate format?

Thank you.

The File -> Export -> Export as Scrivener 2 Project command in Mac Scrivener 3 will render your projects readable by the current Windows release version, which is 1.9.8.

Windows Scrivener 3 uses the same project format as Mac Scrivener 3, so if you’re not able to share projects between Mac Scrivener 3 and the Windows Beta version, that’s a bug and should be reported as such in the Windows Beta forum.


Thanks for the reply. That process is still a bit long winded to be honest. Are there any plans to make the files compatible between Windows and Mac in the near future?

Hi Jenny,

When Windows v3 is released, then Mac and Windows prod versions will be fully compatible. I would be shocked if prior to that they released some sort of intermediate Win hybrid that was compatible with v3, as it would be a ton of work and they have zero incentive to take such a side journey. ETA: And if they planned to release an intermediate Win version compatible with v3, my feeling is they would have prioritized such a thing and released it already. It seems silly to do it so late in the beta cycle.

L&L will not commit to dates of major releases, so you are unlikely to see anything from them regarding timing of prod Win v3 other than, “We’re working as hard as we can to release as soon as possible.”

The current Win beta has many major functions complete, but there seem to be many low to medium issues to correct. It expires mid Dec. There’s no way L&L will release a major upgrade so near to the holidays, so my complete and utter guess is that we’re looking at first quarter next year at the earliest for the Win v3 prod release.

Jim (who’s just a customer)

I work on Mac and my collaborator in China works on Windows; I use Mac 3, she uses Windows 3 beta; we work in both Chinese and English. So far we have not encountered any problems. There is nothing long-winded about it.

Furthermore, because she is in China, where Dropbox is blocked, we use Sync for our shared projects, and even though the developers at say it is not recommended for Scrivener projects, we have not encountered any problems.