Issue with backup files

Hi, appreciate any help. I had used Scrivener on a previous computer without any issues - loved it - but now I’ve started using it on a newer Mac and got the notice “Project not in a recommended save location.” I contacted Scrivener support with some back and forth; however, lately, no one has been responding.

Nonetheless, as instructed by support, I set up a Scrivener Backup folder and Scrivener Projects folder in Documents folder. I searched ‘Find all Projects in Spotlight’ to find the files however no zip folders or folders showed up there.

However, when I searched for the name of the main project, a bunch of files showed up on the Hard drive.

Should I be moving these into the Backup folder even tho’ they do not show up in Spotlight?

In addition, I have a .3scriv Recovered folder that has Scrivener files from a previous computer. They are showing up as RTF files. What is the best way to merge those to the current Scrivener?

Thanks so much.

Is Scrivener support having issues? I appreciate being able to ask here and hope someone can help.

Scrivener support is fine. I’m not seeing anything from this email address in our queue, though. Is there another address you might have used? Have you checked your junk folder to see if responses have been misdirected?

To your underlying question, the “Find Projects in Spotlight” command will only find projects, which end in .scriv. Files ending in are compressed backup files and cannot be opened by Scrivener directly – you need to uncompress them first. But yes, these should go in your designated backup folder.

You can import .RTF files with the File → Import command or by dragging and dropping from Finder to the Scrivener Binder.

Where was it? One location Scrivener doesn’t like for projects is any folder where you have zip backups.

Naturally, since Spotlight doesn’t think a .zip file is a .scriv folder. (It isn’t.)

Spotlight finds them anywhere, so it doesn’t care where you put them.

If that’s the purpose of the Backup folder, yes. (It is the purpose of it, right?)

.3scriv? If you mean .scriv, that’s a project folder. Copy it to the new machine and open it as a project. You can open that and any other project version side by side, compare them, and drag/drop documents from one to the other.

Thanks for your response.

Yes, I contacted Scrivener from another email address and neither my email written to Support last Monday or last Thursday has been responded to. I checked SPAM.

I was told originally by support to search ‘Find Projects in Spotlight’ to find my files. However, many of them were outside of that search, hence my writing here that they did not come up in that search but instead on the hard drive which was not where I was directed to look. Which is why I am writing. Since I’ve been having trouble and never did the last time I used Scrivener on another computer for MANY years, I am hesitant to put something where it should not go.

I was not told to uncompress them before moving them to the backup folder. That is also new information.

I already imported the RTF … I would like to resolve the current material issues before dealing with the importing which has already been done and those files from the other computer are on this computer already. I’m a little worried that this is not going to go seamlessly, but will try. One thing at a time.


Hi, thanks for your response.

I don’t know if anything is really ‘naturally’ since I used Scrivener for many years on another computer and never had one problem, so these issues are all new to me.

Yes, the project back up and docs were in the same document folder. Again, I never had any trouble previously so this surprised me when this notification showed up. I didn’t intentionally put anything anywhere … that’s where I was led basically initially, no idea I was doing something ‘wrong.’

The reason I asked about moving to Backup folder is because the Scrivener support person told me the files to move would show up in the Spotlight search. Instead, they showed up on the hard drive. I’m asking the question because I don’t know. Informing me of the purpose of the backup folder is not the issue here.

And these files were not found by Spotlight so it did not “find them anywhere.” I had to do a separate search of the computer looking for the name of the project and found them on the Hard drive – not via Spotlight.

The document that I am referring to with the older files is showing up, as I wrote, as .3scriv Recovered folder which is why I wrote it out that way. It’s already on the new computer showing up THAT way. Inside are RTF files. Someone else said to just move them into Scrivener but I’m going to try to figure out the initial back up issues before dealing with that, worried something else may go wrong here.

I am not a Scrivener newbie but I never had any problem before using it for five years. It’s a bit frustrating.

Thank you for your response.

If you could message me the email address you used, I’ll take a look at the queue and see what’s up.

To be clear, there’s no need to uncompress backups before moving them. In fact, you probably shouldn’t, as compressed projects are less vulnerable to damage in transit for a variety of reasons. You just need to be aware that ZIP backups can’t be opened by Scrivener directly and won’t show up if you search for .scriv files.

Please understand that we don’t know where your data is stored. When we ask you to search, we are only guessing, based on our experience and the information you provide. Often, projects appear to be “missing” because they were inadvertently stored in an unexpected location: on a removable drive, in an unexpected subfolder, and so on. Searching in more places is never wrong.

This specific warning is new with newer versions of Scrivener. More information about it is here:

  • Spotlight found your projects when you searched for projects, and it found your zip files (and projects) when you searched by file name. It finds them anywhere.
  • If you did the second search with built-in Mac features, you used Spotlight whether you knew it or not. If you used a 3rd party search app, it probably used Spotlight’s indices, and you could have used Spotlight directly with the same results.
  • Spotlight indexes the hard drive, so there’s no distinction (other than method) between finding them in Spotlight vs finding them on the hard drive. Spotlight is not a place; it’s a search engine.


Thank you. But seriously Spotlight did not find these other files. I searched in my Hard drive as I would search for anything on the computer. I’d love to give Spotlight ‘credit’ but it just is not so.
Perhaps you’re right but I don’t think so…


Thank you, this is good to know.

I will send a private message and reflect on what you wrote. I just never needed to overthink previously on Scrivener and this is all throwing me for a loop that I can’t just use it effortlessly. It’s been stressful. But I will message you and thanks for this info. But yes no one still has responded. Thanks.

I don’t see a message icon next to your name to add another glitch so are you able to message me and I will respond? Thanks.

Message sent. Please acknowledge.

Thank you. Apologies for the delay. Response sent. Thx.

Responded via private message.