lost Project

I am working on a project called “new Bhutan.” It was named that when I lost its earlier rendition, “Bhutan,” and relocated it using backups (perhaps Time Machine, I can’t remember.) Now I want to put New Bhutan into the cloud, so that I can refer to it from several different sites, but I can’t find the “new Bhutan” folder. Where is it?

Have you tried searching for it in Spotlight yet? Not that this helps you out, but it could literally be anywhere. There is no prohibition on where you can save Scrivener files, so it’s very difficult for anyone else to say. Also check for a phrase you know to be in the project. Spotlight can probe into the contents of a project as well.

What is Spotlight?

And please excuse my technological haplessness.

It’s your Mac’s primary search engine. It stores file names, text content, and even details like e-mail respondent addresses, subject lines, picture dates—pretty much anything you can think of about pretty much any file you can imagine. :slight_smile: To use Spotlight, click the magnifying glass in the top-right corner of your Mac’s menu bar, up by the clock, WiFi and battery indicators. To view the location of a search result (rather than open it), hold down the Command key when clicking on it.

Thank you, AmberV. I’ve now tried spotlight, and nothing useful shows up. I can’t figure out why the name of the project I’m working on, which appears at the top of Scrivener as I work on it, can’t be found anywhere. There must be an explanation.

What are scrivener project files anyway?-- folders or something else?

If the problem is that you can work on the Scrivener file New Bhutan but you don’t know where the file is on the disk, then can’t you use Scriveners’s “Save As” command from the File menu?

If the Save As dialogue box opens in its small form, click on the triangle to the right of the Save As: field and the larger form will open.

You’ll be able to save the file directly into the cloud from there, I think, but it any case, it will tell you where the current file is. (If you click on the lozenge directly below the Save As: field you will see a list of folders with the current one at the top, then its parent, then the grandparent and so on, giving the full path to the file).

You are right that Scrivener files are actually folders – they’re of a special sort called Bundles, which Finder treats as single files. Your iPhoto file uses the same mechanism. If you right click on a Scrivener file in Finder and choose “Show Package Contents” you can look inside to see what they really contain. NB: you rarely if ever need to do this…


You don’t even need “Save As” just to see the file path if the project is open–while holding the Control key, click on the icon to the left of the project title at the top of the Scrivener window and you’ll see the file path hierarchy as a list, e.g.:

new Bhutan.scriv

You can then use Finder to work backwards through that, as it were, to locate your project: in Finder, click on YOURCOMPUTER, then YOURHARDRIVE, then Users, etc. (In reality, you could really just start at the YOURUSERNAME level, which will be your Home folder.) Make sure though that you close the project in Scrivener before you try to copy or move it to your Dropbox.

Question: do you have file extensions hidden on your system? In other words, do Scrivener projects show as “New Bhutan” or “New Bhutan.scriv”, other documents as “some name” or “some name.doc” or “some name.rtf”, etc.? I would always recommend having extensions turned on, as it saves lots of problems.

If they’re off, when looking at the finder choose the menu , in the window click the “Advanced” icon and then make sure “Show all filename extensions” is ticked. You can then search in Spotlight for *.scriv, for instance.


Yes, if you can get the project open in the first place then it’s easy to locate where it is using the above advice. If you can’t open it, then it might be that it got accidentally renamed at some point so what you are searching for is coming up with nothing. I would try searching Spotlight for a phrase that you know is in the project, Spotlight indexes the stuff you write in the project as well. Since the name might not be what you expect, check the results list for Scrivener icons, and hold the Command key and click on them. This will open a Finder window with them selected, showing you where the file is located, rather than opening it. You can then fix the name there (just make absolutely sure it is closed in Scrivener, first).

Thank you for these extremely valuable suggestions. They’ve enabled me to locate “new Bhutan” in the Scriveners Backups folder (in the Applications Support folder). For some reason things in the backups folder don’t seem to register in searches. In any case, what I must have done when I lost the original “Bhutan” folder was to start working from its backup, without changing its name or putting it some other folder. I’ve had no trouble opening it and working in it from then on.

So my question now is, where should I move this backup folder to, so it’s no longer a backup? (And will it then generate its own backup?)

The easiest way to move a file between two folders is to open a new Finder window. So use the File/New menu command in Finder, and then from there navigate into Documents. Now you can drag the project from the backup folder into the Documents folder (making sure none of the sub-folders in that window light up when you drop it; just drag it to a spot where there is only an outline around the entire Documents list and then let go) and then once it is moved, open it from Documents by double-clicking on it. Make sure it is closed when you move it. Moving an open project can make a mess of things. Now, assuming your backup settings have not been changed, when you close this project you should see a new backup appear for it.

All done. AmberV and Xiamenese and brookter and MimeticMouton, thank you all for your clear, valuable guidance.