Mac AND Windows?

I use a Mac at home to write, but have to use a Windows machine at work. What I would like to do is use Scrivener on both platforms, working off a project file in dropbox.
I downloaded the trial version of Scrivener on my Windows machine, but it doesn’t seem to recognize the Mac project.
Can this be done?

Which version of Scrivener do you have on the Mac? If it’s 1.x, it won’t work as the file-structure is different. You need to have Mac v. 2.x for Windows to be able to open the project.


I’m using version 2.2 on the Mac. I’m not sure what version I have on Windows, but I just downloaded it so I assume it’s the latest version.

If you’re getting an incompatible error, see this post:

Because the Mac and Windows should all be friends, and projects can be shared between them.

I don’t actually get an error message. I select to open a project, navigate to the .scrivx file, and select it, and nothing happens. I have also tried just double-clicking on the file within the folder, and again, nothing happens.
I can create a new project in scrivener on the Windows machine, and I can open the current project on my Mac, but it won’t open the current project on the Windows machine.
I did check the version file, and it contains 16 like it should.
Anyone else have any ideas on what I can try?

So the Scrivener project resides on neither the Mac nor the Windows machine, correct? I don’t work like that, so I can’t provide any first hand experience.

But I do have Windows Scrivener projects, so I can say that if I navigate with Windows Explorer into a Scrivener project folder on Windows, for example, “MyProject.scriv”, and I highlight the “project.scrivx” file, Explorer underlines it and draws a light blue highlight around that line in its display. When that happens, a single left mouse click will launch Scrivener and cause it to open that project file.

Notice that the file type, listed in the column labeled “Type”, says “Scrivener Project.” Is that also the case on your Windows machine? Does Windows know that a file that ends in “.scrivx” is a Scrivener file? If not, that explains why nothing happens on a single click. Windows doesn’t know to launch Scrivener when a “.scrivx” file is single-clicked.

I don’t know your specific version of Windows, but Google “file association” and the name of your OS and you should find articles that describe how to associate “.scrivx” files with Scrivener.

But the first thing you might try is to launch Scrivener on Windows and create a simple project on your local hard drive, not on Dropbox. Maybe type a line of text into a text file in the binder, then close everything up. After that, navigate to the “project.scrivx” file of the project Windows Scrivener has just created. Single-click it. See whether or not a project file created by Windows Scrivener will launch, If it does, then files created under Windows are associated with Scrivener, but perhaps files on Dropbox are not, for some reason? If Windows says “Scrivener Project” for projects created on Windows, but doesn’t say “Scrivener Project” for projects in Dropbox, that’s the problem.

I was having the same issue.

I’ve been using Scrivener on both my Mac and PC since this summer with no trouble until recently. I’ve created documents on both and swapped them back and forth easily via Dropbox. It’s been frictionless.

However, in the past couple weeks, I’ve been unable to access one project only on my PC. Nothing happens at all–no error message even. Of course, this would be the project I’m currently editing.

When I looked at the files, it appears at one point there was a conflict issue on the Mac side that created a duplicate scrivx file. [called something like FILENAME (MACNAME’s conflicted copy 2011-12-18)conflict resolution.scrivx]

I highly suspect that the (), or the entire file, freaked out the windows machine.

First, I duplicated my entire directory. I deleted the conflicted copy in the duplicate, and then tried to open the other. It opened fine.

Second, I again duplicated the original directory. This time, I tried renaming the copy in hopes that would work. It did not, unfortunately.

Hopefully someone here can figure out that method. But if you move or delete that conflict file, you should be able to open. I just don’t recommend deleting the file without duplicating the entire directory first.

Scrivener doesn’t work great with Dropbox the way you’re trying to use it. Scrivener is working with many files at the same time, saving often. Most notably, the project file is not necessarily in sync with the other file changes (except right on save, I believe). Dropbox expects to be syncing one file at a time. Therefore, if you are using Scrivener in a Dropbox controlled folder it can lead to corruption of the project.

I’ve experienced it myself, only when I had my project in a Dropbox folder. In my case, when I went to a different computer many of the scrivenings were empty or the synopsises were mixed up.

The best way to use Scrivener with Dropbox is have the scrivener project in a non-Dropbox controlled folder and have the backups save to the Dropbox folder (or alternatively a Save As… action to save it to the Dropbox folder). It takes an extra step but I’ve experienced no Mac/Windows/Dropbox problems since switching to work this way.

Oh you wonderful people! You’ve solved my issue!
The problem was a conflicted file in the same directory. Once I dragged the conflicted copy out of the directory to my desktop, the project opens with no problem.
Thank you all so much!

It’s very important to follow the instructions in “Scrivener Everywhere” in the manual to the letter. If you don’t allow time for drop box to sync before you shut your system down/put it to sleep after you’ve closed the project in Scrivener, or you don’t allow time for dropbox to sync after you wake your system/start it up before you open the project in Scrivener, then you’re in for this kind of trouble. The same trouble can occur if you are away from a stable internet connection (so that DB doesn’t have time to sync). This is why zipped backups are so important. I set Scrivener up to create a new zipped and date-stamped backup automatically when I close the project, and make it keep the maximum (non-infinite) number of backups possible. I even keep these zipped projects on Drop box because the name of the project directory always contains the date, therefore preventing any conflicts.

Hello! I’ve been using Scrivener on Mac and Windows for a while now, and I use Dropbox to sync projects but only recently started seeing the duplicate scrivx problem mentioned above, with some differences. First I wasn’t able to open a project on the PC side at all. Then, after I worked on the project on the Mac side for a while and with no issues, I was able to open it on the PC side, but Scrivener only opens one of the documents in the binder.

I hadn’t seen the Windows duplicate files before, so I deleted those on the PC side, sync’d, and restarted Scrivener, but it’s still only able to open one of the project’s seven documents. I’m not having any issues on the Mac side, all the docs are when I open the project, but I’m at a loss as to what’s happening on the PC side. After reading this thread I’m sure I caused the initial problem by not giving Dropbox time to sync after I closed the project, and I plan to pause Dropbox before I open Scrivener on the PC side and resume after I close it, etc., but I’m concerned about the other issue. Has anyone else had Scrivener open only some of the documents in a project before? And if so, is there a way for me to repair this project so I can continue to edit it on Windows?

The project is still pretty small so if I can’t find a solution I’ll just export the lot, delete the project and import everything into a new one – and go on with an eye on Dropbox’s status – but if it was a larger group of documents I would be in a little trouble, so I’d like to find a fix for this if possible.

If you create files inside the project that Scrivener doesn’t know about, those files will not be reflected in the Binder. They aren’t missing, exactly, but the pointer to them is. It sounds like that’s what’s happened here.

Since the Mac project is fine, I would suggest the following:

  • Close Scrivener on both computers. Disconnect both computers from the Internet.
  • VERY IMPORTANT: Make a copy of the Mac project in a place that Dropbox can’t see.
  • Delete the project from the Windows computer.
  • Delete the project from the Dropbox folder on the Mac. Reconnect the Mac to the Internet and let this change synchronize to the Dropbox cloud.
    (* If you really want to be sure, reconnect the Windows computer to the Internet, let it sync, and make sure that the project does not reappear.)
  • Copy the known good project from the Mac back into your Dropbox folder. Make sure it syncs to the cloud.
  • Let the Windows computer sync with the cloud. Verify that you now have a good copy of the project under Windows.
  • Go and sin no more.

Hope this helps.


Katherine, thank you! This worked, each of the documents is visible again in Windows!

On a related note re: differences in behavior between Mac and Windows, when I open a project in Windows after I’ve edited it on the Mac, all the text in every document in a project is selected. This isn’t a huge problem, but it is an annoyance that makes it really easy to momentarily lose all the content in a document if I, say, accidentally hit a key before I’ve deselected all the text. I don’t have any text selected when I close the project on the Mac, so I’ve no idea why it’s doing this. Weird, no?

Great! Glad to hear you’re all straightened out now.

Selecting all the text is a bit odd. Certainly sounds like a bug to me. I will see if it’s on the Windows bug list.


Scrivener requires a Mac running OS X 10.4 (Tiger) or above,Version 2.1 is fully compatible with OS X 10.7.Scrivener requires Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7.