Major help needed: two chapters disappeared

Worked most of today editing one chapter and adding another. I wanted to check my word count for a portion of the work so highlighted that part and tried to check word count. Then the text I wanted to count was gone. Not in trash. It was stored in a “Scene” folder in the binder but not clicking that has all the text I tried to do a word count on gone. Sick here - two chapters just the way I wanted them. Help!

May not be lost possible misplaced. Try searching for char name that was in section you typed or a location you search for and see where shows up

Will do and THANKS - not sure how it happened - tried for a word count and gone.

GoalidDad, Tried searching but no luck. I will keep trying. Character names popped up but in a different scene (not the lost ones). Then tried two words I knew only appeared together in the lost sections but no luck there either. I checked the back ups but nothing there. Appreciate the help.

When the text disappeared, did you immediately try invoking Undo? It seems likely from your description that you inadvertently deleted or replaced your text with a stray keystroke.

Was it in a ‘Scene’ FOLDER or a scene document? Folders in Scrivener also have a body text area into which text can be entered. But depending on your view settings, Scriv may not default to showing yu that text area. Could you have typed the new material inti the body of a folder? You would not be the first person to do so and then have the unhappy experience of it seeming that your text was nowhere to be found.

EDIT: Well, but I guess project search would have turned that up.

If you selected a large chunk of text and then typed something – anything – then the typing would have overwritten the selection. The best response in that case is an immediate Undo command.

If that’s what happened and it’s too late to Undo, then your best chance is going to be to revert to a backup that was taken before the deletion occurred.

For future reference, the word count for selected text appears at the bottom of the Editor pane. You don’t need to do anything special to “get” a word count.

Kewms, thanks for responding. Yeah, I lost it. I would have hit ‘undo’ if I had realized right away what I did. I have spent the last few hours rewriting it - I wanted to do that while some of it could be remembered. I did have a rough outline of the scene so I built around that. I don’t think it is as well written as the lost version, but who knows. Thanks again. I have not been using Scrivener that long so like it that this forum is available.

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For what small comfort it is worth, in general neither the original lost draft nor the replacement draft verbiage is as good as the eventual post-revision text. Chin up!

Interesting thing happened today. I added a folder and dragged a document into it but the > caret disappeared and when tried to view content of the folder was not visible like started this thread. Interestingly, I duplicated the folder and all of the sudden the > appeared in the original folder and the content became visible when used the >.
If happens again try this trick and see if helps.

So, Windows or Mac? What version of either? This sounds like an OS related problem, not Scrivener. There are no version numbers of anything in this thread, which makes things really hard to track down.

Jestar, Relatively new (10 months) PC - Windows 10. I think what I did was to simply delete it my own actions. It was all highlighted, then tried to do a word-count (the wrong way) and as soon as I clicked to do that it was gone. If there is good news, I found an earlier version of one chapter which I had sent via email to a meetup peer review a while back, and I found an outline of the other chapter which I built on to rewrite it while it was somewhat fresh, I am nervous now though, and once I have finished working on a chapter or section, I copy it into a Word file. And have cloud backups for that. Thanks for responding.

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devinganger, Thanks for the encouragement - and you know what, after rewriting all day yesterday - I think you are spot on.

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Remember there is an undo function in scrivener and might have been able to recover file that eay

@Ron ,

First, congratulations on your rewrite / recreation of your lost words. :grinning:

Based on what seems to have happened, I agree that the only thing that would have helped you in this situation, with your current working methods, was performing an immediate undo when your text disappeared.

But I wanted to make you aware of another technique that would have saved your words, if you’d been set up for it and adopted it beforehand.

(I’m assuming here that you don’t have a massive GB sized project, as this technique is less useful in that scenario.)

The idea is that, similar to how one does periodic manually saving in MS Office software by pressing Ctrl-S, you would take a zipped backup of your entire project every time you pressed Ctrl-S. With this method, you would get in the habit of pressing Ctrl-S a number of times during a writing session, and–this is the important bit–make a special effort to do Ctrl-S after writing a significant amount of words.

If this had been your working method prior to this lost words event, after your initial moment of panic, you would have simply unzipped the most recent project backup to a temporary folder, and copied your lost words from the backup project to your live project. It would have been a non-event.

This is exactly what I do during writing sessions. I press Ctrl-S at least hourly to make a zipped project backup, and more frequently if I’ve just written something that I do not want to lose. I have only rarely needed to rely on one of these backups, but they are there if I need them. Eventually I clean them out of the backup folder.

Here is what you need to do to make this work. Configure the following backup options, under File > Options > Backup:

  • Enable Back up with each project save
  • Set Retain backup files to 25. Scrivener will only keep the last 25 zipped backups for any given project. (I have mine set to Keep all backup files and I clean them up myself periodically.)
  • Press Ctrl-S regularly, and particularly after you’ve written words of a quantity or quality you want to insure you’ve captured.

Like I said, if you have a very large project, then this technique is less useful because the backup time become prohibitive. But wanted to raise it for you to consider adding to your working methods. It might save your words someday.


Thanks Jim, for taking the time to help with this issue - prospectively - assuming I am a slow learner and mess up again. I will definitely learn and practice what you have advised. I thought I would never be able to recreate what I considered to be brilliant and perfect - don’t we always think that - but actually I am very happy with the re-creation - phrased some things perfectly and brilliantly again. I think.

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To Jim’s suggestion, I prefer to enable the automatic creation of snapshots of modified documents when using CTRL-S (CMD-S on Mac). Assuming that’s an option in the Windows version, it provides you with the feature of comparing a snapshot against what’s in (or not in) a document at the moment, and the ability to restore the contents of that snapshot back into the document, replacing what is/isn’t there anymore.

Yep. It is.
And that is how I have things configured as well.
Makes a few more snapshots than handling it manually maybe, but nothing that can’t be cleaned up now and then.
Better too much than not enough in this case IMHO.