Making Scriv 3.2.3 work w Dropbox and MacOS 12.3: What's the best guide?

I am a long-time fan and user of Scrivener (eg this), and my also long-time working style has been to alternate between two Mac laptops, using Dropbox.

When I have recently tried this with Scrivener, I’ve run into the error message, about “no binder.scrivproj file can be found.” I assume this is an asked-and-answered question on the forums, but on initial pass I don’t see the “Step 1, Step 2, Step 3” procedure for being able to use the current versions of Scrivener, Dropbox, and Mac OS.

I would be grateful to anyone who could say, “The canonical post is this one…” Thank you.

Jim Fallows

There are no binder.scrivproj files in my projects. I have no trouble opening them, so it seems to me that 3.2.3 doesn’t need one – unless the project is in an older format (Scrivener 1 or 2), in which case 3.2.3 wants to update it, but it can’t because that piece of it is missing.

Or it’s only looking for it because the project is not in the older format, but it’s missing the newer version of the index file:

missing binder.scrivproj

Here’s the canonical article, which I found by Googling “Scrivener dropbox sync”.

syncing to the cloud

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Thank you! I will put all this to work and see where it leads. (And report back.)

That’s the same post I linked you to.

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Sorry! I came to it by a different route and thought it was “new.” Have deleted. Appreciate your patience.

@drmajorbob’s analysis is correct. A Mac Scrivener 2 or 3 project’s master index file is [project].scrivx. If Scrivener can’t find that file, it assumes that the project is an older version, and looks for binder.scrivproj, the index for a (Mac) Scrivener 1 project. If it can’t find that either, it returns the error that you saw.

But in the context of Dropbox, the fundamental problem is almost certainly incomplete synchronization: the entire project is not present on the local machine.

In addition to the link above, the top three things to check are:

  • Is the Dropbox software installed and running on both systems?

  • Are all forms of “smart” synchronization disabled with respect to Scrivener projects?

  • Do ordinary text files (not projects) synch successfully?

(Please double check, even if you think you know the answer. Both Dropbox and Mac OS have been known to silently change settings with updates.)

Also, welcome to the forum!

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Thanks for this clear explanation, and for the preceding guidance from @drmajorbob. I assume it must be a sync-latency issue with Dropbox. I do have all these settings confirmed; it is the case that “normal” files sync promptly and correctly between the computers.

But for whatever reason, my Scriv files (the project “packages”) don’t seem to have caught up with all the others. I’ve forced a refresh on Dropbox, for local-storage-only, on all the Scrivener folders. Will try again when it gives me the green “synced” notice for all those folders and files.

Meanwhile staying on the computer that has the originals! Thanks

To close the loop here, I have forced-synced the project I am working on, and the project can now be opened on the other computer. It was a matter of sync latency. Thanks all.