Move files to Mac from an old Windows computer


I have not been writing for a long time and I just downloaded the Scrivener free trial for my Macbook (Sonoma 14.1). My old projects are on an old Windows computer (Windows 10/Scrivener

Is there a way to bring these projects over to my Macbook? I would prefer to do this without using the cloud, if possible.


A number of ways possible, depending on your skills and equipment.

  • On Windows using Explorer write to a USB disk drive or memory stick, then put that thing into the Mac and use Finder to copy the files to the Mac

  • Put both machines on your local network, probably using WiFi. Connect the Mac to the Windows machine or visa-versa, and copy the files from one to the other.

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Ah, so I guess my question was a lot dumber than I realized. So the .scriv files on my old Windows version can just be opened in MacOS?

I just assumed I would have to convert them to a different format.

Should work as long as you copy over all files and folders, completely.

Unless of course I’m missing something.

One thing that comes to mind and I don’t know the answer so others can chip in (and perhaps L&L covers in a FAQ somewhere) … can’t test as I don’t have Windows or Scrivener Windows.

On Windows the Scrivener projects are basic files and folders, lots of them. On Mac they are macOS “packages”. What I don’t know, on reflection, is if these projects magically turn into “packages” or not. Probably no magic and probably something to look into. Certainly a first step is to move the files.

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I just assumed I would have to convert them to a different format.

Well, Scrivener 1.9 used a different file format internally, but Scrivener 3 can open those files and convert them to the current format automatically. It actually creates a new copy, leaving the original file intact.

If you’ve compiled things in 1.9 before, you may want to read up on the differences in the compile format, though. A lot changed there. So don’t do this yet if you’re under some kind of deadline.


@dirkhaun Good point about version. I missed that. There is a FAQ out there, I think, but I don’t know where, about migrating version in Windows.

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Yes, they are recognised as packages when you move a Scriv project from Windows to Mac. A package is basically just a folder of files which the Mac ‘knows’ to treat as a single, well, ‘package’. If you right click on a Scrivener project on the map, you can ‘Show Package Contents’ and see exactly the same structure you’ll see by default on Windows (though I think a couple of settings files may be platform specific, they’re created as needed so you never need to bother with this detail).

As far as I understand it (i.e. not very far), the Mac allows developers to associate certain file extensions with packages. Windows creates a project folder (MyProject.scriv) and that .scriv extension tells MacOS how to deal with the folder, so that we see ‘MyProject’ as a scrivener project.

Extensions are normally hidden in Finder on the Mac, but they are there if you look in Get Info (or turn them on universally).

I’m sure it’s a lot more complicated than that, but I think the basics are right. If they’re not, I apologise, but I’m sure someone will be along to correct me soon :wink:.

Of course, this is a totally separate issue of whether the project format will be compatible–it will have to be updated, but that will happen automatically, as has already been pointed out.



As others have noted, the PC will show you a .scriv folder, and that entire folder needs to be moved to your Mac. The macOS will show you that folder as a single .scriv file.

This Knowledge Base article on working across platforms has some screenshots you might find helpful.

Also, We have this Upgrade Guide for Scrivener 2 users.

It’s a Scrivener 2 project that we expect users will open with Scrivener 3.

Scrivener 2 on the Mac was compatible with Scrivener 1 on the PC, so reviewing that guide should give you some tips about what will happen with your existing projects in Scrivener 3 on your new Mac.

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Helpful tip: Don’t dispose of the old system until you’ve confirmed that your projects are up and running on the new one. That way if anything goes wrong in the transfer you can just try again.

(Probably nothing will go wrong. But Murphy says that if you dispose of the old system, you’re asking for trouble.)


This is a great help. Thank you everyone.

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