Moving from Scrivener 2 to 3

I’ve been using Scrivener 2 for years without serious issues, which may be because I need and use only the most bare bones features. If it were possible I would like to keep using version 2 to finish my novel. However, since my “vintage” 2015 iMac is really aging, and its current OS (10.13 High Sierra) is no longer supported.

And so, regrettably, I’m checking out the newest iMacs (or maybe even a Mac Mini), both of which would probably be loaded with macOS 14. I’ve heard and read that Scrivener 3 is quite a heavy lift compared to version 2, and that prompts the following questions:

  1. which OS releases are compatible with Scrivener 3?
  2. Since I am elderly (80 tomorrow!) – and have never been all that technically-inclined – how can I make this transition as simple as possible?
  3. Since I need only the most basic capabilities of Scriv 3 is there some way to “simplify” the process of adapting to a new version?
    Any and all tips would be much appreciated! Thank you.

macOS 10.13 (“High Sierra” from 2017) up to the latest 14.x.

Since you probably also just used the “most basic capabilities” of Scrivener 2, upgrading could be as simple as opening your old projects (which you did backup somewhere safe before!) in version 3, reading the manual section 3.2 (Upgrading to Scrivener 3) and see where you get stuck.

The most fundamental changes should be related to the Compile process. Maybe you don’t even use that (much). I’d say keep the old Mac running as a fall-back option and just dive in.

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I’d recommend taking a look at our upgrade guide for Scrivener 2 users. You can find it here:


Happy 80th birthday :smile:

To ease your mind on one factor, the migration tutorial linked to above is a v2 project, that contains step-by-step instructions for making it work in v3. That process is pretty streamlined, and will strive to preserve the original intent of your setup. For example if you used the “Compile As-Is” and “Page break before” checkboxes in v2, even those these checkboxes no longer exist, it will set up your book to use what v3 now does instead. If you used the Formatting compile option pane to set up how folders and text items print headings and such, those will be converted for you.

You could probably get by without learning much, at first, and just letting it work the way the software upgrades the project. You would probably want to learn how v3 works eventually, how it achieves that conversion, but you wouldn’t be suddenly faced with a project that doesn’t work at all and requires a lot of learning to make it work again.

That said, you might as well give it a try. So long as your old Mac can run v3 (macOS 10.13 or greater), you can use the demo to see if it is worth the effort right now, or maybe if it would be better to wait until the next book is started.

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