New Scrivener install on iPad, won’t sync with laptop

I’m trying to follow the instructions in the Knowledge base for syncing, I’ve followed steps one and two - I DO have Dropbox installed on both my laptop and my ipad, and I can plainly SEE the files in my Dropbox - I just cant get them downloaded to my iPad. I’m on step 3:

  1. In Scrivener for iOS, make sure you are viewing the projects screen (the screen that lists all of the projects and the tutorial), and do not have a project open.
  2. Tap the “sync” icon (the two curved arrows forming a circle).
  3. Tap “Link Dropbox” in the menu that appears.

No Menu appears! How can I tap the Link Dropbox, when there is no menu? Please help, I"m leaving tomorrow on a trip and do NOT want to drag my laptop AND my iPad on this trip!

Thanks in advance for any and all help with this issue.

To link, in the projects screen tap Edit and then the gear wheel icon at the bottom. Then you get the menu

Thank you. That comes up with a “Dropbox Settings” menu and the choices are
Apps/Scrivener (which I have checked)

When I tap on the “Other” I get APPS and the "Get Started with Dropbox and below that my Scrivener file - BUT…my Scrivener file is grayed out! I can’t get it to load! Please help!

Also - how do I delete a project? I “created” two projects thinking I need a place to “import” my current Scrivener work, but now I can not figure out how to delete them!

Apps/Scrivener checked is what you want. It sounds to me like you are done, but I unlinked my iPhone Scrivener from DropBox to recreate the steps just to be sure.

Here is what I had to do, to link DropBox and get syncing going:
1- Tap on the Sync icon and tap Link Dropbox

2- “Allow?” Allow it.

3- “Dropbox wants Scrivener to open” - open it.

4- Choose a Dropbox folder - take the default, which is Apps/Scrivener.

5- Scrivener will then Sync your projects with DropBox.

That’s it. If you’ve completed all of those steps, you’re done.

If you’re not seeing your DropBox Projects in Scrivener, here are some things to try:

  • Double-check where your Scrivener projects are stored on your PC. The folder path on your PC should be C:\Users\YOUR-USER-NAME-HERE\Dropbox\Apps\Scrivener. It would be helpful to those trying to assist if you uploaded a screenshot of the Dropbox folder on your PC where your Scrivener projects are stored. Be sure to include the folder path.

  • Sign into DropBox account via your browser and confirm that the Scrivener files are there in the folder path Apps\Scrivener. If they are not, make sure that the DropBox app is running on your PC.


ETA: After above checks, go into the iOS DropBox app and confirm you can see your Scrivener files in that path. If they are not, make sure you are using the same DrpBox account on PC and iPad.

Thank you Jim, I appreciate the help.

The problem I’m having is that it never comes up with th dropbox wants to open Scrivener message. I have “allowed” the sync several times, but I’m doing it from Scrivener, and it goes to the Dropbox but never asks if I will allow Dropbox to open Scrivener. Sigh. Just so you know, I’m using an iPad, not a phone, does that make a difference?

iPad or iPhone, it’s all the same. I use both.

Please go into the iOS DropBox app on your iPad and confirm you can see your Scrivener files in the Apps\Scrivener path.

Are you on iOS 10 or 11?

If you have iOS Scrivener set up so it looks in the correct dropbox folder you don’t have to do anything. Scrivener will automatically see your projects. Dropbox should not open Scrivener, it can’t so it sounds as if you are doing something else than what JimRac described.

What folder do you save your projects in on your laptop?

All you do here is to tell Scrivener which folder you have your projects in, nothing more. So in what dropbox folder have you saved your Scrivener project on your laptop?

They’re in my documents/Scrivener, but now, I’m traveling, so I don’t have access to my laptop. I did upload the files to my Dropbox, and I can see that the files are there, but Scrivener isn’t syncing to them! Maybe they didn’t upload correctly, because the files all look like they are in xml format, when I look at them in Dropbox. I tried to upload the entire project as a .scriv file, but maybe the upload didn’t work like it should? I’m new to Dropbox, and so far, I’m NOT liking it! This “should” be simple, right? Sigh, now I guess it will have to wait until I get back next week, unless someone has an idea why Scrivener isn’t seeing the files in the Dropbox…thanks for all the help, I do appreciate it.

Do you have the Dropbox app installed on your laptop? If you don’t have the Dropbox app installed on your laptop it won’t work. You can’t work via the web interface.

Neither side of this equation involves you actively “uploading” files.

On the laptop side: The Dropbox app runs in the background on your laptop and automatically SYNCs the contents of a designated Dropbox folder on you PC with a corresponding folder on Dropbox’s servers.

On the iPad side: The Scrivener app syncs its onboard Scriv projects with whatever is in the Scriv-designated folder on Dropbox’s server.

As others have mentioned, the web interface for Dropbox has NO role in this process.



Enjoy your travels. For when you return, here is a very basic summary of how things should be set up – sort of a consolidation of what everyone else has said above.

DropBox - You need a DropBox Account.

On the PC - Your PC needs Scrivener installed, and the DropBox Windows app installed and running. On your PC, move your Scrivener project folders from whatever folder they currently reside, into the Dropbox\Apps\Scrivener folder on your PC. (You may need to create the Scrivener folder, but the DropBox app should create the others by default.) Once you move the projects into that Dropbox\Apps\Scrivener folder on your PC, they should upload to the DropBox cloud automatically. (You can verify this by signing into your DropBox account using your browser, but never use your browser for uploading or downloading or opening Scrivener project files.) Then going forward, you will open your Scrivener projects on your PC from the Dropbox\Apps\Scrivener folder. DropBox will automatically upload and download files to your PC as necessary.

On your iPad - Your iPad needs iOS Scrivener installed, and the DropBox iOS app installed and running. Your iOS DropBox app should be signed into the same DropBox account as on your PC. DropBox will download your Scrivener project files to your iPad. Link iOS Scrivener to the Dropbox\Apps\Scrivener folder as per the steps in my post above and the user guide, then iOS Scrivener will have access to and be able to sync them via DropBox. ETA: On iOS Scrivener, you can only open & edit Scrivener projects from Scrivener itself. You can’t open them from the DropBox app.

We can’t tell you exactly where you went wrong, but somewhere you took a wrong turn in your set up. When you return, please confirm that what you’ve done matches all of the points in this summary. It is highly likely that you missed something.


Fixed it for you. – Katherine

Hi JIMRAC, thanks SO much for the information. I am home now from my travels and ready to try this again.

First, yes, I do have Dropbox installed on both my laptop (running Windows 10) and on my iPad Air 2. I have Scrivener installed on both as well. I tried following the instructions in the forum for syncing, but when I try to “Save” my laptop version of my project to the Drop box, it gives me an error that I can not save a .scriv file inside a .scriv file. So here’s a look at how my files are set up on my laptop:
ThisPC >> Documents >> My Writing Scrivener
>> Files (folder)
>> Settings (folder)
>>Snapshots (folder)
>>Tutorial.scriv (folder)
>>My Writing Scrivener.scriv
The file ‘My Writing Scrivener.scriv’ is the correct (and complete) scrivener project I am trying to sync to.

On my PC in my Dropbox folder this is how it is set up:
ThisPC >>Windows (C:)>> Users >> Coleen >> Dropbox
>>.dropbox.cache (folder)
>>Apps (folder)
>>>> Scrivener (folder)
>>>> Docs (folder - this is empty!)
>>>> ProjectNotes (folder - this is empty!)
>>>> binder.autosave
>>>> binder.backup
>>>> version.txt
>> .dropbox
>> desktop.ini
>> Get Started with Dropbox.pdf

So… why are my scrivener folders in my dropbox empty? I just copied the complete project ‘My Writing Scrivener.scriv’ over to the dropbox on my pc. It copied over, but NONE of my actual files were loaded. What I mean is, I can open the .scriv file that I copied over from my scrivener files on my PC to the Dropbox, and all the files show up in the project - BUT, they are ALL blank! Every single one! I have 41 chapters in my project on my PC, and all the “Chapters” show up in the project in my Dropbox but EVERY SINGLE ONE IS BLANK!

What am I doing wrong? Why are all the files blank? How do I save my working project (with all the data intact) into my Dropbox files? I can SEE the dropbox from my iPad with no issues…but if there are no files when it’s on my PC, there are obviously not going to be any files when I try to get it to sync on my iPad.

Thanks for any help you can give me (and all the help you’ve already given).

This structure is borked. “Files,” “Settings,” and “Snapshots” are all folders inside of a Scrivener project. They should be children, not siblings, of either Tutorial,scriv (folder) or My Writing Scrivener (also a folder).

As a first step, create a brand new folder in your Documents directory, call it New Projects or whatever. Put NOTHING in it. Then, from within Scrivener, use the File → Save As command to save your project there. Give it a completely new name to avoid confusion. Close Scrivener, open the project from the new location, and make sure it works correctly.

This is also a problem. This is only part of a project, and nothing that Scrivener would be able to do anything useful with. I’d suggest dragging the entire contents of the Dropbox/Apps/Scrivener folder to another location, such as your Desktop, that’s completely outside of Dropbox.

Once you’ve done that, open the new copy of your project that I had you create up above. Use the File → Save As command to save it into the Dropbox/Apps/Scrivener folder. Again, give it a new name so you can keep all these extra copies straight. (You’ll be able to delete them when you’re done.)

Close Scrivener again, and again open the project, this time from the Dropbox/Apps/Scrivener folder. Does it work correctly?

If so, stand back and let Dropbox synchronize, first to the Dropbox server, then to the iPad. Success?


Thanks KEWMS. Okay, I took your advice and created a brand new folder - called it “Scrivener Projects” then from my current WIP, I did a “Save as” and saved it into that directory. This is how it saved it:

My Documents >> Scrivener Projects >> Mageborn_Complete (Mageborn_Complete was saved by Scrivener as a folder) Under that folder are the following folders AND the Mageborn_Complete.scrivx:


That was a completely brand new save of the current WIP - so Scrivener DOES save the folders at the same level as it does the .scrivx file. After I saved the new version of my WIP I re-opened t to make sure it works okay - and it does.

I did also create a brand new version of my WIP in my Dropbox under the Apps Directory: Dropbox>>Apps>>Scrivener>>Mageborn_Complete>>Mageborn_Complete.scriv
and once it finished saving all the files to the Dropbox, I opened my Scrivener project from the dropbox, and it worked perfectly. I waited…until I could see that Dropbox had completely finished uploading all the files, then I went to my iPad and checked to make sure the new version of my WIP was saved in Dropbox. I opened Scrivener on my ipad, let it sync (and didn’t get impatient while it did its thing) then - I opened the new project…and it worked!

I can not thank you enough! Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!

What are you planning to put in the Mageborn_Complete folder other than the Mageborn_Complete.scriv project? I would suggest renaming it to something like Mageborn_Complete_Materials to avoid confusing it with the project itself. (Moreover, iOS Scrivener can only open the project, not any associated files, so maybe you want to put them outside the Scrivener folder to avoid confusion.)

Now that the PC → Dropbox → iOS chain is working correctly, it’s safe to delete any extra copies of the project that you might have strewn around your hard drive. And probably a good idea to avoid confusion.

Glad to hear you’re back on track.


Jim -
Thanks! I was having issues with my iPad not properly syncing with the project files I could see sitting in my Dropbox. What I didn’t understand was just how vital it is to keep the actual project files in the \Apps\Scrivener folder on my MacBook Pro, and just let Dropbox act as a transfer agent to and from my iPad. Great explanation.
Dr Doug Clark
Fort Collins, CO

Dr Doug,

Glad it helped!