"No binder.scrivproj file can be found"

Feeling a bit sick about what seems to be lost hours of work, and hoping someone can help.

I was using Scrivener 3.0 today when the program crashed on my Mac (OS Mojave, version 10.14.6). I had saved the file I was working on on my external drive so wasn’t too worried, but when I reopened Scrivener and re-opened the file I had been working on, I got the attached error message, saying no binder.scrivproj file could be found.

The error message told me to look at Show Package Contents in the project, but when I did I couldn’t find a file called binder.scrivproj. When I click on the files named binder.autosave or binder.backup instead and try to open them with Scrivener, it says “The document binder.autosave could not be opened. Scrivener cannot open files in the Document format”.

Meanwhile, when I copy the file from my external drive to my desktop, it says “The operation can’t be completed because an unexpected error code occurred”. Similarly, when I try to zip the project up, it says “An unrecoverable error occurred while compressing a file.”

I’m literally nauseous about this as it represents about 5 hours of work today and I needed to get this finished and uploaded tonight. Am I right in thinking that something happened to the file — thanks to some lovely bug — and that work is all gone? Any suggestions most very very welcome.
Screen Shot 2019-12-08 at 6.41.26 PM.png

Presumably, the work you did was not isolated to the binder (titles), or other metadata like keywords. So the good news is that anything you wrote or changed should still be in the various sub-folders of your project.

I’m using version 3, and from the “.scrivproj” issue, which is not a file I’m seeing in any of my projects, I’m assuming that you are running version 2 for Mac…

So what you want to do is the following: First, locate your Scrivener backups folder. This can be done by going to the Scrivener->Preferences menu and looking at the backups tab in the window there. Find the most recent backup of your project, copy it to your Desktop or other folder. That is going to have to be your new project file, so put it where it’s convenient to you, but also make sure you can tell it apart from the other, corrupted project.

Now in the bad project, you’re going to have to delve further into the package contents of the project, and use the Finder to identify the most recently modified .rtf (or maybe a slightly different extension) files. Sort in modified order. You can even view their contents using quick look, or (carefully) by double-clicking them to view their contents.

Then open the “new” copy from your backups in Scrivener, and drag the most recently modified files from Finder into the binder of your open Scrivener project. EIther copy the text and paste them over existing document contents, or rename and drag the imported files where they belong in your manuscript.

Hope that helps!

Since Scrivener saves docs automatically as you work, this statement has me wondering.

How did you OPEN the project when you started working on it? From double-clicking on the project in the Finder? Or were you relying on the recents menu or something else. The reason I ask is to determine if we are actually sure the project you are trying to open now is the very one you were working on earlier.


Upon re-reading, I realize that the error is confusing me a bit… it appears to be v3 thinking you’re working with a v2 project and instructing you to find a v2 internal file. Since you weren’t working with v2 to start with, then the error should have been about a missing “.scrivx” file and/or folders. To give you some idea what you should see in your project bundle:

[your project name here].scrivx*

And in the Files folder…

And finally, in the Data folder, something like the following (from one of my own projects):

These folders should each contain one or more files. The file or files will have names like “content.rtf”, “notes.rtf” or “synopsis.txt”.

The content.rtf file is where your writing would be, so if all else fails, you can salvage your writing from there.

  • = file, / = folder