old project missing...please help!

Hi there,

I’ve been using Scrivener for more than 18 mos now and love love love it. (I sing its praises to all the writers I know.) I am brand-new to this discussion board b/c this is the first time I’ve had any trouble w/Scrivener. I finished a novel using Scrivener last summer and, without moving the Scrivener files, I copied and pasted the chapters into a Word doc to send to my agent. Then I began a new novel. Well, a publisher is now interested in that previous novel, but she’d like to see some revisions first, and though I have the draft in a Word doc, I had tons of notes and unused scenes in Scrivener, which I didn’t copy and paste and put into word. Yet I can’t access it via Scrivener, no matter what I try. Only the new novel, which I’ve been working on for 6 mos, comes up in “open recent,” and when I try to “open,” it brings me to my desktop or my document list…it takes me away from Scrivener. Please tell me I’m just not looking in the right place…it would be devastating if I lost all that other stuff, thousands of words I didn’t use in the first draft but thought were safe w/Scrivener. Also, once I’m done with my WIP, I think I’ll be afraid to start a new one for fear it’ll disappear, too. Any advice you can give me would be great appreciated. (I have the 2.0 version and am using Mac OS X.)

Many thanks, fellow Scrivlings! (Scrivsters? Scrivenerers?) ~Lucia

You’re not looking in the right place – and you’re not looking in the right way, either.

If you will take a tip from me, always open your projects from the Finder, not from inside the application. Then you will always know where they are. Never use the “recent” menu – it makes you lazy (not trying to be schoolmasterish, though it may seem that way – just trying to suggest that there are better ways of doing things that lead to less anxiety). Someone else had the same problem recently, and I suggested this:

  1. Switch to Finder
  2. Press Cmd-F (the Command or Apple key and the f key)
  3. This will take you to the Find window – in it type the letters “name:.scriv” (that is, type PRECISELY those letters inside the quote marks – do not type the quote marks themselves, and do not insert the name of your file instead of the letters “name” – NOTE that there is a dot after the colon)

What does this do? It should bring up a list of all the items on your hard drive that have “.scriv” as their file extension. In other words it gives you a list of all your Scrivener projects.

Any trouble, post again.

Cheers, Martin.

PS: the search can be saved, so that it appears in the sidebar of the Finder. That way you will never lose a Scrivener project ever again.

Thanks so much for your speedy reply, Martin! I did not know these steps (and I’m relatively new to the Mac world, too), so I’m grateful to have this info. I did exactly what you said and it brought me to a few different folders with those novel docs, though they all say “recovered” after them. And I can only open them with text edit. Is that normal? And is it true that I will no longer be able to work with all those chapters from within the Scrivener program itself? That’s how it’s looking on my end, but I wasn’t sure if it’s more of my ignorance that’s the issue. (And even if that’s the case and I can’t work with the content in Scrivener, I’m just grateful to have those thousands of words back. Thank you for lowering my blood pressure! Whew!) Does this mean that it’s not best to switch from one project to another within Scrivener? That the program kind of archives something not actively in use and that’s why it’s stored elsewhere?

Again, many thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge with me. It’s much appreciated!


It will take someone with more technical knowledge than I to give you a complete answer, but I wouldn’t be worried about working in Scrivener. It has never given me any trouble.

I find myself wondering which folders the files are in – have they ended in the trash, perchance? And when you say they have “recovered” after them, do you mean that the filenames are something like “xxx.scriv.recovered”? That is not something I’ve ever come across, but it might help someone else diagnose what has happened. Are you working with some sort of backup utility, or cloud storage? For more complete answers, you might want to email support (when your heart-rate has stabilised).

Anyway, I’m glad you’ve found the material.
All the best, Martin.

Hmmm…I think my blood pressure is on the rise again… It worries me that you have never encountered the “recovered” thing since you sound so knowledgeable. Yes, it has that after the ‘scriv’ in the file names. I will take your suggestion and email support—I didn’t even know there was such a thing till you mentioned it, so thanks for that, too.

Again, thank you for taking an interest in my problem–very kind of you!


Lucia – you inflate my abilities! I am a mere stumbler and tripper over small stones and bushes. But I wouldn’t worry too much about your files. It’s quite likely that if you changed the filename by deleting the word “recovered”, the things would open in Scrivener, but I’d advise against doing that until you have found out why “recovered” got added to them in the first place. Tech support will solve all your problems, I’m sure. They know what they are talking about.

Cheers, Martin.

I just wrote a “draft” and saved it to post here but can’t find it now. This missing files business must be catching. :smiley: