Old projects in Dropbox and new projects not being found by Spotlight

All of my projects in Dropbox have Spotlight Metadata → Content Type set to: com.apple.alias-file, but they are not Aliases.

Screenshot of Finder (3-5-19, 5-10-34 PM).png

I just created a new Blank project from the Project Templates and saved it to my Documents folder.

It has the same.com.apple.alias-file setting.

Older project settings ↓

Screenshot of OrangeCard (3-5-19, 4-50-08 PM).png

I’m using a fresh copy of Scrivener (3.1.2 10882) that i downloaded last night.

How can I fix this?



Last night I opened a project I hadn’t used for a while.

I opened it from the Finder and within a 6 minutes the project’s Content Type changed from com.literatureandlatte.scrivener3.scriv to com.apple.alias-file

I checked the project setting ↑ using OrangeCard (App Store)

This change prevents the project from being indexed by Spotlight and the project can no longer be found using the Scrivener > File > Find All Projects in Spotlight command.

The Finder’s list view and Get Info still thinks the project is a Scrivener Project.

Please help me fix this



What version of Mac OS do you have?

Spotlight correctly indexes and locates all Scrivener projects on my system, both old and new, stored in Dropbox and not.


Please read the entirety of my 2 posts.

I have macOS 10,14.3

The Dropbox location was my initial clue that something was wrong—none of my projects stored in Dropbox are being indexed.

The real problem seems to be that the project Spotlight Metadata is being changed from so that project appears to be an Alias—which Spotlight doesn’t index.

This change seems to take place immediately after the project is opened.


I did read all of both posts. That is not the behavior that I am seeing. On my system, which also uses 10.14.3, all projects, including those stored in Dropbox, are correctly indexed by Spotlight.

What else is running on your system? Scrivener doesn’t have the ability to change the Spotlight Metadata. Moreover, Scrivener can’t tell whether a project is stored in your Dropbox folder or not: it’s just another hard drive location as far as Scrivener is concerned.

Do you see strange behavior with other files stored in Dropbox?

Do you have the iCloud Documents and Desktop feature enabled? Mac OS itself is the only thing I can think of that might be making the change.


I no longer think the problem has anything to do with Dropbox.

I do not have iCloud Documents and Desktop feature enabled.

I do use Default Folder X and it creates an Alias in ~/Library/Recent Files/. I’ve turned this feature off… I’ve quit Default Folder X.

I just created a new blank project using the Blank template and saved it to my Documents folder. It was Saved as an Alias rather than a Project.

Using HoudahSpot to locate Aliases created within the last 600 days: Found 265 Aliases. 233 are legitimate Aliases. 21 have a .scriv extension of which 19 are really projects with a Content Type of com.apple.alias-file rather than com.literatureandlatte.scrivener3.scr.




I have the same problem and am equally baffled :frowning:

Katherine said that

but when you list the spotlight plugins, I see "/Applications/Scrivener.app/Contents/Library/Spotlight/ScrivenerMetaDataImporter.mdimporter" which seems to suggest that Scrivener has a custom metadata importer, which might be outputting incorrect metadata when the file is indexed.

Could someone from Scrivener please comment?



I’m not sure I can think of a mechanism by which the same piece of Scrivener code could supply accurate metadata on almost all systems, but inaccurate metadata on yours.


I would rebuild the LaunchServices database, which may have become corrupted. If that doesn’t work, rebuilding the Spotlight index would be my next move (worthwhile to set that to run over night). Maintenance is a good tool for both of these tasks.