Opening Older Projects

I tend to have lots of scrivener files, maybe everyone does. I have one for each of my books, each client, etc, etc. Some of these projects don’t get opened for quite a while.

When I go back and open one that I haven’t worked on in a while, it says, “The project you are trying to open uses an older file format and cannot be opened. Would you like to update it?” Then it makes a backup and I start working. I always delete the backup once everything is ok.

My question is this:

1.) What happens if I don’t open a file for a long time, say a year or more? Will it still update properly, or will there be a conflict due to missing too many updates?

2.) Is this normal? Is this how you manage you projects/files?

Any insight is appreciated. Thanks,

Scrivener 1.9 slightly updated the file format, so that older projects will need to be updated before they can be opened. This isn’t common–it’s the first time we’ve updated the format for Windows, and the first time it’s been updated on the Mac since version 2 came out. In this case it was mainly done to prepare for mobile syncing, which would have been impossible with the earlier format.

While the format isn’t backward compatible, we do keep the latest versions mindful of earlier formats, so even if you go a while without opening a project, you should be able to update it with whatever the current Scrivener version is at the time you get to it.

Deleting the backup after you’ve ensured the update went smoothly is quite all right; you could also just zip it up and move it to a back up location. It’s just created as a safeguard, so that you have a way to revert to the earlier version or troubleshoot any problems that might occur during the update. If the update is ok, there’s no need to keep the backup.

Awesome, thanks for the help.

Is it just the structure files of the project that change (binder.xml, etc.) or do the project documents themselves change also? I’m just thinking about if I do update to the next iteration and have to update my projects, but then I hate the update and want to revert without losing any data I added during the new install. If I revert back to 1.8.6, could I import those documents back in without problems?

No, but when the new updated versions are created a backup in the old format is also created, so you could use that.

Yeah, I know I could use the older backups. What I’m saying is if I update, I’m going to write things using the new version (otherwise, why update?). If I then decide to revert to a previous version, I wouldn’t want to lose those changes that I made in the new version and have to type all of that in again.

Ideally, the rtf files that are in the Docs folder of the project folder are identical between versions, so if I revert I can drag the changed files into an older version project and keep the changes that I made using the newer version.

If this isn’t possible, though, I have no problem sticking with 1.8.6, especially after reading about how many people have been having problems with 1.9 recently.

Along these same lines, a question:

My tablet has Windows 8. My laptop had Win 10 (it just died). My new computer has Win 7, because I didn’t really want either of the others. After I loaded and updated Scrivener on my new computer, I updated my Scrivener files on my tablet. It said they had to update to the new format. Then when I opened it on my computer again, it said they had to update to the new format - again. This happened several times in a row. Is this because the tablet and desktop are different Windows versions? Is it always going to tell me that they have to update to the new format? I don’t seem to be losing data, so that’s good.

How are you getting your projects from one computer to the other? It sounds like when you move from tablet to another computer, the updated projects aren’t being copied over too. Either that, or you have some kind of synchronizing service (dropbox/cubby/etc) conflicts in your project that are confusing Scrivener; like more than one .scrivx index file inside the .scriv folder, for instance.

The docs are definitely updated as well. As I recall, the XML “.links” file associated with each document is no more; that info is all managed in the RTF doc. And the scriv links in each doc are all regenerated, as they’re now maintained as a hex representation of a sixteen byte string. Whereas pre-1.9, the links were short integers to match the destination filenames. The longer, hex-encoded doc filenames presumably to follow should be unique across projects, and thus more resistant to a mismatched, destructive synch.

Rgds – Jerome

Good info, Jerome, thanks. However, it seems unfortunate, and I will be prolonging my update for longer than previously planned.

No… the .scrivx XML file is still a vital part of the project, though instead of it just being named “project.scrivx”, it’s now called “[name of containing .scriv folder].scrivx”.

While they may be transitioning away from the “1.rtf, 2.rtf, …” file naming scheme in the Files/Docs sub-folder of the internal project structure at some point, there will probably always be a need for the .scrivx XML file. It’s must faster to load that than to scan through potentially thousands of .rtf files for information like applied keywords, status, label, custom icons, and other metadata.

Right, I was not referring to the .scrivx. That one’s forever. There were XML files with a .links extension, associated with individual docs. No longer needed in the new file regime.

Rgds – Jerome

Dropbox. The problem I described didn’t happen this time, though. Instead, it told me that two of my projects don’t exist. I may start backing up to an external hard drive instead of the cloud. Not sure if it would help. Sigh.

Okay, this problem didn’t happen during Christmas when I visited family - then, I lost projects and had to resave them when I got back. Last night I created new projects for those two and transferred everything to them and then let Dropbox update everything from my tablet so I would have it on the desktop today.

AND, I got these two messages:



I don’t know what to do about the second message. I tried going ahead and opening it to create a backup, but it just took me to the generic “create a project” file, not any of my existing projects. This is almost what it was doing on the tablet, only the tablet said the project no longer existed.

I really NEED MY PROJECTS, lol. No, not lol. I really do need them. I’m writing a novella series that I was going to self-publish every two weeks starting in June. I can’t do that if I don’t have the files! I did compile everything to Word files, but still.


OH, I tried it again and it opened it. I just don’t understand why it does this every once in a while. The tablet and computer have the same version of Scrivener.