Partial vanishing text

Hi, Inadvertently clicked on full screen composition mode and now 50% of the chapters in my novel have vanished. I’ve had the app on the bottom toolbar of my Mac and been using it virtually continuously for nearly a week.
What’s happened and can I get the text, cork board etc. back?
I have copied and pasted the main text into pages but don’t really want to reverse the process as well as re-doing all the cork board file cards, notes etc. which have not been copied.

It sounds as if you’re not totally familiar with core functions of Scrivener. Do the built-in interactive tutorial, found under Help.

Are you still in Composition Mode? Then hitting the escape key will help you to get out. Or CMD-Option-F, as the menu item View/Exit Composition menu item indicates. Which can be clicked too.

Composition Mode does not eat text, by the way. If text is actually gone something else must have happened.

I have Scrivener in my dock since day one I learned from its existence, which is about 14 years ago.

Sounds a bit unhealthy to me. Did you backup the project at least every once in while?

Thanks, I thought it backed up automatically. Seemed to have done for the first five chapters but not the next five.

It Saves automatically, but makes a Backup when you close the project. Saving and backups are not the same thing.
Please do the built-in tutorial. It will teach you the necessary basics.

Are you running Time Machine, so you get system backups?

Thank you. It hasn’t saved half the chapters for some reason.

It does.
Are you sure that you didn’t by mistake open an earlier version? Maybe you used Save as… at some point and then opened the wrong version?
Anti-virus is also known to cause strange errors so make sure Scrivener is white-listed

You can use the Project Search function to locate documents that may have been misplaced. Given your description of the situation, that’s more likely than the material being actually gone.

In case you inadvertently opened an older version, you can locate all projects on your computer by searching for .scriv files in Finder.

You can also locate Scrivener’s automatic backups by going to Scrivener → Preferences → Backups and opening the backup folder in Finder.

Thanks all,

I’ve done project search but the chapters are nowhere, umpteen copies of the first five but nothing of the second five. Fortunately I copied and saved in Pages so the text is not lost but the notes are.
The introductory tutorial is all very well but doesn’t actually tell you how to save work. Does this come later?

Also, a very small thing – How do you do an em dash – two hyphens as shown don’t cut it with editors?

You could either type the em-dashes—with the German keyboard layout I’m using it’s Shift-Option-Hyphen—or continue with two hyphens and have them replaced in Compile by em-dashes.

This may not be the cause of your data loss (it would be more likely if you’d had Scrivener for more than a week) but it can cause problems and no one has mentioned it in the thread yet, so…

Do you have iCloud turned on at all? If so, do you have the option “Optimize Mac storage” turned on? If so, turn it off. This is because Scrivener expects the entire project to be present on your local drive. “Optimize Mac storage” will happily move parts of your project to iCloud that you haven’t worked on lately, deleting them from your local drive, causing many of the symptoms you describe.

Thank you, that sounds more than likely.


Thank you, pages is so easy. I know my friends who use word have to go through various contortions to do this, didn’t expect it with Scrivener.