"Project Already Open" on new Mac

I just migrated to a new Macbook Air and each time I try to open Scrivener a window appears with the heading “Project Already Open.” I’ve tried clicking everything and nothing I’ve tried will allow me to bypass this window and use the program. I don’t even want to access the former project; I’d like to start a new one. What am I missing? I’ve even tried deleting and reinstalling the program, but I suppose the associated files remain and I still can’t use the program.

Thanks in advance.

Hi Brad,

There should be options in that window itself that allow you to bypass it - to make a copy or to open anyway. The message means that either Scrivener is open somewhere else or was copied while it was open somewhere. There’s nothing about this message that would lock you out of the program, though, because it is generated simply by Scrivener finding a small file in the project that is saved there when the project is open to alert other copies of Scrivener that the project is in use, and nothing more. So choosing one of the options in the message window should get you going. If that’s not working, then we will need some more details - exactly what you are clicking on and exactly what is happening.


When I click “Make a copy” nothing happens. The button inside the window does not depress, no sound is made, no action is taken. When I click “Cancel” it makes a buzz sound, but nothing happens. When I click “Continue” it makes a buzz sound sometimes, but nothing happens.

The window remains on screen no matter which of the 3 I press, or how many times I press them, and will not allow me to click/write/anything to the program underneath the window.

Also, rebooting doesn’t resolve the issue, nor does force quitting and reopening the application.

Well, I did the only thing I could think to do, which was use finder to delete my most recent Scrivener documents, and that seems to have resolved the problem, at least for now.

I have this problem currently as well. Only scrivner opens, but no files show. I clicked on continue,but nothing showed. Then I clicked on recent files and tried to reopen that same file, then another file previous before that. Then I went into my documents and clicked on my files there to open them up and it would not open. So then okay, I decided to click new project. Still nothing. I don’t understand why it won’t open anything. Granted this is still a trial version, but it shouldn’t be having this problem. I only have four times left to open the program, and I had this problem last time. Please help me! I’d really like to get back to my files which contains years worth of story.


I am getting this message consistently each time I shut down on iMac and open on my laptop. I know I have shut down, in fact I even went so far as to shut down the iMac completely. Dropbox wasn’t updating, everything was fully closed but still this pops up. Each time I have to make a copy and I now have many copies of each project. It’s so messy I am thinking of giving up Scrivener altogether. It’s far too frustrating since the upgrade.

If you know for sure that the project is not open on another machine, then there is no need to click on “Make a Copy” - you can simply click “Continue” instead. However, if you are seeing this message, then it does mean that Scrivener isn’t shutting down properly on your iMac for some reason. When you open a Scrivener project, Scrivener creates a “lock” file inside the project detailing which machine it is open on. When the project is closed, the lock file is deleted. If this lock file is present, then you see the “Project Already Open” message.

You say that Dropbox wasn’t updating, but are you sure that it had fully updated before you closed your iMac? For instance, say you shut down your iMac and your Scrivener project is still open. In that case, Scrivener will delete the lock file but Dropbox may not get time to sync the changes - the removal of the lock file - before the computer shuts down. In that case, the lock file will be present on your laptop, so you will see this message. It won’t just be the lock file, either. So you should be able to avoid this simply by closing the project (or shutting down Scrivener) on your iMac, waiting for Dropbox to sync the changes there, and only then shutting down your machine. Otherwise, as long as you know that all other changes have been synced to Dropbox before you closed the iMac, you can just ignore the warning and click “Continue”.

All the best,