'Project Already Open'

I am running Scrivener on both my iMac and Macbook, both running Catalina. However, whenever I try and open my project on the Macbook I get the long dialog box ‘Project Already Open’, saying it is open on my iMac and giving me the option either to make a copy or to proceed if I’m sure it is closed. Every time it is closed on the iMac - Scrivenevr is not even open on the iMac. However, the last time I proceeded it deleted all my most recent edits on the iMac and returned it to a previous version on both the Macbook and then the iMac when I returned to the project there. Any idea what the issue could be? Is there a specific way to close projects I am not doing?

I assume you are storing the projects in Dropbox?
Did you close the project before closing Scrivener, using File -> Close? And did you close Scrivener, using Scrivener -> Quit, not just x the window? And did you give the Dropbox app time to upload those final changes before turning off the iMac?

Thanks for the reply. I quit Scrivener using Quit, didn’t do File - Close. The projects are saved to my iCloud and had updated.

Ok I’m now getting error messages on open that the Project is in the same folder as its backups, which is presumably part of the problem. Sorry to be asking basic questions - but if I want to save and sync across iCloud and without a plethora of backup files out of a folder, what is the recommended place to save first a project and then separately have setup as the backups folder?

iCloud is tricky because you can’t be sure that all the individual files in a project has updated. The .scriv ”file" is a package, i.e a folder not showing its content. So a likely cause is that the internal file that keeps track of a project being open or not hasn’t been updated on the iCloud server.

You can save the backups wherever you like, except where you save your live projects. I have all projects on Dropbox and backups (saved as .zip files) on Mega. And all backups have the date-and-time option ticked as well in Preferences, and Scrivener saves the 10 last backups.

This way I have my projects on all Macs and on the Dropbox server, backups on all Macs and the Mega server, and all Macs run Time Machine to different external disks.

Which folders?
Dropbox/Scrivener Projects - sith subfolders …/Archived for old projects and …/Active Projects for the ones I sync with my iPad.

Mega/Scrivener Backups for my backups.

Ok so from what you say, could I/should I set the preferences to do backups in my user folder of my hard drive, but save projects to iCloud if I want to be able to access them across my devices? I’m also running Time Machine with Time Capsule so the backups would be there too.

If you decide to stick with iCloud, make sure you have not ticked the Desktop & Documents folder and not the Optimize Mac Storage (see image), because if you do the iCloud server tries do decide what files you need on your HD and not, and Scrivener needs all the files within the .scriv package to be downloaded to the HD.

I use Dropbox because in my experience iCloud isn’t reliable when it comes to syncing folders/packges in real-time between several Macs.

Make a specific backups folder for your backups, not within or in connection to where you save your Scrivener projects.

I had the same experience with iCloud - it just doesn’t work reliably with the Scrivener file structure. DropBox works really well. I just have to close the project in Scrivener, then wait until it’s updated before shutting down the computer.


iCloud can be very slow to synchronise at times. I have experienced it taking two days to synchronise certain items, and at other times it just gets stuck. Howard Oakely has written a utility to test it:


Fixed it for you. I’m in an ongoing fight with iCloud over synchronization of my grocery list. (In Apple’s Reminders app.)