Project file blank on Mac from Windows

Long-time user of Scrivener on Windows using Dropbox as the sync platform - I regularly use that process to sync a Project file between machines.

Just started using a MacBook Air, however, and tried opening my Project file on that machine. I can see the structure of the project just fine (folders, sub-folders, and documents all seem to follow the expected arrangement) however the documents themselves are blank.

I did get a warning when trying to open the Project file that it would be ‘updated to the newest version and a copy of the old Project would be saved’, however this did not seem to help.

Thanks a million in advance for any assistance.


On the new Macbook, have you remembered to make the Dropbox folder holding the Scrivener project(s) as “offline”? Scrivener needs all project files to be on the local drive.

On the PC, are you using Scrivener 1 or Scrivener 3? You can select “About Scrivener” from its Help menu to get its version.

I ask because that message you saw on the Mac makes me think that you’re using Scrivener 1 on your PC and Scrivener 3 on the Mac. Doing that means the Mac had to take your project through the project formatting upgrade process.

That upgrade process will sometimes result in blank documents like you’ve seen here.

We have this Upgrade Guide for Scrivener 1 users. It’s a Scrivener 1 project that we expect users will open with Scrivener 3. It demonstrates how your existing Scrivener projects will have their formatting updated to work with Scrivener 3.

I recommend reviewing it because it will provide some guidance on correcting this issue. Also, §5.1.6 of the Scrivener 3 manual on your Mac will explain where that copy was saved and how to access it.

If you are using Scrivener 1 on the PC, then any projects upgraded to Scrivener 3 on the Mac will no longer open on the PC unless you have Scrivener 3 on the Mac use the File > Export > as Scrivener 2 Project... command.

On the Mac, Scrivener 2 is compatible with Scrivener 1 for Windows.

The other option is to upgrade to Scrivener 3 on the PC, which will ensure that your projects work correctly across both platforms.

This webpage offers the steps for upgrading your Windows license and explains the discounts that are available.

If you run into any additional issues, you can post here on the forum or use the email links at the bottom of our contact us page to open a help request.

If you submit a help request, please include a link to this forum post so my colleagues and I will have a starting point for what you’ve encountered.

Edit: By the way, I’ve changed this to Scrivener for macOS since you’re dealing with a Mac computer and not an Apple iOS device.


I am, indeed, using v. on PC.

CAN I upgrade that license to the v.3 version? I thought perhaps I could not.



The Mac version (which I just purchased a license for) is, indeed v.3.3.6.

So I have to upgrade my WINDOWS version to v.3 as well to make things as seamless as possible? =(


Hi Matthew. Yes, you’ll want to upgrade on the PC to ensure both computers play well together.

The update to Scrivener 3 is free for users who bought Scrivener 1 on or after 20th November 2017. Users who purchased Scrivener 1 for Windows before that can buy Scrivener 3 with a 45% discount.

Our Windows upgrade pricing and process has more information on the process of using your Scrivener 1 license to obtain that discount.

I’d also suggest reviewing our cross-platform compatibility article for tips on working with both operating systems.

Well shoot - I’ve been using Scrivener for longer than that, I’m sure of it. =(

I’ll take a look - thanks!