Project won't open


I can’t open a Project that I’ve been working from for around 6 months or so.

When I try to open other projects, I can. So Scrivener itself is working. Problem is the all the work I need is in this single Project that I can’t now open…

I’m using a Mac, up to date OS (BigSur Version 11.3).

The only thing I can imagine is that this project is pretty big (18.6 MB) compared to all the others I have. There are many sub-folders in it (I often create a new subfolder with a new 5-page script every day that I write). And this happened the first time that the project (auto) closed itself after I created a new sub-folder (with five sub-folders within it).

I back up to Dropbox so thankfully I should hopefully not have lost anything. But I’m not sure precisely how to do that yet. My thoughts were that perhaps I could go into a source file and split it up into smaller pieces in order to see if it could be saved that way (and then try reloading the project again, once it’s a bit smaller)? Not sure if that’s a possibility though.

Thanks anyone for your help!

Aha - discovered the *.rtf files in the /Files/Data/ subfolder - so I can access the actual text that I’ve written in the past! That’s a relief… :smiley:

Are you using the version of Scrivener that is fully compatible with Big Sur? 3.2.2? … s?os=macOS


Yes I am - I’m using version 3.2.2 of Scrivener

18.6 MB is not particularly large. Certainly not so large that you should need to split it into pieces. And subfolders in the Binder don’t make the structure on disk any more complicated.

What exactly happens when you try to open the project? An error? A crash? Nothing at all?

While it’s possible to extract the raw .rtf files from the Files/Data folder, that’s usually the least efficient way to recover a damaged project. Scrivener’s automatic backups can be found by going to Scrivener → Preferences → Backups, and opening the backup folder in Finder. That would be my first choice. Second choice would be to attempt to import the damaged project into a new one. But I can’t really recommend a course of action without more information about the problem.


If I go to ‘recent projects’ and click the name of the project, quite literally all that happens is that Scrivener closes itself down.

I then get the message:

‘Scrivener quit unexpectedly. Click Reopen to open the application again. Click Report to see more detailed information and send a report to Apple.’

Then if I click on the error report it says:-

Not sure if any of that helps!

Try opening the project directly from Finder, rather than the Recent Projects list.

If it still crashes, please reset the project display settings, as explained here: … y-settings


Excellent, thanks Katherine! I did that (deleting those two files) and the Project reopened again. Huge relief! Not sure why that happened but I’ll start a new project now and leave that one alone as is, just in case.


The project should be fine now. No need to start a new one.

The Recent Projects menu is known to be untrustworthy after crashes, system upgrades, and similar events. When in doubt, opening a project directly from Finder is generally safer.

The display settings – what I had you reset – can become corrupted in various ways. System upgrades are one of the more common ones, as the file might contain settings that are deprecated in the new version of Mac OS.