Project won't transfer via Dropbox

After I work on a project on my Macbook Air, close Scrivener, Save Project to Dropbox on the Air (automatically makes a .zip backup in a different folder), turn off the Air, that Project does not appear when I open Dropbox in my iMac desktop. For ex. I have Troubadour Quest.scriv dated 3/18/14 on my Air. When I open Dropbox on my iMac desktop the latest version of Troubadour Quest is 2/15/14, and the new backup file doesn’t appear in the iMac Dropbox folder.

This means I can only work on this project on the Air, and sometimes I want the bigger screen on the iMac.

What gives?

Do the files show up in Dropbox when you visit the website and browse the folder structure to where they should be? If not, then they were never uploaded. Make sure the Dropbox status icon is passive before shutting down the computer. In the other direction, make sure the status is passive on the iMac before you start looking for and opening projects. When you hover over the Dropbox icon with your mouse while it is “spinning” it should tell you how long you have to wait. It’s usually pretty accurate. What I prefer to do is leave both computers on during this whole upload/download phase. The reason being, if Dropbox detects another client computer on the local network, it will transfer directly between computers instead of going all over the world with it. It still needs to upload fully, though, before it will switch to high-speed transfer mode.

Last evening (3/19/14) I worked on the Scrivener file on my Air. I closed it down, saved, and the file appeared in my Air Dropbox. I turned off the Air for overnight. The iMac was already turned off overnight. Note: I have only 1 Dropbox. This morning when I turned on the iMac, it was NOT in the Dropbox folder. I’ve looked at my Dropbox settings in Dropbox and Systems Preferences, both computers use the latest Mavericks OS. I just turned on the Air and checked again. The file is on the Air Dropbox menu, not on the iMac Dropbox.

Is this a Scrivener problem, a Dropbox problem, or an Apple computer problem?

Have you managed to check the Dropbox website for your files, yet?

The “Dropbox” folder on your computer is just an ordinary folder with some files in it, like any folder, such as Pictures or Documents. It just so happens you have a program called Dropbox that aggressively monitors that folder and uploads and downloads stuff within it to keep it up to date between all of your computers—at least that is how it should work. If it isn’t working, then you need to take that up with Dropbox support. It could be there is a problem with the software on one of the machines, and it is no longer keeping itself up to date with the server (what those files are doesn’t really matter, be they from Scrivener, Word or Photoshop). Checking the website, as I mentioned, will let you know where that problem is. If it is not on the website, the Air is having troubles uploading. If it is on the website, the iMac is having troubles downloading. That’s about the extent of my wisdom on the topic though. :slight_smile:

The only thing I can really definitively tell you is that I know it isn’t a Scrivener problem. We only write files to your hard drive. What happens after that point is up to whatever other tools you use and the operating system.

Upon re-reading your response, I double-checked the Dropbox files within their website on my iMac. The ones I saved from the Air aren’t there. So I’ll have to look into how the Air is saving files to Dropbox.


I hate to belabor the obvious, but you didn’t mention a crucial step: Wait for dropbox to finish uploading.

I’m reading into your description that you use Save As or maybe Backup To… when you say that you “saved, and the file appeared in my Air Dropbox”? If so, then the new copy will take a while to upload to the Dropbox servers from the Dropbox folder on your computer. The icon in your menu bar will be doing its little dropbox dance for a minute or more, depending on the size of your project. If you don’t give it enough time to upload before you proceed to closing your Air down, then your other computer won’t be able to see it on (since it won’t be there). Therefore, your other computer won’t be able to receive its copy from the dropbox servers until you open your air again and let the dropbox program finish uploading your files.

I just did check how files are saved from the Air. My Scrivener file showed up in the Dropbox on the Air but not on the Dropbox on the iMac. Apparently this is happening with all the files I’ve saved on the Air! Must contact my Mac-Women’s support list.

I’m not a Dropbox expert, but the first thing I would do is check the sharing settings on the Dropbox website to make sure both computers are sharing the relevant files.

I’d also use a simple document like a TextEdit file as my test particle, just because it will upload and download more quickly than a Scrivener project.


OK. I checked with my Mac-Women’s group. One had had similar problems and said to turn Dropbox off and on and look into the Dropbox folder itself to see where my files are going. I turned it off in both the Air and the iMac, logging out and in once more. Then I checked inside the folders and my problem was obvious: The backup .Zip files were transferring just fine, but the Project files were going into a sub-folder which was not.

Sooo… I worked on the Air last night, and this morning on the iMac I opened the .Zip backup file. Voila! There was my last-night’s work!


I’d recommend storing either the backups or the live project in Dropbox, but not both. For two reasons.

First, having the backups and the live project in the same folder can cause confusing behavior: if you’re working from the backup folder, Scrivener won’t overwrite old backups as it normally does, and so you can end up with a confusing mess of projects, backups, and backups of backups.

Second, if the backups and the project are both in Dropbox, then both are potentially vulnerable to Dropbox-related data loss and synchronization. Having the backups stored locally means that no matter what happens to the Dropbox folder, some version of your project will be safe.

If you haven’t already, this would be a good time to read our tips for using Dropbox, here: