Random Scriven-weirdness

that is starting to freak me out. Changes I’ve made are not saved, even though I have the auto save function on, or if they are saved, the changes only appear after I search for a key word or phrase. Like the changes do not appear spontaneously after I manually ‘save’ and they have disappeared entirely when I moved a document within the draft folder to another place. I’m not saving to any place other than my hard drive, not keeping two documents (beyond the backup) or otherwise typing and ctrl-s-ing.

In addition, in the middle of writing, without changing a thing, text has a yellow background like, an interior decorator gone rogue.

I’m using version 3.1.5 on Mac and as far as I can tell, it is the latest.

Do others experience these things?

Moved to Mac Support forum.

Are you using any cloud services?



This behavior is most definitely not normal.

Could you give me a little more detail on how you’re discovering that changes are not saved? Do you close Scrivener and re-open it? Do you re-open a project from Finder? Something else?

I’m asking because the most common cause of “lost” work is that the user has inadvertently switched to a different version of the project.

If you use Finder to search for all .scriv files on your system, do you see any copies that you don’t expect?


I have one project, don’t close Scrivener unless I’m turning the computer off–at which point I save it and it backs up automacically. I do no have another version of the project or any documents within it. I do not save to another place. I have been able to recover the two documents I had the issue with by searching for a keyword in the Finder and the new version shows up.

I can’t help but notice random typing with a yellow background. It will not go away unless the word or phrase is erased. Each of these issues have happened twice. The latter not such a big deal but combined with the former, erodes the trust in the program and hopes that I have.

If the “missing” documents are at an unexpected location within the project, you can also find them via the Edit -> Find -> Search in Project command. Sometimes this happens because people inadvertently create a new document, for instance with the Document -> Split keyboard shortcut, or inadvertently place a new document inside a folder rather than at the top outline level (or vice versa).

Is the yellow background due to highlighting? (Format -> Highlight.)


The whole point about the highlighting is that it is doing it on its own. And, when that happens, there is no way undo it without deleting the word or phrase entirely.

I’m not doing any of those things you’re speaking of in terms of ‘lost’ files; they aren’t in another document, mislabeled, duplicated, etc. They just do not appear to save, on the screen, as I save them or as Scrivener is set to save when I step away for a bit. What does appear (or has twice, it’s not happened more than that), is a previous version UNTIL I search for a keyword in the finder that was used in the most recently edited version. If I do that, then the newly revised edition appears, in the same folder and document in which it was written.

Please check this: MacOS is set by default in newer machines to use iCloud for the Desktop and Documents folder… That could result in the “disappearing changes” problem. In System Preferences, please check your ICloud (or Apple ID on Catalina) settings. If ”Optimize Mac Storage” is checked, uncheck it and see if that helps.

Good luck!

P.S. There should be an “Options…” button next to iCloud Drive in your Apple ID/iCloud settings. Click it and try unchecking “Desktop and Documents folders”. This might also help with your slow-appearing changes, but “Optimize Mac Storage” is the main suspect.

What Silverdragon said. Scrivener is not capable of doing this on its own: either it saves a file or it doesn’t.

If the information “reappears,” it was clearly saved correctly, and clearly still exists somewhere. (If it weren’t, there would be no way to “recover” it.) Your symptoms are consistent with some form of “smart” synchronization making a poor file prioritization choice. When you actively search for the file, the software says, “Oops! Needed that after all!” and recovers it.


Could you attach a screenshot of the highlighting issue, please?


Thanks, y’all. I’ll do that and I’ll send a screen shot of the highlighting issue if/when it reappears!

An update: After unsyncing, there doesn’t seem to be the issue with ‘delayed saving’ or mystery disappearance!!

No more mystery highlighting again, yet. If it happens again, I’ll screenshot it and post.

Thanks again!