I deleted a chapter of my book by mistake (I hit command 2 instead of command + option 2 for formatting.). I am finding it impossible to retrieve. I got onto Apple support and they talked me through Time Machine (using Elements external hard drive) but the chapter is still deleted even going back an hour before I did this. I’ve looked at Scrivener backups in Dropbox and cannot see anything listed for today. I can’t believe I’m going to have to rewrite this whole chapter! Your help would be much appreciated.

I’m confused. On my installation command-2 just switches the editor view to the corkboard view.

Just to cover the bases:

  1. Is your chapter document still in the binder? If so, click on that and choose View > Document.

  2. If by some chance your chapter document is not in the binder where you expect it to be, have you looked for it in the project trash? That is located at the very bottom of the Binder.

If these don’t help, maybe you should say more about what appears to have happened. A good start would be i) what do you think cmd-2 does, and ii) what is it exactly that is making you think your chapter is gone?

Something strange has now happened. I searched binder for any trace of the chapter but without success. Then, just now, I tried one unusual word - “explode”- which was in the chapter - and up comes the chapter in the unedited form it was yesterday. Wonders of wonders! It is not clear whether it is in research or trash. I copy the entire chapter to paste into the empty chapter in binder

  • and find that the whole chapter is there already under the existing heading. How strange is that! From now on I am going to be very cautious about using formatting shortcuts.

FYI, if you have a document loaded in an editor, right-click on the title bar at the top of that editor, and select Reveal in Binder to find where the document is. This also works from a search results list that obfuscates the binder with a list of documents that match a search. Likewise, a collection can temporarily hide the normal binder view to display its contents, but right-clicking on a document in one of those alternate views and selecting Reveal in Binder will show you where it’s located in your binder’s hierarchy.

Yay! Glad to hear you’ve recovered your chapter.

For future reference, it may help to understand a little bit about how Scrivener works.

If you delete the text of a document, for instance by selecting it and typing over it, it’s gone. You can Undo whatever you did, but if that doesn’t work there aren’t many alternatives.

If an entire document appears to vanish, though, there are lots of things you can try.

It’s possible that you deleted the document in the Binder, in which case you can find it in the project Trash.

It’s possible that you inadvertently created a new document, in which case the old one is right where you left it. A subset of this is accidentally splitting the existing document, in which case the other half is above or below in the Binder.

It’s possible that you accidentally moved the document somewhere else, in which case the Project search and the Reveal in Binder command are the way to go.

It’s possible that you accidentally moved you somewhere else – that is, you jumped to a different document – in which case the original document should be right where you left it.

If you haven’t already, I’d recommend taking a look at our Interactive Tutorial, available from the Help menu. It’s a good overview of Scrivener’s fundamental operations and may help you understand what might have happened.

This would also be a good time to check Scrivener’s automatic backup options to make sure they match the way you work. On the Mac, they can be found in the Scrivener → Preferences → Backups pane.

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Thank you very much for your prompt and helpful response. I am still puzzled about why it happened. The reason an older version of the chapter suddenly appeared may be because I had to try to restore from Time Machine but at the time nothing seemed to happen. Could there be a delay on Restore using Time Machine? The other question I have is about Restore. If something awful happens again, what are the steps I should take to restore an earlier version?

A Time Machine restore should be instantaneous. However, to avoid confusion between versions, I’d recommend restoring from Time Machine (or any other backup) to a new location.

There’s information on restoring from Scrivener’s own backups in Section 5.2.3 of the (Mac) manual, and more information about Time Machine and Scrivener in Section 5.2.5.

Great to hear all is well. :tada:

It might be instructive to /see/ what happened for yourself. If you did what you said, you can reproduce it (without fear!) as follows. Create a new document in the binder and type some words into the body of the document. Now choose View > Corkboard. Poof! Your text seems to disappear and you get a little notice. Is that like what you saw before? Now choose View > Document. Your document text is shown again. Notice, by the way, that at no time did the document in question disappear from the Binder. It was always there. All that changed was the View mode setting of the editing area. (The view mode does not do anything useful as applied to single documents, so the editor area goes empty — with a little helpful notice about this.)


P.S. Lat&Lat are awfully good people and for a situation such as yours, it probably would have saved you some trouble to have come here before going so far as to call Apple and do a restore.