Save As problem and maybe another related Scare

I’m about halfway through my third novel and something very strange happened today that has totally unnerved me.

I used LaunchBar as I have been doing for months to open my Scrivener project and LaunchBar told me there was no such named project.


When I went to the folder in which I keep my novel project, I couldn’t find it.


Then I used Apple’s “recent items” tool in the finder, found the project listed there, and selected it to open. And it DID open the file. But the file had a DIFFERENT NAME.

Somehow a Scrivener project I had opened last night had had its name applied to my standard, every day project. It had changed the name to be identical. When I did a system search for Scrivener projects, it showed me 0 projects with the right name for my novel project, and 2 identically named projects in different folders. (The other project was unchanged.)

And then, when I opened my novel project and tried to do a “Save as” to change the name back to what it was supposed to be, there was no “Save as” option in the file menu, only “Save as Template…”

I rebooted Scrivener and this is still the case. I suppose it’s possible Scrivener never had a “save as” option, although I can’t believe that’s true.

Anyway, I’m shaken by the whole thing.

Sorry, late here and I’m in the middle of cooking tea, so will reply properly later, but Scrivener did indeed never have a “Save As” option (it’s a more complicated option with a package format such as the .scriv format than with regular files). However, the next update finally adds this. As for renaming - Scrivener itself certainly couldn’t have renamed a file to anything else…

Well, Keith, understanding that it’s late and all for you, I still take that as a fairly flip response. It is strange, is it not, that one Scrivener file took the name of another? Is it not even possible that some strange blip in the program, having to do with files being open at the same time or Scrivener automatically opening the last open file or some other odd thing, caused this?

I’ve been using Macs for more than a decade. I’ve never seen this happen before. And yet it did, last night, using Scrivener. To say Scrivener “certainly couldn’t have” seems to be closing your mind to the possibility, and therefore a solution.

Scrivener uses OS X tools for all file-related functions. That’s why it couldn’t have changed the name of your file: it has no file handling code. As I’m sure Keith would have explained if he had taken a few more minutes.


Hardly. I was merely responding to your observation that there was no “Save As” to confirm that this was indeed the case, and as I said, I intended to return to the rest which is what I am doing now, so my response was most certainly not “flip”. I’m rather offended at the suggestion, given that I did specifically say that “I will reply properly later”. I try to reply quickly even when I haven’t got much time and way out of “normal” hours; next time I’ll wait.

To return to your problem (as I said I would), what you are saying if I understand you correctly is that a project you were using suddenly somehow changed its file name to have the same as another. There is very little to go on here, unfortunately. The save code in Scrivener only ever uses Cocoa’s internal -filename variable so gets passed the save path by the internal OS X document architecture. That is, at no point does Scrivener do anything manually with the project path. So, whilst not being “closed-minded” to the possibility that something in Scrivener could have caused this, I can say that there is nothing that should magically rename a project in this manner. There is nothing in the code I have personally programmed that should do this, and without more information or a case that will reproduce it, its difficult to see a way forward. Do you have anything else on your machine that might interfere? Could it be a glitch in LaunchBar? Have you checked the folders in the Finder to check that it’s not just LaunchBar showing the projects wrong (I’ve never used LaunchBar, so don’t know exactly what it does or shows)? What else were you doing at the time this happened?

Katherine - thanks for that, it’s nearly right (but Scrivener does have some file handling code). And yes, I would have explained that, had I had a few more minutes at the time. (Guess I’ll just let my dinner burn next time… :frowning: )

Yes, I did see the “respond properly later” and promptly forgot it when I picked up a tone that I obviously mistakenly perceived as flip. So my apologies. I was and remain a bit rattled by the hanky panky that’s going on with my novel project name. Mother bear, cub, etc. I certainly appreciate your rapid response.

I wish I could give you more to go on. LaunchBar just searches for things and opens them when I hit enter, like Spotlight, so I can’t see how that would be it. Here’s the order of events. Open “Novel.scriv” as usual, using launchbar, at about noon. Work on it all day. Open OtherFile.scriv at about 11:55 pm and add something to it. Close Scrivener. Shut down computer. Next day, start computer. Novel.scriv is renamed OtherFile.scriv.

What I can’t say with certainty is whether both files were open at the same time when I shut down Scrivener, but I think they were.

You can perform file management functions with LaunchBar. Cmd-Shift-R will rename, and pressing Tab will tell LB to take the existing match and do something else with it (sending files to locations will prompt you on copy/move/alias/symlink functions).

So while it is a little unusual, a possible chain of events in your LaunchBar usage could have been to type in the name of your daily project while accidentally have priorly triggered rename mode on the novel project (you wouldn’t have had to have typed in the “.scriv” part as LB only selects the bits before the dot by default). It seems unlikely, as the visual cue for rename is different than the matching cue, but if you at all use LaunchBar like I do, half of the time you aren’t even looking at it. Additionally, the kind of “misfire” where LB doesn’t do what you expected so you try again is just the type of thing one’s brain forgets after a few hours.

Thanks for the added info, Amber. I guess it’s possible LaunchBar is involved, although I don’t think I used it to open the second file, because I hardly ever open that file so I haven’t bothered to train LB to find it.

Whatever happened I am certain it happened late in the day, rather than when I opened the novel file, because I use Mozy to back up the file and all day yesterday it backed it up as usual. Today however, until I noticed what was going on, it had not been able to find the file, so the log shows “0 b” backups.

Possibly it happened when I opened the second file. I just can’t figure out how. It would have required me typing in the second name in its entirety.


All I can say for now is to keep an eye on it and see if you can find any situation in which this recurs. The reason I can’t see why Scrivener would do this is that it uses the Cocoa document architecture (much the same as most Cocoa applications that allow more than one document/project to be open at any one time). This generalises a document or project so that the Cocoa architecture itself passes in the file paths and handles the file system stuff automatically. The programmer then just defines the project or document and the specifics to the program. So, one project knows nothing about another project. For Scrivener to have renamed a project, it would have had to take its original path, perform a “move” command on it (which both moves and/or renames) and used the name of a different project altogether. Of course I can never say 100% that Scrivener isn’t responsible; there’s always a chance that it is a bug. But in this case it does seem unlikely that Scrivener could have done this given what it would have had to do in order for this to happen, and if I can’t reproduce it then there’s not much I can do, I’m afraid (that’s the same with all bugs, sadly - until they’re reproducible, they’re almost impossible to track).

Just to toss this in the mix as a slim maybe


OSX now has this little nifty feature that when you are in a SAVE dialog box and you CLICK on another document name (instead of say a folder and this happens rather frequently) then the default NAME in changes to what you clicked on.

So you are in Scrivener You click SAVE AS While working on SCR1 (Project). YOu then are presented with a SAVE AS DIalog Box and the Default Name is SCR1. YOu navigate to your Projects folder by clicking on Folder Names in the DIalog Box. On Accident you click ONCE on a FILE NAME (not a folder name) during this process. Lets say you accidently clicked on a file named BEER. Tne DEFAULT NAME now in the top of the Save As DIalog Box was SCR1 but is now named BEER. Of course this renaming is done with NO WARNING since it is a “feature” of OSX. You click SAVE. When the warning comes up that you are overwriting (if you are saving in the same directory) you of course click ok because this was your intention.

THe dialog box closes and you go to bed.

The Next Day you go to open the file BEER and you are confounded as to why BEER has info from SCR1 and your dissertation on the lovely uses of Beer has suddenly vanished! ANd your heart is heavy because of course you never made a back-up of the Beer file because you computer is fairly new and a back up is so tedious. :slight_smile:

WHat I am saying is inadvertantly in a SAVE or SAVE AS dialog box it is very very easy to rename the file just by clicking on another file while navigating to your destination directory. This is of course a feature of OSX and independent of 3rd party applications but it is the Number 1 reason OSX users have accidently written over files or misplaced files because of this little documented feature that renames a file on the fly with NO WARNING.

If you want to try it out do this.

Open Text Edit and make a new file. Inside that file type BEER. Save the file as BEER and close it. Put it in a folder on your desktop.

Now open a new document inside that document type the word CHAIR. Now click SAVE.

When the SAVE dialog box comes up navigate to the folder where Beer is saved. You should see one file in there (Grayed Out) named BEER

Click ONCE on the Grayed Out file name Beer and then click Save.

A Warning Box should warn you you are overwriting BEER. Click ok.

Now look you have a text document Named BEER with the word Chair written in it and you never asked to rename it.

This happens more frequently than people realize and is the most common reason for lost files.

The reason is if accidently click on a file name WHILE you are in the process of navigating to another folder you may pick up a file name from another directory level and when you save it in the new directory since nothing is there to replace no warning box ever appears.

Later on as you dig through your files you find two files with the same name and most people delete the OLDER of the two. The OLDER one was the original file (Beer) the new one named Beer is actually the Chair file.

And the OSX never warned you it “did this for you” for convenience.


I am willing to bet something of this nature happened since it is so easy to do…