Scapple suddenly will not open Scapple files

Although Scapple would smoothly open my Scapple files a couple of weeks ago, now it won’t. I have restarted my Mac and quit-and-reopened Scapple. It will give me an untitled/blank document, but not my established documents. The files appear in the >File >Open Recent dropdown, but nothing happens when I select any of them. They also will not open from my hard drive menu. Ideas are welcome!!! Thanks!

By chance are they on a cloud-synced folder, e.g. Dropbox or iCloud and are “online” and just perhaps unavailable until the service provider gives them back to you?

I would do the following:

  1. Clear that Recents menu. (The option to do so is on the menu itself.)

  2. Find the relevant Scapple files themselves in the Finder and open them from there. This will repopulate your Recents menu.


p.s. Ditto what rms said. Tech companies are working hard to turn your own file storage into another subscription service!

Thanks - That is a possibility, especially since I have no idea how to operate or access Dropbox or iCloud. I guess I’ll have to learn!

Thanks for your reply! Scapple won’t open the Scapple files via the Finder. (That’s what I meant when I referred to my hard drive - sorry I was not clear.) Once I can figure out how to open them, maybe then I’ll try clearing the Recents menu, but I’m nervous about doing that first.

Start here: Make your Dropbox files available offline | Dropbox Help

And–do you need the files on Dropbox?

Here is what I would do: go back to the Scapple file in Finder, and this time instead of double-clicking on it to load it in the default application, right-click on it, and from the “Open With” submenu at the top of the contextual menu, click on “Other…”.

Scroll down through the list of applications and select TextEdit.

All right, what you should be seeing here is the real Scapple file itself, not being opened by a program that turns this information into a visual tool like you are used to, but a program that prints the raw information directly. It will look a bit like an indented list of logical and understandable statements, all surrounded by greater than and lesser than characters. For example we start with a ScappleDocument, which has indented below it some Notes, which has indented within it Note sections, and then those Note sections have bits of information about them, like their Appearance settings, their text (as a String) or Connections. It should start a bit like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<ScappleDocument Version="1.2" ID="629BB437-FB8D-4082-ADD9-02FA99A7F2B9">
    <Note ID="38" FontSize="12.0" Position="260.0,275.7" Width="200.0">
        <Border Style="Square">0.898 0.243 0.478</Border>
      <String>This is a very simple Scapple document.</String>

A real Scapple file will have a whole lot more than that—your styles, many notes, print settings and so on, but that above is something that would actually load in the software without error.

Do you see stuff like that, or nothing at all? Or does it not even load in TextEdit? Because if it doesn’t do that, you’ve probably got bigger problems than anything we can help you with, and it certainly has nothing to do with Scapple. It’s probably time to take the computer to Apple if TextEdit cannot load a text file.

Thanks, that was very clear (especially for this semi-Luddite). Yes, I see stuff like that, so that’s encouraging.

Thanks for mentioning Dropbox. I actually don’t use it - there were very few files there… but now I know more about how it works, so that’s a good thing. Anyway, no Scapple files were there after all.

Thanks for these ideas. I have checked both places, with no luck. But it’s good to be aware of these hiding places.

Okay! So it sounds like your files are fine, which is good news, there just isn’t something right happening with Scapple itself. Are you getting any kind of error messages or dialogue boxes, or does it just do nothing at all? If you are getting messages, could you relay the text of them?

I am not getting any error messages. When I try to open a Scapple file, nothing happens at all. Thank you for your interest! If you have any ideas please let me know.

I would start with some very basic troubleshooting steps:

  1. Reinstall Scapple from a fresh download. (Or use the Apple Store thing if that’s where you bought it from.)
  2. And if that doesn’t fix it, reset preferences.

If neither of those work, we can try and see if any system level error messages are involved. Let us know which version of macOS you are using as well.

Thank you for this guidance. Having a bit of tech anxiety, I had not wanted to uninstall and reinstall Scapple. But I was ready to try, so I started to slowly drag the Scapple icon from my dock, and before it left the dock a pop-up appeared with a list of all my Scapple files. (This was a new phenomenon to me.) I selected one, and it opened. And now Scapple seems to be working normally, giving me access to my files through “Open Recent,” too. I am not sure what happened, but I am glad it did… and meanwhile I have learned all these troubleshooting ideas (which I’m likely to need sooner or later anyway somewhere in my computer usage). So thank you AmberV (and everyone) for checking in and helping!!!

1 Like

Glad you got things working for you again!

Sometimes the strangest things fix stuff. :slight_smile:

I had the same problem your advice helped me. Thanks!

I have the same problem today the first time today. I updated from an older version, problem continued, deleted it, restarted und installed a second time. I cannot open an existing file, but create a new one, and then open one, but only one existing. All the files I try to open are listed in “Recent”. Can’t open from finder – neither “open” or “open with”. Nothing of the solutions suggested here work.
Preview shows all the files correctly.
Thanks for help.

I would check Console to see if any errors are being thrown when trying to load a Scapple document. I am aware of one case that causes similar issues where it seemed that a corrupted Spotlight database may have potentially been the issue, but a routine reset of it didn’t seem to fix the problem. Whatever the problem was, it went well beyond Scapple and seemed to be some core problem with the OS itself, probably not something that could be fixed without reinstalling the OS fresh, but we never did get confirmation on that.

I’m not sure what that means, as Preview shouldn’t be able to open Scapple files at all.

This sort of suggests that the files you are trying to open in the Finder are not scapple files. Is that possible?

Are these files by any chance on a cloud drive, or did you recently move them on/off a cloud drive?