Scrivener intermittently loses entire text sections

I’m using version 2.0.4 on Mac OSX 10.6.6.
In two different .scriv’s for two different novels, I’ve experienced the same potentially devastating issue: an old text section - not changed for some time - loses all of its contents. In the binder, you see the icon for a text with contents, but when you click on it, the text section is empty, and the icon changes from full to blank. In all, this has happened to me probably approaching a dozen times - including five minutes ago, in a brand-new .scriv I just populated from a Word doc a couple of weeks ago.

With the older .scriv, I developed a practice of clicking through each and every text section before export to make sure I didn’t generate a document that was missing a chapter. Then I would restore whatever was missing by reformatting from a prior export. I had assumed that this was a conversion problem with that one particular file, but now that theory has been disproven.

I ADORE this tool, but naturally I can’t go on like this. Please help!


I’ve never heard of anything like this happening before, and there’s nothing in Scrivener that would wipe out sections of text itself. It sounds as though underlying RTF files are going missing from within the .scriv project (a .scriv file is just a folder of files, as can be seen if you ctrl-click on the file in the Finder and select “Show Package Contents”).

Do you use Dropbox to store your projects? Have you moved these projects between machines or just between folders? The only thing I can think of offhand is that there has been some sort of copying error when the project has either been moved or synced (it’s always a good idea to keep zipped backups of the project to be extra safe).

If you can find a way of reproducing your problem, though, please let me know.

Thanks and all the best,

Hi, and thanks for the reply.
No, I don’t use DropBox to move the .scriv’s around. I’ve never moved them at all.
I do use DropBox as a backup, or did at one time. Now I use SugarSync.
Looking inside the scriv I’m working in today, there is something interesting.
The chapter that had gone missing is still there, but with a different name.
I’ve got a file named 54 (from SK-MAC).rtf, and another file called 54.rtf.
The file with my machine name in the filename is dated February, and the 54.rtf file is dated today.
Both contain the same text. I suspect that the file that disappeared got renamed somehow and Scrivener couldn’t find it anymore, and the duplicate is the doc I created today when I restored from an older RTF export.

The .scriv from my other novel has several files with (SK-MAC) in the filename, suggesting that it fell prey to the same issue. BTW, there are literally hundreds of RTF’s in that scriv, many, many more than I have sections in my novel. Is that to be expected? Are some of those the trash?

Do you have Scrivener doing it’s “backup to” or Automatic Backups" to Sugarsync, or did you set it up so that Sugarsync keeps track of the project you are working on? If that’s how you back up, then those “from SK-MAC” files are probably the way that SS deals with conflicts. I had something similar happen with DropBox when I had sync issues.

I haven’t seen anyone endorse SS for keeping a up-to-date copy of a working project yet, but I suspect the guidelines for using Scrivener with SugarSync will be similar to using it with Dropbox:



Ah, it sounds as though SugarSync is the culprit. Scrivener finds files based on filenames, looking for the number which tallies with an internal ID. So, if 54.rtf is renamed to 54 (from SK-MAC).rtf, then Scrivener won’t be able to find that file. Sync programs such as SugarSync and Dropbox generally don’t respect file packages such as .scriv files and treat them like regular folders, and if they think the same file is open on two machines at the same time, they may rename one of the files to preserve its contents. And if that happens inside a Scrivener project, problems will ensue.

Usually you can ensure these problems don’t occur by making sure that the same project is never open on two computers at the same time, but I’m not familiar enough with SugarSync to say for sure.

All the best,