shut down and start problems

Scrivener is shutting down a lot of times whenever I try to open a pdf file inside my project. And while writing this post, I cannot get the program started again. The little windows saying synchronizing search strings, is the only thing I see. What can be the problem?


Are you on 10.4.11 or Leopard? First thing to do is ctrl-click on the .scriv file in the Finder, select “Show Package Contents” and then delete the ui.xml file that is in there. This should get your project opening again. Then delete the troublesome PDF file from the project (you may need to lock the editor in place to do this so that the PDF file doesn’t get opened and cause a crash again). Then send me the troublesome PDF file so that I can test the problem.

Hi Keith,
When it happened yesterday, I restarted the mac and did a cleaning and permission repair with Onyx. After that, Scrivener opened normally again. However today, after clicking on a pdf file (and I believe actually that it was this time another pdf file) the program did shut down again and the “synchronizing search strings” window was there for a long time.

Just now I deleted the ui.xml file and I was able to open my project. I noticed that the layout settings are gone, probably those are in the ui.xml file.

Could this be a pdf generally problem? I make my pdfs by using the print to pdf option on my mac, and that should be safe, right?

Just now again a problem: I saves my project and got the spinning little colorwheel for a very long time. I decided to do a force quit. While trying to open the program again, it keeps on doing the “synchronizing search strings”.



You didn’t answer a rather important question: are you on 10.4.11 or Leopard? Also, if you send me a PDF file with the problem, that will help. Did anything appear on the console? Can you post the crash report when it crashes? All of these things will help me determine what is going on.


I am on 10.4.11.

Just now it crashed again after moving around in the binder from pdf to document and back again. I attached the pdf and crash report.

crash report scrivener.pdf (37.8 KB)
Narrator.pdf (114 KB)

Could you zip up your project and send it to support AT literatureandlatte DOT com? That crash report is alarming in that it has nothing to do with the PDF view, but instead gives lots of internal Apple errors concerning the outline view (binder). This may indicate that there is something strange going on with your binder, so I need to see the project itself.
Thanks and all the best,

Hi Keith,
I tried to send the file,but it’s 55 mb, to large to send with hotmail.


That’s huge! All of my Scrivener projects combined aren’t that big!

Have you pulled in some sort of enormous multimedia file? And could that be part of why opening the project takes so long?


I looked into the package and see that all the pdf files are about 1.5 mb (69 pdfs), and a file with the name Binderstrings.xml is 28 mb. All the rest are normal rtf files.

I took out all the files I don’t need at the moment and reorganized the Binder. The zipped backupfile is now 25 mb. While working on this, Scrivener did shut down again. Would it help if I open a new project and put the organized project files into the new project?

There are several large file-transfer services available that are free for limited use. I imagine Keith would prefer seeing the original, unedited problem file. You could try


Hi Keith,
just wanted to ask: did you receive the file I send you at

I hope I send it correctly, I used Yousendit for this, because the file is very big.


I have been getting a similar startup problem. In the past couple of days when I try to start the application, I get the ‘synchronizing search strings’ message for probably 10 minutes or so (AGES!), then I get an error message and the programme shuts down. The ‘strings’ thing has happened a couple of times in the past when the app shut down improperly, but if I left them to do their synchronising thing for a while it eventually fixed itself.

This time, though, I’m pretty sure the programme shut down fine the last time, and I haven’t done anything atypical with the programme, or deleted fonts, or created subfolders, etc. And to the best of my knowledge there has been no single pdf, doc, or web archive I’ve imported that has caused a problem. In fact, Scrivener has worked like a dream over the past several months, and I just woke up the other day and it didn’t work. Unfortunately, since I can’t figure out what is wrong I was thinking of reinstalling the app and starting again.

But… I’ve never done a proper backup using that function in the file menu. I’m not sure why, but nevermind. What I have done instead is to copy the entire contents of my Documents folder onto my memory stick after each usage. So I have all the files, but possibly not in the recommended format.

So, 1) Any other recommended actions before I resort to reinstalling? I would try some of the suggestions from earlier in this thread and in other threads on similar topics but I can’t open the app at all so I can’t try anything (unless I’m missing something).

And 2) Other than the Documents folder, what else should I make sure I don’t accidentally delete before reinstalling, should I resort to that? As a rule I generally also make copies of my Application Support folder.

The synchronising search strings problem is a nasty bug in 1.11 (and 1.12 and earlier versions, too). Basically, if there is a lot of text or documents to synchronise, too much memory can get consumed and the program can hang - which will keep repeating so that you can’t open the project. The next update fixes this so that memory gets released properly and the synchronisation can finish. The only way to fix this currently is to zip up the project and send it to me (or make it available to me for download somewhere) so that I can run it in a more recent build of the program and fix it for you. There should be a beta of the next update available in November (I hope).
All the best,