Some chapters are not displayed after compiling the manuscript

MacOS 11.0.1
Scrivener 3.2.1 (14481)

When attempting to compile a manuscript, some chapters are not in the output file. The output file is generated but the pages where these chapters would be are blank.

Steps to reproduce:

  1. Open a work in progress
  2. Select ‘Compile for export or print’ in the interface or click “File > Compile” to produce the Compile dialog
  3. In ‘Formats’, select ‘Default’
  4. Select ‘PDF’ in the ‘Compile for’ dropdown menu
  5. Use all other default settings
  6. Click ‘Compile’
  7. Select a name and location for the file
  8. Click ‘Export’
  9. Allow the procedure to run to completion
  10. Open the output file

Actual result: the first three chapters are missing from the output file. The pages are blank.

Expected result: the document is properly exported and all the chapters are available in the output file


Moving the chapters to different locations in the same project and compiling them again will result in an output file where these chapters are missing

Moving the chapters to a new location and copy/pasting the text into newly-created chapters in the original location and compiling them will result in more chapters missing

Creating a new project and copying the text from these chapters only to a new chapter each in the new project will create a file with blank pages.

Several iterations of this procedure will create a file that is the same size [1.3MB, one 1.4 MB]

One compilation a while back occurred without issue and generated a file 793kB in size containing all chapters, it is not clear if there is a material difference in these chapters.

All chapters were basically created in the same way when the text was created and used in the same manner. No errors or warnings were displayed at any time.

Has anyone experienced this? Is there a way to resolve this problem?

If copying and pasting the text into a fresh doc makes the new doc likewise misbehave, you likely have something embedded in the text of those pages that you don’t know about.*

  1. Have you tried using the Zap Gremlins command on the text of one of these docs?
  2. What happens if you use Paste and Match Format in a new doc? Does that help.

You say your trouble docs were created basically the same way as the others. This elliptical way of speaking suggests to me that the way they were created was not by you just typing away. First guess: you are copying and pasting stuff from the internet. What presents as text in a web browser can be encoded in any number of ways and may embed invisible material. Sometimes such encoding is


  • My initial hunch was a difference in the assigned Section Type as between the troubled docs and the others, until I got to this part of your report.

Thank you for your feedback.

Apologies if I was not clear.

When I say: the same way, I mean I have been writing a novel with several chapters [over 50], and these were created the same way. I typically would not copy/paste something from the internet, but it is possible that in that first chapter I copied a reference from the internet that contained some formatting that gave me issues. I removed that, nothing in the text should now contain pasted references. In the first chapter, in the notes, I did copy a table, for reference purposes, into the ‘notes’ section, on the right hand pane.
The rest of the document is just me typing words.

I have now created a new document where that first chapter was not copied to , but the text of the next two chapters was copy/pasted. It generates the same problem. It’s really curious.

You mention a command line / script, I do not know that reference. Do you have a procedure for that? I would greatly appreciate it.

Your comment about formatting in the text reminded me of an instance where we learned to crash Microsoft Outlook by saving a message.

Here is what I did:
1 open the Notes app
2 copy the text from the problematic chapter
3 Paste that text into a new Note
5 Copy that text from the New Note
6 Select the text of the entire chapter in the Scrivener document
7 Paste the text in the clipboard [it now has different formatting]
8 repeat steps 2 to 7 for every affected chapter
9 compile the Scrivener document

Actual result: the document is now properly compiled with all the text being displayed, although the formatting of the pasted chapters is now in the default Notes format. When I set the chapter’s formatting to that of the other chapters in the document and compiled it, the output file displayed the desired font and all pages were properly displayed.

I’m now going to try and figure out how to use the chapter title in the left-hand column to be displayed as the title for the chapters when they are compiled.

Thank you for jogging my mind there. This actually resolves my issue.

Hey, glad you got it sorted!


P.S. ‘Zap Gremlins’ is actually a Scrivener command. I think you will find it under Text Tidying in the Edit menu. It is a good thing to try when you think you might be dealing with some invisible character somewhere.