Starting a new instance of Scrivener

When I have a project open in Scrivener (, I know I can navigate via File Explorer or some other tool to another project and open it so I have multiple instances of Scrivener running (or keep shortcuts to projects on the desktop). But I cannot just use the Start Menu or a desktop icon of Scrivener.exe to open a new instance if one is already running. Doing so just activates the most recent Scrivener window already open.

Please add the ability to run multiple instances of Scrivener from the shortcut instead of having to open another program to navigate to a project.

Interesting! This might have to do with the prevention of opening the same project in two parallel instances of Scrivener. If you have the option “Reopen projects that were open on quit” active, a double-click on the desktop icon would reopen your current project in a second instance. And that could possible corrupt your project. I assume, Scrivener checks at the time of startup if there is already an instance running with the same project and then just quits, leaving you with the first instance.

I’m not 100% clear on what you’re asking, but I have Scrivener pinned to my Start Menu, and a right click on the icon shows me pinned projects as well as recent projects, and I launch from there. This is a Win 10 feature, btw, nothing to do with Scriv.

Does that get you closer to what you want?

(I assume you already know you can launch additional projects from inside Scriv via the File menu.)

It partially has something to do with Scrivener, and I understand what some of the work-arounds are. I can use File / New Project to start something new, for instance. I just thought it was odd that the program links are essentially inactive once any project is open. It’s easy to tell if your app is running, and the two most common ways I know are to use FindWindow() to find “Scrivener” in a window title, or to assign a GUID to your own app and try to create a mutex with it. If creation fails, your app is still running.

I am not sure whether got the main point of what @jimRac was recommending. If you have Scrivener installed in the Taskbar, you can right-click it there and see a list of recently opened projects. From there you can start an other instance of scrivener, except for the projects that are already open.

Actually, I was saying the Start Menu, but the taskbar will work too! :grinning:

@BClarke , sorry, still not clear on what you’re asking for here, because the method described above will launch a new instance from Start Menu–but it sounds like you know what you’re doing, so I’ll bow out.


I just tried a desktop shortcut that runs Scrivener with the path of another project as argument. That does work. It just has to be another project that is not open yet. Perhaps you could use that as a work around. You could create a folder under Start with shortcuts to all of your projects.

A desktop shortcut with an invalid path as argument or no argument at all just leads you to the instance already running – just as you said.

What specifically are you trying to do? It’s not possible to open a second window on an already open project. There are several ways to open a second project, or to create a new one.

I don’t want to blow this out of proportion, All I am saying is: if a program is intended to allow multiple instances to run at the same time, it should allow all logical avenues of starting those instances, which includes a desktop shortcut or the Start menu shortcut to plain old Scrivener.exe. Scrivener does not.

Yes, I know the other ways to get what I want, which is another instance of Scrivener without using a link to Scrivener.exe. My intent was to say to the developers, “You missed one.”

I am genuinely curious here about an apparent difference in architecture between Mac Scrivener and Windows Scrivener. I know that Mac Scrivener does not run multiple instances of the Scrivener app itself; rather, each project opens as a separate window in the (singular) application process in memory. Does Windows Scrivener in fact run as multiple instances, each with its own complete process?

No. One process shows up in Task Manager or Process Explorer, and each project instance appears under that one Process ID.

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You are using the term “instances” in different, and conflicting ways.

As you note, there is only ever one Scrivener process active on your system. This process can open multiple Scrivener projects. But it is not possible to either open two instances of the same project, or two instances of Scrivener itself.

What you are seeing is the expected behavior.

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While Scrivener can open multiple projects, it is not opening multiple instances of itself to do so. I just tested this by going an opening multiple projects, then checking my Task Manager and my process list via Get-Process in PowerShell. Both showed me the same thing: a single running instance of Scrivener.

Knowing that, the behavior that you’re seeing is entirely expected and the way Windows works.

  1. I have Scrivener open and select a different project on my Recent Projects list, it notifies Scrivener, which sees this is a project that is not open and dutiful spawns the necessary new windows within the same instance to display the new project. This is true no matter how I invoke the new project – Shortcut, Explorer, Recent Projects, typing it out in CMD or PowerShell, etc. – because the running Scrivener instance realizes that the project it’s being asked to handle isn’t already open.
  2. I have Scrivener open and select a project I already have open. If it is not the project that currently has focus, Scrivener will realize it is already open and switch focus to it. It does not open another copy of the project as that could cause corruption.
  3. I have Scrivener open and select the Start Menu item, or launch it from a shortcut or via CMD/PowerShell/some other method that doesn’t include a project. In this case the Scrivener instance knows that it’s already open, but not seeing any other project to handle, doesn’t do much of anything.

There is one way you can appear to have two copies of the same project open in Scrivener at the same time – and that is if you used Save As to save your project to a different location. Then, indeed, you can have two separate copies open simultaneously in your single Scrivener instance, but that’s going to be confusing and frustrating because the two windows are pointing to two separate on-disk copies. The below screenshot shows this exact situation – your only clue that you’ve done this is the (highlighted) full project location in the title of each window.

Best to avoid this one.