The document "FILE_NAME" could not be opened. The file doesn't exist.

Hi, just received this message today after trying to reopen the Scrivener application on my Mac with the file I had been using. When I try to open the file as well as the back up file the same message gets delivered.

Can anyone help regarding this? I have backed up my computer with Time Machine only recently.


I’m not familiar with an error message like that on the Mac. I would open from /Applications/Utilities and see if there is anything more informative being printed there.

Meanwhile, have you let Apple upload your entire Documents and Desktop folders to iCloud, and if so do you use the feature that deletes local data when you start running out of space? If so, try copying the project to a different folder outside of all of that, which should trigger a download—let it do so and then try again.

If nothing is working, and you’d be willing to send us a copy of the project to tech support, we can take a look at it and see if there is an issue with the structure of the project itself and hopefully fix it.


Thank you for your response!

I currently keep my Scrivener application and all my documents on my computer and not in iCloud, but I am receiving this same message as above when starting any new project within Scrivener or just trying to open any project I have used in Scrivener. I have uninstalled all of the application and reinstalled it and activated it but I still have the same issue. I can take a screenshot of the dialogue box I receive in a few hours up to this thread.

I will try copying the project to a different folder outside of all of the one its in and try to reopen in the meantime.

Thank you in advance for your help!

Screenshot taken of dialogue box.

Thanks for the clarification. So you get this message even when following this checklist:

  1. Use the File ▸ New Project… menu command.
  2. Select the “Blank” category and then the “Blank” starter option.
  3. Click the Choose… button.
  4. Select “Documents” as your saving location, and give the project the name “Test Project”.

It’s not the message you would typically get, but I wonder if there is some kind of permission problem with the user folder. Did you use Apple’s account migration tool at any point in the recent past to switch computers or to restore from a clean install?


Thank you for your response.

Yes, I was receiving this same message for any new project I would try to open in a blank document. However, as of last night, the issue seemed to resolve itself and I have restarted my computer and I can open previous documents as well as start new projects.

I am very confused about what has happened but am just relieved everything is seemingly working now.

If this becomes a recurring problem how would I resolve a problem with the permissions with the user folder if I had not used the Apple Migration Tool before?


Are you using version Apple sells? Could be an odd sandboxing problem if that’s the case.

It would be impossible to say without knowing the nature of the problem. It isn’t permissions though, since permissions are not going to spontaneously vanish after a reboot (if they did, that would be a rather serious security flaw!).


Thank you again for your response.

The problem did present itself after my Mac computer had shut down unexpectedly and my antivirus program had crashed. After starting up again I then was resolving each program I had been using and realising Scrivener was not working like it used to, presenting me with the above dialogue box after trying to start a new project.

I can say I am using every product Apple sold me so I am not sure I am just very relieved it using working now and all my projects are fine.

Sorry, I wasn’t clear, I meant to query if you’re using the version of Scrivener that Apple sells, through their Mac App Store. That one is different from the one we sell directly, because the stuff they sell must be locked down in a “sandbox”, which means it cannot open and load files out of your user folder freely any more. You have to specifically give permission for it to open something—that process is usually transparent to you in that the Open dialogue box automatically grants that permission, as does creating new files.

I mean to say, when it works properly you don’t notice it is there for routine tasks. If the sandbox architecture malfunctions for some reason however, then will immediately notice problems of being unable to load things, getting errors or crashes when you try, etc.

Sorry to hear your computer has been giving you issues in general though; hope you get that sorted out.

Hi, and thanks again for all your help so far.

No, I used the download link straight from this website and activated through this website.

I will monitor my computer a little closely from now on to see if there any other errors.

Thanks again for your help I think I will leave it here as it is working fine now and I’ll only update this thread if there are any other errors.