Trying to open scriv file emailed to me


A friend emailed me a scrivener file. I have scrivener downloaded and use it for my own work, but when I try to open the file she sent, I get this message—“The project package ‘Desktop’ has no file extension. Scrivener for OS X requires that the project package has the .scriv file extension. In order to open this project, Scrivener will add this file extension to the project now. (This will not affect your ability to open the project on other platforms, where the .scriv package will still appear as a regular folder.) Continue?” When I press “continue,” I get this message — “The file system would not allow Scrivener to add the .scriv file extension to the project package, so the project cannot be opened. Please check your permissions.”

I checked the file and I do have read and write permissions. What else do I need to do to be able to open the file?



A Scrivener project is composed of many files and sub-folders, so when you write “A friend emailed me a scrivener file.” it leads me to believe that your friend did not send you the entire project.

The simplest way to be sure the entire project is sent is to do the following:

  1. From inside Scrivener, with the project open, your friend should do File > Backup > Back Up To. Be sure that Backup as zip file is checked and be sure to note the Location. This will save the project as a zip file to the specified Location.
  2. Your friend should email the zip file to you.
  3. You should extract the contents of the zip file.
  4. Either from Windows Explorer or from inside Scrivener (File > Open) I would navigate to the unzipped Scrivener Project file (.scrivx) and double-click to open the project. Not 100% sure how this is done on the Mac.

I have Scrivener for Windows, so the menu options and navigation process may read slightly different from above, but the principles should be the same.

Hope that helps,

Thanks, Jim. That may be what happened. I’m not sure how she sent it — I’ve emailed her to ask. She is out of town, away from her computer and so cannot send the file again—she was hoping to have me open the file, and copy and paste something from it into an email for her. Any ideas?

If she didn’t follow the process above, there is no telling what parts of the project she actually sent you.

But if you don’t have a .scrivx file, it is safe to say you won’t be able to open what she sent you via Scrivener.

Appendix F in the manual describes the folders and files used in a Scrivener project. The actual .rtf files that contain the text/writing for the project are stored in folder Files > Docs. You can open those files with a text editor to try to find the text in question.

If she didn’t send you folder Files > Docs, you are out of luck until she returns, as she didn’t send you anything usable.

That’s the weird thing—it is a scrivx file. I’m not sure why it says it needs to add the extension because it is already there.

A .scrivx file in isolation is not useful, as it does not contain the actual writing. You need the other folders and files as listed in Appendix F.

On a Mac the extension is .scriv and it is a folder in Windows and a"package" on a Mac.

I have a mac and so does my friend. Not sure I understand how/whether that changes things.

If she mailed you a .scrivx file she must have opened the package and copied that specific file.

Do you both have the latest version of Scrivener, or at least the same version?

If you look at the error message you got you can see that it talks about a ‘package’, not a file. All Scriv projects are packages. They look like a file with the extension .scriv in Finder but are in reality a folder, but shown as a ‘file’ because the user is not supposed to touch the individual files in the package.