Unrecognized file format and empty texts

I am using the latest Scrivener on both my Mac Desktop and Mac Air.
I have Scrivener for IOS running on an iPad Mini 2.
Every operating system is fully updated.
I use the default folders for Dropbox syncing.
My Mac Air .zip backups are saved in my home folder.
On two occasions I have gotten “Unrecognized file format” errors when I tried to open a project on my iPad after syncing. On both occasions, I deleted the project from the iPad and synced again. I wound up with a project that would load, but many or all of the texts were empty. I got “You deleted x files” several times during the sync. The folder structure survived. The conflict files that appeared (only a few) were likewise empty. Unplaced texts were also empty. Texts in the trash were still there, but empty. The method of fixing sync errors described elsewhere in this forum (move file out of sync folder, sync, restore and re-sync) abolished the file format error messages, but the texts disappeared.
I have restored the file from a .zip backup that was NOT on Dropbox. I am not going to use my iPad for this project until I figure out what happened, but I am worried about my other 14 projects. After this debacle happened the first time, I deleted and reinstalled my iOS Scrivener, and I went for a week without trouble. Then the “Unrecognized file format” message returned, and all the attendant grief.
The only things I have to add are: there were no editing conflicts. I was signed out of MacOS Scrivener when I tried to sync my iPad. The last edits I made on the Air included moving some texts between folders and one folder name change.
Any help appreciated.

A quick troubleshooting guide for iOS syncing can be found here:
scrivener.tenderapp.com/help/kb/ … os-syncing

A thorough Dropbox setup guide can be found here:
scrivener.tenderapp.com/help/kb/ … g-with-ios

Based on your description, I would guess that the complete project is not being transferred to the iOS device.

  • ZIP backups are useful for other reasons, but completely irrelevant here. iOS Scrivener can only open a standard, unzipped Scrivener project file.

  • If you see the project structure but not the text of individual files, this usually indicates that the master index file was transferred correctly, but not the component files containing your actual work. This can result if the synchronization step is not allowed to finish, but also if you attempt to upload or download a project manually using the Dropbox web interface. We recommend installing the Dropbox software on your Mac (both Macs in this case), which will create a new location in Finder and allow Dropbox itself to manage the upload/download process for you.

  • As you discovered, deleting a partially synchronized project is risky. Dropbox may think that the “missing” files were removed deliberately, and therefore should be removed from other instances as well. My recommendation in such a situation is to re-synchronize the project without deleting it.


As I said, the .zip backup on my Air was what I used to restore the project after the sync errors had destroyed it. I was glad to have it.

I have read through both the pages you linked. They have nothing about my particular situation, the “unrecognized file format” error coupled with blank texts within the folders.

I did not, and never have, used the Dropbox web interface. I’ve had the Dropbox app since before I got Scrivener.

How do I know if something has interrupted the sync? It’s possible that when I was syncing at the coffee shop, the wifi could have been temporarily overloaded. Otherwise, I don’t see how this could happen. I only sync when I have more then 20% power.

After the “unrecognized file format” error, re-syncing the project propagated the file with the missing texts back to Dropbox. It then spread to my other devices

I am interested in knowing what went wrong and preventing it in the future. At the moment, I have turned off automatic syncing to limit the damage of another occurance. I will no longer rely on Dropbox as a backup system - only for transferring data between devices.

You keep an eye on the project file in Finder, on your Mac, before closing it, making sure that you get the green light indicating that transfer is done. You can also check the Dropbox menu item, which indicates if there is still file transfer going on between your Mac and the Dropbox server.

This comment from Katherine refer to the syncing from your Mac to Dropbox…

This afternoon I put in four hours of work on my iPad, synced and went to my Mac Air, where I made two changes, moving a text between folders and renaming another text. WhenI finished,I synced, had to do something else for a few minutes and went back to the iPad. I got the “unrecognizable file format” error again. I confirmed that the sync was finished on the Air before I tried to open the file on the iPad . Why did this happen?

At this point I’m going to suggest you email our support address. We may need to look at the structure of the project itself, which is best done via private email.
literatureandlatte.com/suppo … tion-email


Please ignore the post.