Using Both Windows and Mac Scrivener Version | Same Project

I currently use Scrivener for the Mac. I love it. Problem is where I work is a Windows shop and I have a Windows PC. I store my scrivener files up on DropBox. I’ve worked at other locations where I had a work mac and so I could install scrivener there and, so long as I was good about closing down a project on one before opening on another, I could work on projects while at work.
My question then is: Can the Windows version of Scrivener open Scrivener files from the Mac version and vice versa? I will gladly pay for a Windows version if that were the case. Just to be clear: I’m not looking to do any sort of one time import or anything like that. This would be actively working on a project on both platforms (i.e. Windows by day, Mac OSX by night).

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks very much in advance.

Thank you,
Jason S.

Hi Guys/Gals, (similar issue ) I just got Scrivener as a friend is a co writer on a project and uses it. He has a MAC and I have Windows… I can create files and save them BUT anything he sends won’t open, either as a zip file or a pure Scriv file sent by Drop Box or similar… Any suggestions???

I do this all the time. The formats are indeed compatible, if you are careful. Also, and this may be the answer to Anthony’s issues, you must be using version 2 of Scrivener for mac. One of the major, “under the hood” changes to Mac Scrivener in the upgrade from version 1 to version 2 was the change of the underlying file format to be compatible with the (then future) version for Windows. Version 2 automatically creates an upgraded copy of any version 1 project that you open, fyi, archiving the old one in the process.

I presently have the Windows version, but because there is so much more functionality in the Mac version, I am seriously considering also investing in the Mac version. I see a mixed review of the ability to go back and forth between the two versions on the same project. What is the official Scrivener word on the database compatibility now and in the future?

Where are you seeing this mixed review? There have been unimplemented features on the Windows side that ignored data (mostly the inspector footnotes and comments, which are now implemented). Other than that, I haven’t ever heard of any incompatibilities between Mac Scriv 2 and Win Scriv 1.

Unless Keith happens to notice this thread, I don’t think it’s going to be easy to find the official-official word, but I would bet my entire paycheck that you will be able to open and edit scrivener projects on any platform it’s programmed for in perpetuity, or until some outside force (Apple/MS/Android) does something to make compatibility impossible.

As Robert said, the Mac 2.x and Windows versions are compatible, though there are a few feature differences that can make some aspects of the project unavailable (e.g. multiple project notes–on Windows you will only see one, though all will still be saved and available when you return to the Mac). The only lossy issue I am aware of is if you use linked images inside text documents in the Mac version–Windows doesn’t support this yet and the links are lost if the document is edited on Windows. I’ve got this on the fix list, so even if Windows can’t support the linked image yet it should have a placeholder of some sort so the link isn’t lost, but you can easily avoid the issue for now by not using linked images–which is usually best avoided anyway if you’re working on the project in multiple locations, particularly cross-platform, since even if the image is in a shared location, the filepath won’t be the same on Windows and Mac and the image won’t be visible both places regardless.

The most common issue that arises when trying to share a project cross-platform via Dropbox or the like is that a sync glitch at some point will cause conflicted files or multiple copies of the .scrivx file (the yellow “project” file on Windows). When this happens, although the Mac version opens the project by ignoring the extra copies, Windows will choke on the file and won’t open the project. Removing the additional copies of the files from the project folder will resolve the issue. To prevent it (as well as possible), be sure to always allow the sync to complete after closing a project and before opening it on the second computer; I suggest going through the best practice tips here. Sync errors of course can still happen, but following those recommendations will help reduce them.

I am having the same issue. I use a PC at work and a Mac at home. I am using the latest update on my Mac. From my Mac I saved the file to my Dropbox. I downloaded it to my PC and tried to open it. The error message stated that the file I was trying to open was not a scrivener file.

Barconti - Quick check first, are you running the 1.5.3 version of Windows, and are you able to open the project by first opening Scrivener and then using File > Open (or Open Existing Projects, from the New Project Window) to access it?

I am using When the file downloaded from Drop Box it came across as a zipped folder. I unzipped the folder and the project was visible with the .scrivx extension. I opened the file using open and it opened, but without any text. This is a big breakthrough. I think it has more to do with Drop Box. Usually I can click and drag a folder out of Drop Box onto my desktop without any issues. The Scrivener folder just shows up as a .gif image.

From Problems opening Mac Scriv File on PC

Does that help?


Something else to check for is that the zip isn’t being flagged as encrypted from the Mac compression and causing you problems on Windows. If you right-click on the extracted .scriv folder to check the properties, under the General tab you should see a button for “Advanced”. If this shows the contents as encrypted, try deselecting that option. Click OK out of the advanced attributes window and click “Apply”. You should get an option then to apply the changes only to the selected file or to all the folder’s subfolders and files as well; choose that latter. Ideally, Windows will then decrypt everything and you can click OK to exit the Properties window and try opening the project in Scrivener.

I’ve just had a very tentative try at this, since I didn’t particularly want to see a year of work going down the drain in some horrible accident.

After backing up my entire project folder on the Mac I installed Scrivener on a Windows laptop and opened the project file, which showed all my previous work done on the Mac. I made a few small changes and then closed the Windows version before going to check on the Mac. Everything seemed to be carried over correctly when I opened the file on the Mac but it opened in the same place I had been previously on the Mac rather than where I had been working on Windows and I’m not quite sure if that is correct.

Recently my family have been making use of my Mac Pro for video editing and I’m losing too much valuable time writing, so I’d like to make this work via DropBox on a cross platform basis if possible. At first glance it all feels a bit strange in Windows but I find that with most apps. Fonts look so much better on a Mac.

Yeah, I’ve noticed that the Mac OS text engine does apply smoothing to the fonts. You can achieve the same effect on a Windows machine by switching to lower powered spectacles, or squinting a little.

Not sure what version of Windows you’re on, but you can make a huge improvement in fonts on XP by enabling ClearType.

Yes, the Windows and Mac versions currently need to use separate interface settings, so you’ll find that your layout and such will be remembered per platform, and you’ll occasionally have some odd text selections within the document just as a result of changing platforms. It’s not perfect, but it’s not destructive.

Works on Windows 7 too. Go to the Control Panel, then Fonts, and then Adjust Cleartype text. It’ll talk you through a few options to imporve the smoothing.

PIggy, you forgot the best option for making windows fonts look better. It is an option espoused by Mr K and Wock with vigor. It can be summed up with a single word: Jameson’s.


Thanks I went through that process and it does look better now. I’m on Windows 7 here.

Using Mac and Windows … Same Project…Different Issue

I’m working on the same project at various times with both an iMac and a Windows 8 machine, but every time I open the project on the Windows box I find in some of the text in some of the chapters the font has changed from the default font (Courier NEw) and what was on screen at last save to the MS Shell Dig 2 font… think MS UGLY! The default format fonts on both machines is set to Courier New, both installed from same source.

So, typically, before I can start work on the Win 8 box, I have to deal with the irritation of re-formatting the changed font back to the default, and if I hit each chapter during a session, I’ll probably have to go through this on each one…frustrating :cry:

This can happen even after I correct all the fonts back to Courier new in all chapters, save, close project and reopen…some chapters will, without predictability, contain text formatted with the MS Shell Dig font.

The problem does not present on the Mac.

I would not be surprised if this is a Windows OS issue, but thought I’d pose it to the forum in hopes that someone may have a suggestion as to how to ‘lock down’ the font to default so I can avoid the distracting, frustrating font correction every time I try to get some writing done.

Thanks for your assists…


I suppose that I should add in reference to my last post above, when I create a new text page on the Win 8 machine using the default and manually confirmed Courier New font, when I open that same page in the Mac the font has changed to Courier, despite the fact that both machines have installed Courier New fonts from the same source…I’d wish that fonts would be recognized across platforms, but …