What Caused This Scary Thing?

This is probably due to my lack of experience with Macs.

I was working in Scrivener, and did a drag and drop approximately shown by the arrow in this figure:

IIRC, I was attempt to move the targets dialog.

What happened was this:

I heard the “Boing” noise that signals a file was moved, and my project appeared on the desktop. That is, near where I ended the drag, the file “Conclusive Evidence.scriv” was shown.

After backing up, I closed the project. When I opened it the project file from the usual place, it opened an earlier version. When I opened the file on the desktop, it opened the current version.

I moved the file back to where it was, and I don’t think I lost any work.

Can someone tell me what happened?!

Thank you.

I wasn’t able to duplicate this myself, so I’m not sure exactly what happened. But my guess would be that you missed your target and inadvertently saved a copy of the project to the Desktop. Making a backup and then closing Scrivener to sort things out was the right decision. It’s unlikely that you lost anything, as the ‘Save As’ command creates a complete copy of the project.


You (or the system being laggy) might have clicked on the Project Targets icon in its header bar, when dragging. Icons in Mac header bars act as proxies to the file on the disk. Dragging an icon out of the title bar and onto the Desktop would move the file to that location. Doing so with Option held down would copy it (which sounds a bit more like what you experienced, in that you ended up with two copies, one older than the other).

As an aside, moving or renaming a project on a modern Mac is rarely of any consequence. The system will update any software that has the resource open, so Scrivener will move its active session to the new location or project name automatically (it’s largely unaware of the situation).

Probably not something you want to do intentionally on a frequent basis, but in theory it should be safe if it happens on accident. I’ve never seen it malfunction since they added this capability.

Ah, yes. Thanks. I tried that with a test project and can confirm that that is exactly what happened. I didn’t have the option button down, so I’m not sure about seeing the older project (older by a few hours), but I’ll know to be more careful when dragging that window.

I’d suggest you consider making that window work like other modeless dialogs (I don’t know the Mac terminology). It works in ways that are inconvenient and inappropriate. For example, Cmd-click on the title bar gives this:

How is that expected or useful? And there’s this: Window Sizing Behavior When Project Targets Window Showing

And it remains in view when Scriv is hidden (undesirable) and it is hidden when another window has focus (undesirable).

Just my two cents.

That is how the title bar works on a Mac, when viewing a document title. The menu you are looking at is a path list, you can thus locate open documents if you aren’t sure where they are saved, by selecting its parent folder (“CE” in this case).

The title is needed here. Multiple projects can have their own targets up on the screen at once. It’s not like the Styles pane where you can only have one of them, and it tracks whichever project is active.

The same arguments could be made for the Find/Replace dialog.

I suggest that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. I can’t imagine anyone saying, “It would be great if I could drag the Targets dialog and have it move the entire project to a new folder!”

I don’t think Find/Replace really needs to be on the screen all the time; it’s easy to open with a well-known shortcut then you can close it to get it out of the way. But people leave Project Targets up because it’s not easy to find/open and they do want to see it pretty constantly (and maybe they don’t know about the word counts and bars in the Quick Search field, like I didn’t before the last time I complained about targets not being dockable).

Sorry, I don’t follow, the Find panel works more like Styles does. There is only one of them and it acts upon the active text field. Seeing as how this is how title bars work universally, if it was a common problem I’m sure Apple would have fixed it many years ago.

My point was only that the Find/Replace dialog doesn’t give the user the ability to drag the entire project to a new place nor does it give access to Finder folders, so why are those capabilities considered valuable in the Targets dialog.

It’s valuable for the Targets dialog to identify the project that it belongs to, as there can be more than one of them open at once. But once you attach the dialog to a specific project, the ability to drag the project comes along for the ride.


You can label the dialog without adding the drag feature. Just put “Progress on Project Name” at the top.