Windows version [1905013] is shortening my life; need help

I am brand new to Scrivener and have been playing with it in a test project on my iPad Pro as well as on my iPad Mini. Both beautifully sync and work well as I move back and forth between devices. However, as I am trying to figure out the more feature-rich Windows version, I seem to be breaking projects and am close to leaving this software. Clearly I am very frustrated.

On my iPad, I enjoy Scrivener. I love how I see a list of my projects under “Dropbox” and can click on one to move into that environment to get to work - very intuitive. In Windows, however, after an hour of a relentlessly furrowed brow, I am now on my second shot of whiskey - and by shot, I mean I am drinking out of a coffee mug. Call me stupid but I struggled to figure out that I had to manually sync an individual project that I created on my iPad to bring them into my Surface Pro just so I could see it. That took me time to figure out, and it took me time to figure out where the hell the project was in Dropbox. Then it took me time to figure out that I have to directly pull projects file-by-file from Dropbox to live in Scrivener as a projects.

However, I am now realizing that I have mistakenly imported my iPad project into the Windows test project (of whatever the project name is that houses the tutorial when you open Scrivener for the very first time). While I was happy to discover how to sync properly (or I thought I did since I could see my project), I felt too lost in the Windows environment so I returned to my iPad, if at least to lower my blood pressure.

When I tapped on my project on my iPad, the system informed me that the files are not in a format that cannot be opened on mobile devices:

The .scriv project is of an older format that cannot be opened on mobile devices. Please update it in the latest version of Scrivener for Mac or Windows. Please ensure that the project has been fully uploaded fro mother devices and then try syncing with Dropbox again.

Why does this have to be so complicated? When I purchased the Windows version, I was hoping I could simply log into Dropbox and have it sync automatically, as it does in iPad OS. Instead, I am left with whiskey poisoning my organs and probably gastrointestinal disease from pure frustration. I am going to abandon Scrivener in Windows if it’s going to be this difficult. I broke my test project and shudder to think what I would have felt had I destroyed my real work.

The only thing I did in Windows is import the project, and then while I was playing around with features, I ungrouped it then dragged the folders back into the main project folder since “Undo” didn’t reverse the ungrouping feature. I guess in one of those two steps, I broke the project? That is terrifying.

Can someone help me here? What in the name of Hades am I doing wrong? How do I get my work to sync into Windows as automatically as it does between my iPads? How do I get to a list of projects in Scrivener for Windows so I can escape this test project prison? There’s no button for that and I don’t see how I can go “Back” one more level to see what projects I’ve got synced in Windows. How do I not take a running start and absolutely “field goal” my neighbors’ newborn right into their second storey window due to my Scrivener frustration? Anyone?

[Sips whiskey]

[Stares at computer screen]

[Opens Netflix to forget]

It sounds as if you have things set up wrong in your Win machine.

Have you downloaded and installed the Dropbox app for Win?

Once you have, set it up to ensure it keeps files on the computer - keeping them only on the cloud is a recipe for disaster.

Dropbox for Win and Mac automatically synchronises. The project will be in the same folder name you have set up for iOS.

If you follow the L&L guide for synchronizing via Dropbox it is really a simple and painless process. Just make sure it is closed and synced on one device before you open it on another.


Thank you for your response. I do have Dropbox set to keep files on the computer and how you describe the software syncing is what I expected. Unfortunately, that’s not what’s happening. The good news is that it’s not just me. The moment my Surface Pro got involved, the project became unreadable. Apparently Windows changed the type of Scrivener file that was in my Dropbox folder. Have you heard of this before? For now, I am opting not to touch my Windows version and stick to iPad only - which is unfortunate because I feel that I am losing a lot of the software’s power.

There is no single Scrivener “file” (singular). It is a folder holding lots of subfolders and files. If those files and folders not there (not virtually but really), suggests Dropbox not working or the files are “online”.

What was it named on your desktop, compared to what you now see it on your Surface pro?

Can you please link to where others have reported this problem. That will certainly help those who can debug, help you. Thanks.

Changed the type of file. Sounds a bit like the Win file/folder issue.

On the Apple world, the project folder is what the user sees.

Win has no equivalent, so where in Apple world you just select the project folder, in Windows world you have to open the project folder.

This from my book Scrivener 3 For Windows.

'To avoid the possibility of error, always open recent projects by launching Scrivener and selecting File > Recent Projects, then your project if it is displayed in the list.

If it is not in your recent list or if you wish to open from File Explorer take note of the following process:

1. Locate and click on the project (example Novel Test.sciv) in File Explorer. The contents of the folder will be displayed.

2. The .scrivx file is the ONLY file you should open in this folder.

3. Do NOT touch, open, move, save to or delete any files within these folders!

Double-Clicking on the file will open it in Scrivener, while a right-click will display a pop-up menu. Select Open or Open With then choose Scrivener.


A. Do not open other folders and files within the .scriv folder.

B. Do not save another Scrivener project into this folder.

C. Do not save or copy anything else into the .scriv folder.

Scrivener Files 1

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Thank you for your help. I ended up deleting my initial project and after spending some time this morning trying to get all the settings as I want them, I just restarted my work. I created the work in Windows and everything looks good so far on my other devices. I really want to get away from Word and Docs so I’m hoping this project goes smoothly. Thanks again!