Cross-Platform Compatibility

Note: To work cross-platform, you will need a separate Scrivener licence for each platform. You will also need to have Scrivener 3 installed on both your Mac and Windows computers.

The Scrivener project format is fully cross-platform compatible. There will never be a need to convert or export your project if all you wish to do is work on another computer. No conversion is necessary, and all platforms can work off of the same source file (at different times; no project should ever be opened more than once simultaneously). If you use a Mac at home and a Windows laptop on the go, you should have no problem copying the project back and forth between computers as necessary.

One important thing to note is that on the Mac a Scrivener project will appear to be a file with a ".scriv" extension, while on Windows, it will appear to be a folder with a ".scriv" extension. It is actually a folder on both systems, but the Mac's operating system hides the internal contents of the folder to keep them safe. When viewed on Windows, this 'file' is shown for what it really is: a folder. If you navigate into this project folder you will find the binder file, which is a file with a Scrivener icon and a ".scrivx" extension. This file is an index to the other parts of the project, and it is the file that is used to open the project on Windows.

To transfer projects between computers, always make sure to copy the entire
'MyProject.scriv' folder from Windows, not just the .scrivx file by itself; the entire folder is your project.

If you are planning to share a project between computers using a cloud-sync service you should read the corresponding knowledge base article. It contains valuable tips for mitigating the risks associated with allowing a third-party program detailed access to the project's internal files.

Linked Research and Images

As in most cases where one is opening a project with links to the file system, those links may break unless the path to the item is identical. When switching between platforms this can be complicated further by how paths are printed in a fundamentally different fashion. Bookmarked files in the inspector and images linked to the disk, project bookmarks and hyperlinks pointing to the files, may need to be repaired after migrating to a new system. In some cases they may continue to work however, if the relative path structure is very similar (this is in particular true of linked images when moving to a Mac).

Additionally, research linked into the binder will never work, since the underlying technology used to create links is different on each platform. The Windows version will create "shortcuts" while the Mac version will create "aliases". On each platform you will find a command in the Documents menu to repair a broken binder item link.

Fonts

When working across multiple platforms fonts can sometimes be a problem, resulting in the original font assignment being lost, and being replaced with something like Helvetica or Arial when you open the project on another platform. The problem originates with how each platform refers to fonts differently. If your font choice is changed you can select the text and apply the font again but you may want to experiment and find a font that works smoothly across the platforms that you are using. Keep in mind that Scrivener can compile using a different font to the one that is used in the Editor.

Lists

Bullet and enumeration lists in text files may not appear the same on both platforms, owing to differences in indent methods and marker styles. More importantly, in some cases lists may break when viewed on Windows. The symptoms of this include marker doubling and empty marker lines at the ends of lists. This can usually be resolved by rebuilding the list in the Windows version.

Archived Web Pages

The file format used to archive offline web pages on a Mac (.webarchive) is unreadable off of a Mac. Likewise the format used on Windows (.mht) is not available for reading on a Mac. As such, web pages archived on either platform will be unavailable to the other.

If your workflow depends upon the availability of this information wherever you go:

  • When the aesthetics and layout are important to the page: printing web pages to PDF files will be your best solution.
  • If all you wish to preserve is the content, the Documents/Convert/Web Page to Text menu command will extract only the text and turn the archive into an ordinary text item. On the Mac, this can also be established as a preference, in the Sharing: Import pane.

Working with the iOS Version

To edit your Scrivener projects on the iOS version, please follow the instructions provided in the tutorial project that comes with Scrivener for iOS. If you run into problems, we have comprehensive instructions available here:

Syncing with iOS