Resetting Preferences

Many of the problems that can arise when using Mac software can be solved by resetting the preferences for the program. This is because the preference writer for the Mac can occasionally malfunction, causing the preference file to become corrupt. This can lead to general instability or even an inability to launch the software at all. Resetting preferences is considered a sensible "first step" whenever you run into issues, along with rebooting your computer to create a clean working environment.

We will provide instructions for both Scapple and Scrivener. Naturally, you need only use the instructions relevant to the software you are attempting to fix.

Preserving Your Settings (Scrivener only)

If you can load Scrivener, then open the Preferences pane from the main Scrivener application menu, and use the Manage... button along the bottom to save your settings as a preset. You will be asked to name the preset, and it will appear in this "Manage" menu in the future. If you've made a lot of changes to the software, this can save you time after a reset.

If you cannot load Scrivener, the method we will use to reset preferences will leave the option open to restore them by dragging the preference files back into the right folder (assuming resetting preferences did not fix the problem).

Locate Your Preferences Folder

Your preferences will be stored in one of two different possible locations, depending on whether you purchased the software from Apple's Mac App Store or elsewhere. You will need to use one of the following paths to get to the correct folder. If you are unsure of which version you are using, click on the main application menu and look for a "Check for Updates" command. The direct-sale version allows one to check for updates at any time, but with the Mac App Store version there will be no command.

Copy the appropriate path, you will be using it to navigate to the right folder in the next step:

  • Direct-sale version of Scrivener: ~/Library/Preferences
  • Mac App Store version (Scrivener): ~/Library/Containers/com.literatureandlatte.scrivener3/Data/Library/Preferences
  • Mac App Store version (Scapple): ~/Library/Containers/com.literatureandlatte.scapple/Data/Library/Preferences

Remove Preferences Files

  1. Before continuing, close the software.
  2. Click on the Finder icon in the Dock.

  3. Use the Go/Go to Folder... menu command and paste the path from the prior step into the text field. Click OK.

  4. Locate the relevant file for the software you need to reset:

    1. Scrivener: com.literatureandlatte.scrivener3.plist
    2. Scapple: com.literatureandlatte.scapple.plist
  5. Move the file to a temporary location, such as your Desktop. Note that the preference files names will vary depending on which version of Scrivener you resetting. If resetting preferences does not solve your problem, then you can drag these back into the Preferences folder to restore your settings.

  6. Reboot your Mac to ensure it flushes all stale caches of your preference file, and that all of the things that can break or start to slow down while you keep your system running, are reset.

  7. Now open the software.

At this point, check to see if the problem persists. If so, contact technical support and let us know that you have reset your preferences.

Restoring Settings and Recent Files

Everything will be reset to "factory defaults", and that will also mean that any working material you've had open in the past will not automatically load or be listed in the Recent Projects (or "Open Recent", in Scapple) menu. This does not mean your work is gone! You will need to load your documents using Finder, initially, and doing so will rebuild the recent documents list.

Restoring Scrivener Preferences

With Scrivener, you have the option to restore your preferences back into the software. As before, use the "Manage" button in the Preferences pane, but this time use the "Load Preferences from Preset" submenu to select the backup copy you created earlier.

It is a good idea to double-check that the problem is still gone, after doing so. Some issues can be caused by specific settings themselves. If the problem returns after restoring your preferences:

  1. Use the "Manage" button to "Save Preferences to File...", placing this file in a convenient location.
  2. Contact technical support, and attach this file to your message, explaining what issue you see when applying the settings.
  3. You will at this point need to reset your preferences again, and manually rebuild your preferences rather than using the preset. It might also be a good idea to delete the preset so that it is not accidentally used in the future.