Resetting Scrivener 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.

Preserving Your Settings

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 Scrivener preferences will be stored in one of two different possible locations, depending on whether you purchased Scrivener 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, load the "App Store" program and click on the "Purchases" tab. If you see an "OPEN" button beside Scrivener in this list, then you are using the App Store version. If you see an "INSTALL" button, then you are using the direct-sale version, even though you purchased from Apple at some point in the past. You will not see Scrivener in this list otherwise.

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: ~/Library/Containers/com.literatureandlatte.scrivener3/Data/Library/Preferences

Remove Preferences Files

  1. Before continuing, close Scrivener.
  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 following files:
* com.literatureandlatte.scrivener3.plist
* com.literatureandlatte.scrivener3.LSSharedFileList.plist
  1. Move these files 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. If you cannot find the second file, that is okay, it will not exist on every system.
  2. Now restart Scrivener.

Everything will be reset to "factory defaults", and that will also mean that any working projects you've had open in the past will not automatically load or be listed in the Recent Projects menu. This does not mean your projects are gone. You will need to load your projects using Finder, initially, and then the software will go back to conveniently keeping things persistent for you (if that is what you prefer).