Installing Scrivener or Scapple for macOS

Note: For the sake of concision, we use the term "Scrivener" throughout this article, but note that these instructions apply equally to the web store version of Scapple for macOS.

If you have purchased Scrivener from the Mac App Store, please refer to the instructions for installing the MAS version. This article pertains to installing the direct download version of Scrivener or Scapple from our web store.

  1. Download the appropriate software from our Scrivener or Scapple download page. Note that macOS 10.13 or newer is required to run Scrivener 3.3.1+, and macOS 10.15 or newer for Scapple 1.4.1+. If you are running an older operating system, please see our Legacy Downloads page for guidance on which version of the software to download.

  2. The file you will be downloading is entitled "Scrivener.dmg"/"Scapple.dmg".

    The DMG file is a Disk Image file (a virtual disk) containing the program -- it is not the program itself. Depending on your browser settings, the disk image file may open automatically once it finishes downloading. Otherwise, click on it in your browser's downloads bar as pictured above, or double-click on the .dmg file in the folder to which you downloaded it (typically this will be your Downloads folder).

  3. A licence agreement window like the one pictured below will open. Once you have read through the agreement and checked that you aren’t signing away your first-born, click "Agree".

  4. A window will appear with two icons on a decorative background. Drag the Scrivener icon from the left side and drop it into your Applications folder icon on the right side:

    You may also, if you prefer, drag the icon to your personal Applications folder rather than the system's Application folder. This can be a useful option when you do not have administrative access to the machine.

  5. Because it is a disk image, an icon will also appear in the “Locations” section of the sidebar in the Finder. Once you've completed step 4, you can click on the eject button next to the Scrivener disk image icon.

  6. Close the disk image window (mentioned in step 4) and launch Scrivener directly from your Applications folder. If you wish to have Scrivener in the Dock, just drag Scrivener from your Applications folder to the Dock. Do not drag Scrivener directly from the disk image window into the Dock -- you must drag it into the Applications folder first and then from the Applications folder into the Dock. This will ensure that the icon in the Dock points to the copy of Scrivener in your Applications directory, and not on the disk image.

  7. If this is the first time you have launched Scrivener, you will be informed that it is the trial version and that it will expire after 30 days. If you wish to use the trial, just click "OK". If you have purchased a licence, you can click on the “Enter License...” button and enter your email address and licence code (alternatively, when Scrivener is running, you can go to Scrivener ▸ Enter License...). This will unlock Scrivener so that it becomes the full, unlimited version.

If you have previously registered Scrivener on this Mac user account then you will not see the trial version message. Scrivener will simply continue to run unlocked, as it did when it was installed last.

Happy writing!