Errors Opening Projects Stored on Dropbox

If you encounter an error stating that some of the project's contents are not accessible, have "zero length data", or that the project "seems to be of an older format, but no binder.scrivproj file could be found inside it", then you may need to adjust your Dropbox sync settings so that your project is stored locally within your Dropbox folder rather than in online storage. (If you are not using Dropbox and you are still receiving these errors, please contact support).

Follow the steps below to resolve this issue. Note that the screenshots were taken on a Mac, but the instructions are the same for both Mac and Windows.

  1. Open up Finder (Mac) or File Explorer (Windows) and select your Dropbox folder in the left-hand sidebar.

  2. Right-click on the folder where your Scrivener projects are stored and select Make available offline in the list of Dropbox services near the bottom of the menu. That will force Dropbox to download all of the contents of that folder to your computer’s local storage.

    The Finder's contextual menu with the Dropbox option "Make available offline" circled

  3. Once Dropbox has finished downloading your folder and its contents to local storage, you should see a green badge on the folder and on any projects it contains. You should now be able to open the project without issues.

    Green badge on local Dropbox folder

To prevent this in future, we would recommend reviewing your Dropbox settings to confirm whether new files are stored automatically for online-only storage or are kept locally on your computer. To do this, go to the Dropbox icon in your Mac's menu bar or your PC’s taskbar, select your user photo and then select Preferences.

Preferences in the Dropbox user menu

In the pop-up window that opens, select the Sync tab and review your settings in the New files default dropdown menu.

Settings under the Sync tab of Dropbox's Preferences

You can also click the Select Folders button and choose which folders are kept in local storage if you want to keep only a few items locally.

Panel that opens upon clicking the Select Folders button in Dropbox's sync preferences