Can't save or export from Dorico

Hi, I lost all my 3 hours worth of work in my newly purchased Dorico, as I couldn’t save or export what I did. I got an error stating “it can’t save ZIP files”. Exporting MIDI or audio didn’t work either. I’m absolutely furious! I couldn’t leave the session open forever and finally I closed it, hoping it was saved somewhere. ( I saw somewhere - automatically saves every 5 minutes). I’m new to this. I used Sibelius before. This was my first project. If I can’t save anything, the software is USELESS ! I tried to save a few notes after, and still doesn’t save anything. Not happy at all. Had issues with no sound in the very beginning , but I fixed it watching a few tutorials. Like the writing flow, BUT… I wouldn’t do it just to kill time. I want to be able to save my work.

Well clearly tens of thousands of users can save files. Saying the software is useless shouting in capitals is not going to advance the issue or encourage others to help. We can solve this. So, have a look at Preferences, under Files. You should see a screen like this:

This will tell you where the project backup folder is. Take a look there and I am sure you will find backups.

Perhaps you could say what system and OS you are on. As to why zip files are involved, I am, unable to comprehend that.


It sounds as though there’s a permissions issue of some sort.

You haven’t said whether you’re on Windows or Mac; certainly recent versions of macOS prompt you to give permission to each new app to access the Desktop, Downloads and Documents folders. You have to say yes, otherwise macOS will prevent the application from saving.

See for instructions on how to give programs access.

I suspect this will also affect the Project Backups folder, which is within Documents/Dorico Projects by default.

As to the message about Zip files: Dorico projects are structured as compressed folders. They are zip files, albeit with a “.dorico” suffix rather than a “.zip” suffix.

I’m really sorry to hear that you’ve experienced this problem, and we’ll find a way to solve it.

Unfortunately, if you closed Dorico normally, then any auto-saved files will have been deleted, since Dorico cleans them up when you close the project. But it’s certainly worth checking the Backup Projects folder, which is by default inside the Dorico Projects folder inside your Documents folder to see if there are any files in there.

Please try following Leo’s directions to allow Dorico access to your Documents folder and then see how things stand.

What exactly are you attempting to do where you need to save from Dorico to a zip file? Dorico has its own file (.dorico) that saves your project (and backs up regularly even without manual saves, as I understand it), so I’m at a loss to how you approached this situation in the first place.

Are you actually saving a file with the .dorico file extension, or with the .zip extension?


If you must zip, do it externally. Save as the default, which has suffix .dorico.

Dorico projects are very compact in any case. My current major work, a string quartet of 300 pages, is only 3MB on disk, which is piffling.

I cant think of many, or any, programs that natively save as zip. It’s not their job.

1 Like

Well, in fact, Dorico’s project files are a bunch of files and folders all zipped up together, and then re-labelled .dorico. As are many others, including Office files.

So you don’t gain any space by zipping a Dorico project, because it’s already zipped.

Yes, but not explicitly zip. My point. And not obvious - as exemplified by the OP’s dilemma.

@Andro and @asavagecomposer Look.
If you try to save a Dorico project to a location that Dorico doesn’t have access to, such as a different user’s documents folder, this is the error message:

I can’t help thinking that I did a reasonably good job of explaining the likely problem some hours ago. The .zip thing is a red herring.


Ah. I thought OP was explicitly trying to save as zip. Not at all. Not careful enough reading on my part. Well indeed, then I’d say problem solved. OP, OK now?

I am tempted to add that its a somewhat misleading error message, even if totally accurate, mentioning zip but talking about .dorico suffix. Can easily lead to confusion. For example, I would not immesdiately think a .dorico file is just a zip file - that’s not at all obvious.

1 Like

I intended to add a fun fact into the discussion, but yes, apologies if it murked the waters.