Tropy file has disappeared

I have a large project file containing over 1000 images, with lots of tags and notes. My laptop storage is poor (MacBook Pro) and so the Tropy file regularly removes itself onto iCloud and I have to redownload. This hasn’t been a problem so far, but I have just gone to redownload the file and it’s gone missing from my Documents, where it was always stored before. I have tried searching my laptop for tpy files and for the file name with no luck. I can still see the project open on my laptop, with a padlock symbol, and when I try and locate the project file it takes me to the documents folder (but the file isn’t visible). I have exported the file I can see as a JSON.

Is there any way to save a copy of the file I have open on my laptop, or to redownload the project contents from the JSON export? I want to put it on a hard drive so this problem doesn’t happen again!

So, you have a project currently open in Tropy, but the backing file itself has disappeared? I guess that Tropy failed to save the file (because it was gone) and so switched to read-only/locked mode after that. Unfortunately, there is no way to save the current project to a different file. The reason is that the state Tropy has in memory at any one moment is not necessarily complete. However, before you do anything else, I’d export all items in JSON – in the worst case, if you can’t find the original project file, you should be able to restore almost everything from this data.

To do this, first make sure there is no list, tag, or search query currently active. That is, all items of the project are in the project list. Select any of the items and press Cmd+A on the keyboard to select all items and export them as a JSON file. Note that the JSON file will reference your using absolute paths; this means, that you can import the file into another project on this computer and all the photos should be found right a way. (There are better ways to export/backup your items if you intend to move them to a different device together with the photos).

That said, the main question is where the original file has disappeared to? Maybe you moved or renamed it inadvertently? In any case, I’d try to search for it again on your disk, in the bin, and in your iCloud storage. If you find the file, you can move it to its new location, close the project in Tropy and then manually open the project again from its new location.

Yes, I think the backing file is the one that’s disappeared. I suspect it might be my laptop/iCloud storage failing here, this laptop is definitely on its last legs and the storage is maxed out. Thanks for the advice about exporting the project – I’ve managed to do this. How can I import this data into a new Tropy project? I’ve opened up a new Tropy project window but when I try and import a folder, it won’t let me select a JSON file?

Curiously enough, this new Tropy project is visible in my Documents folder but also doesn’t appear when I do a search on my Mac files. Definitely something funny going on here, I might contact Apple support as well…

File selection differs slightly between different platforms and OS versions. But basically, if you’re in your new project and you select Import → Photos from the menu you should get a file picker. If it does not let you select the JSON files it’s probably set to photo files only. There should be a dropdown menu somewhere to change the format to ‘Tropy Items’ – possibly you have to click ‘Options’ first. As I said, this looks slightly different across different versions of macOS.

If you can’t figure it out, you can also just drag and drop the JSON file from Finder into the new project window.

This is exactly why I don’t like icloud. Once your stuff is on it, it becomes the ‘dominant’ storage place.
But. Go to Preferences > AppleID and just above that colored stripe of the memory there is a little box that says “optimize mac storage”. If you have that checked, then assume your file is probably getting too big to stay on your machine. Check the strip below it, which should show total available memory left on your iCloud account. Depending on the size of your file, that may give you some idea as to what is going on. Otherwise, it’s something else.