2 Qs, related?: File Size & Synchronizing search strings

Good morning.

More than once a week, when I open my scrivener document, I have to wait a long while for it to “synchronize search strings” (something like 20 minutes, I know this because of how many songs are cycled through in my music player). It always successfully opens up, but I want to know if this is normal or if there might be something amiss.

So, before writing a question about that, I decided to search the forum to see if it’s been asked before and I came across a situation where a person had a similar situation and then was asked by KB to send in a zip of OP’s document. The OP couldn’t because his document was something like 20 or 30MB, which other posters thought was really large. Is it? My zipped scrivener document is 996MB. Yes, almost a gig. Yes, it’s my dissertation research (some audio files, a few photographs, dozens of imported web page, and lots and lots of middling text written by me).

As mentioned, I’m not having any problems, just a concern that everything is working okay. Also, do other people have scrivener documents that are that large? Am I doing something wrong?


That is quite a large file, but it shouldn’t cause any problems (though I would recommend backing up regularly, as with any large file you work on regularly). The “synchronise search strings” message appears when you open a project that hasn’t been closed properly. Essentially, in order for Scrivener’s search or Spotlight to be able to search a project, Scrivener maintains a plain text representation of all the text in a single file. This means that a search never has to open individual files from inside the project - which could be slow, and difficult for Spotlight - and can instead locate everything in the plain text representation. However, as you can imagine, in large projects, this plain text presentation can get large-ish, which would slow down the auto-save feature. So, as it’s not crucial to the integrity of the project and can be rebuilt easily enough, it only gets saved upon project close and at certain other junctures. So if the project doesn’t get closed properly, the search file won’t be up to date, and gets rebuilt when the project is opened again.

So the question is, what is causing this project not to close properly? Are you shutting down the computer without quitting Scrivener (though that should still close Scrivener…)? Are you saving to an external drive, or moving a copy of the project somewhere while it is still open and then opening the copy?

All the best,