Any tips for running on feeble machines?

Hi all,

I use Scrivener across my desktop and netbook. I have quite a large project… I like to have everything in the same place so that I can search it all.

But, though the desktop runs this fine, things can start to feel a bit laggy and slow on the netbook. It takes ages to open the project, though I can live with that. I leave it alone while it revs up.

However, in the right circumstances, the program is perfectly responsive even on the netbook. I’ve taken a few steps to avoid things I have noticed slow it down. I thought I’d share these, and I’d be very interested in hearing any suggestions for additional methods of increasing responsiveness, avoiding lag, etc.

(1) Do not use folders, just use files. The biggest villain for lag seems to be unwanted loading of scrivenings mode for folders. I don’t keep things in the draft folder anymore because accidentally opening a scrivenings session which included everything blew up the netbook. If folders are set to be files, though, clicking on them doesn’t load scrivenings mode.

(2) Change the autosave time. The autosave seems to make my netbook stutter slightly, meaning that text input gets slightly delayed. Setting it at 10 seconds means I no longer notice this stutter

(3) Try and avoid excessive multitasking while using scrivener. It can’t hurt to stay focussed when I’m supposed to be writing, so perhaps a laggy netbook is a blessing in disguise. I’m trying to avoid unnecessarily opening other programs, so scrivener can have the computer all to itself.

(4) Set backup to only operate upon manual save, and only save manually when I’m about to take a break. This will hopefully mean I never have to sit and stare at that slowly-creeping backup bar ever again.

I look forward to hearing any further recommendations!


Good tips! Here are a few others:

(5) Use low-resolution synopsis images, or avoid using them entirely.

(6) If possible, use low-resolution thumbnails with the Insert > Image > Image Linked to File... command when you need to insert images into the text and store the images in a location accessible via the same complete path from both machines. This isn’t always possible, but if you have the same user account name on both machines and the same path to Dropbox (or other syncing folder), you can set this up so the images load from either machine. Even if that’s not possible, the link itself is saved either way, so if you can work in the project without needing to view the images, it’s a better option than inserting high-quality images. Another option is to just use a text placeholder that you can search for and replace with the actual images when you’ve finished your draft and are ready to compile.

(7) Along the same lines, if you have a common path from both machines, you could use references more heavily to avoid importing media files that will bloat the project backups. Remember that supported files like images and PDFs can still be opened in the editor even when they’re only references.

Thanks for these. I actually stopped even considering bringing images into Scrivener after the first time I tried. They were full-resolution images, and pretty much totally froze everything whenever I tried to do anything with them… it didn’t really occur to me that there might be alternatives. Your comments pointed me to the manual, which explains that importing full-res images is indeed likely to mess things up.

I’ll experiment with the ‘image linked to file’ option, or perhaps just with creating a much lower-res version of an image as a temporary thing.