Beach ball every few keystrokes

Hi, I have a large file that now is frustrating to work with. Every few keystrokes (3 or 4) the beach ball appears for a few seconds. I have 3 gigs of ram available so it’s not a memory issue. I’ve turned off TimeMachine and Crashplan as well so it’s not a busy harddrive. Any suggestions are appreciated.

The main thing that can cause typing lag is the presence of a large amount of graphics in the text editor. This can either happen with one or two extremely large images, or many small ones—it’s more the total number of megabytes that are being written to the disk when you save that matters.

If you are using images, consider the Edit/Insert/Images Linked to File… menu command for inserting them, rather than embedding the entire graphic into the text file.

If that is not an option, you could try bumping up the auto-save idle timer a few seconds. It could be the default two second rest period coincides with how long you typically pause then start typing again, meaning that as you start typing Scrivener starts saving and you have to wait. If you dial that up to five or seven seconds, you should find it conflicts less often with your natural writing pattern. I wouldn’t set that too high though, because then it may never trigger reliably and you lose that safety net. The key is to find the sweet spot where you still get your work saved frequently throughout the session, but without getting in your way.

Next to that, the second most common source of typing lag is third-party utilities that are monitoring text input for one reason or another. Text expansion utilities, speech-to-text software, and spelling/grammar utilities are the types of things to consider here. If you suspect that may be the problem, an easy way to check for that is to log out of your account with the Apple menu, then log back in, holding the Shift key down as soon as you click the button or press Return. Keep the Shift key held down until you are fully logged in, and then see if the lag persists. If everything is smooth at that point, you can view your start-up items in the Users & Groups system preference pane, under “Login Items”.

Double-click on each program here to launch it. I would do this one by one until you hit a problem in Scrivener, that way you can more easily determine which is the culprit. Then you can try removing that item from the login list, and log out and back in to ensure the problem is going without that program running in the background.

Amber, thanks for the reply. The Scrivener file itself is large, but this page is only a short paragraph with some text and three photos, nothing more that maybe 6 or 7 megs total.

When inserting a linked image, can we do so from an image saved within Scrivener or does it have to be external? And if so, does this relieve the issue? I’m really trying to avoid keep files in multiple places.

Six or seven MB in a single section may be a bit large actually, probably enough to experience a pause if you try to type on top of a save. Did you experiment with the auto-save feature? I would at least try that first. It would indicate whether it is a saving problem or not. It could be something else entirely and then relocating your images would have been for naught.

If you were willing to forgo a preview in the editor you could do that. See §15.5.4 (pg. 217–20) in the user manual for using placeholder tags to reference images from the Binder. Otherwise you would need to locate the images outside of Scrivener to use the linked image feature.

I’m going to increase the time to 10 seconds and see how that works. The original photos were large, and I scaled them down to very small sizes in Scrivener, so it may make sense to shrink them outside of Scrivener first. Previews are important to me, so I will see how this goes. Thanks!

Definitely makes sense to shrink them before dropping them into Scrivener. If you change the size in Scrivener you aren’t actually editing the image, that would be a destructive action that could irrevocably damage the image if the slider was moved down too far. All that does is change the display and output target size.