Composition Mode Screen Flicker with External 4K Monitor

Hi –

I have a Retina MacBook Pro 15" (2015) plugged into a 21" 4K monitor (Dell), full resolution via the mini display port, Scrivener v2.8. In composition mode (i.e. fullscreen distraction free), whenever I type a space, solid black rectangular chunks flicker on the “paper” part of the screen. I can’t capture it in a screenshot, as it is momentary. It is 100% reproducible when running on my external monitor. In laptop mode, there is no flicker at all. I have tried disabling things like Flux to no avail. I have run Text Edit in fullscreen (albeit not the same kind as Scrivener) and it is totally fine. I haven’t seen it in anything except Scrivener.

Any help would be appreciated!

The flickering has stopped for reasons unknown and all is working as it should. Cue the Twilight Zone theme . . .

Can you make it appear/disappear by turning Typewriter Scrolling on/off?

It sounds like a screen redraw artifact, and Typewriter Scrolling increases the likelihood that Scrivener will need to redraw the screen.


I’m having the same issue with the regular MacBook Pro monitor on the secondary user on this machine (but oddly not the first user). I can’t find any settings differences between the two users. (I use one user for distraction-free writing and the main user is just my everyday computer stuff)

Typewriter Scrolling being on or off does not seem to affect the issue. I’ve sent in a support request with a screen capture video of the issue happening, and I agree that it looks like some sort of weird screen redraw issue.

I have the same flickering problem and am wondering if there was a resolution on the support ticket for this, or how I can find out (I’m new to the Scrivener forum).

My Setup: Scrivener, Mac OS X Sierra, LG 4k monitor running at 1920x1080.

The Problem: The composition portion of Scrivener flickers after a space is typed, just as described in the original post on this thread. This does not happen after every space, but probably about 1/3 of the time, which means a flicker after about every third word typed. It’s often enough to be pure fatigue on the eyes and overly distracting while typing. If I run the monitor in low resolution I do not see the flickering, but my eyes cannot work in that resolution (too fuzzy). Scrivener is the only program I’ve noticed with flickering, and the flickering is isolated to the composition portion of the screen within Scrivener (not the whole monitor screen, and not even all of the Scrivener window, only in the composition portion of the Scrivener window). The monitor is fine (and it’s only about a month old). Also I should mention I tried toggling typewriter scrolling On/Off but the flickering happened regardless of the setting.

Does anyone know of developments or work-around for this flickering issue?

I wonder what your Composition mode cursor settings are and if tweaking them makes a difference to what you are seeing. Are you set for block cursor in composition mode or I-beam? Flashing or non-flashing? By way of information gathering (and possibly a work-around), I would try changing up these settings to see if the symptom goes away. There was also the suggestion that typewriter scrolling might conceivably be a factor (though it does not sound like this was an established thing). Do you have that switched on?

Thanks for the ideas! Unfortunately, changing the cursor settings did not help. It was a good idea. Also I previously tried toggling the typewriter scrolling setting and that didn’t help either. I’m up for continuing to experiment with any configuration setting combination that may help but am starting to suspect a bigger problem.

New details since my previous post…
If I enter full screen composition mode (button on the top menu bar) the composition pane flashes on and off. I don’t even have to type anything for the problem to occur in full screen composition mode. The composition pane just flashes on and off. Text is visible but the flickering is dramatic, not subtle. Like a strobe light – that’s the level of disruption happening in full screen composition mode. Again the monitor works fine in other cases and is new, and the flickering is confined to only the composition pane of Scrivener and does not, for example, affect the binder pane or the inspector pane if those are open. I’m starting to suspect Scrivener is simply not able to handle high resolution screens, at least in some cases like my configuration (mac Sierra with LG 4k at 1920x1080).

Update: Problem solved (at least temporarily).

I confirmed that I have the latest drivers for the monitor, so this was not the issue. I tried using every display resolution setting available on my mac yet the problem persisted. I also confirmed that no other programs on my computer experienced the same problem (it’s only Scrivener).

The problem was solved by disconnecting the external monitor and running Scrivener on the MacBook purely as a laptop (i.e. using only the laptop screen). I then closed Scrivener, put the laptop to sleep, reconnected the external monitor and opened Scrivener on the larger screen without any flickering or problems. I don’t know how long this will last, or what caused the problem in the first place, but it seems that this simple disconnect/reconnect solved the issue. I’m just posting this for anyone who found their way to this thread because of the same problem I experienced.

Glad you’ve solved the problem. However, to my simple mind, there are a couple of things that haven’t been suggested and which you might look at if it happens again.

One is magnification. There have been posts in the past with screen redrawing problems which turned out to be connected to magnification settings. You say you’re using a 4K monitor set to 1920 x 1080; for years I’ve been using Scrivener on a 17" MBP with a screen of that resolution with no problem, and of course retina screens on newer MBPs have even higher resolutions.

Another point is that Scrivener 2 is 32bit; v. 3 when it is finally launched will be 64bit we understand. So, perhaps the other apps you tried were all 64bit; could that have made the difference?

In combination with those, I wonder if it may simply have been that the connection to the monitor was not secure enough, which for some reason was only impacting Scrivener, and by disconnecting and reconnecting the connection was made good.