Disabling Snapshots Entirely

How do I go about disabling the “snapshot” feature within Scrivener 3? I went from a 20gig file to a 60gig file within two days after some heavy work on my WIP. I suspect it’s due to snapshots, as I did a lot of manual saving during that time. It’s the only thing that I can think of that would cause the enormous expansion in size in such a short period of time, as most of what I was doing was adding folders, text, and small sized (kb in size) icons in the synopsis and notes section for labeling purposes. I have went through the settings and I can’t seem to find the option for disabling snapshots. Too, I have also deleted all accumulated snapshots, but it hasn’t reduced the size at all. I just don’t know what to do. As such I have started a new file and I am manually putting things back together, which is going to take months of work.

Have you emptied Scriveners internal Trash?

Although you can no more disable the snapshot feature than you can full screen, there may be certain optional features you added that are generating snapshots automatically. By default the feature is nearly entirely something you have to use yourself in order for anything to happen, like duplicating a document would be.

The two main options that might be generating snapshots are:

  • General: Saving: Take snapshot of changed text…
  • Sharing: Sync: Take snapshots before updating documents

There is also an option in each project’s File ▸ Sync ▸ with External Folder… settings sheet. Of course if don’t use that feature, it is irrelevant.

How did you delete the snapshots? The best way is to use the Documents ▸ Snapshots ▸ Show Snapshot Manager menu command. You can bulk delete from there, and also run searches, like finding all older than one week, and then deleting them.

I do have to wonder if what you’re reporting is really a problem with snapshots though. While in theory I suppose one could triple the size of their project in two days, if they were doing widespread edits that impacted almost everything in the project—it’s the scale that has me wondering what is going on. If you were mainly editing text, then a forty gigabyte bloat doesn’t seem right. Just to put that into perspective, 100 pages of simply formatted text in Scrivener should be around 500kb.

So you’re saying you edited four million pages of content in two days? Kudos, if so!

20 gigabytes for a project is huge. By comparison, I have a project made up almost entirely of small images. Over 1000 of them. The whole project weighs in at 40 megabytes. That’s 0.04 gigabytes. I can see how compulsively creating snapshots of documents (hitting CMD-s frequently as you write/edit) that have huge, high-resolution images in them would balloon your project to be very large, but I’m floored that you have one that’s 20 gigabytes.

After deleting all of your snapshots, and emptying the project’s trash folder for good measure, the only explanation I can think of for your project to be on the scale of gigabytes is that you have huge PDFs, high-resolution images, videos,audio files… Do you have media files in your project? How many? Can you “open in external editor” to see typical file sizes? That will probably lead you to find what’s taking up such a vast amount of disk space.

As noted, that kind of expansion probably isn’t due to snapshots.

I once helped someone who had accidentally imported their entire photo library into a project. That’s more the sort of thing I’d be looking for here.

One thing you might do is use Finder to look at the guts of the project: with Scrivener closed, locate the project in Finder, right-click, and select the option to Show Package Contents. Browse around looking for anything that seems especially large, and especially any data files that are not in the Files/Data subfolder.


For anyone happy in terminal (or similar – I know, I know), the following command might help after navigating to the Scrivener project file:

du -s * |  sort -rh

The output looks like this:

3.0M Files 272K Settings 240K project.scrivx 228K QuickLook 0B Snapshots 0B Icons

Yeah, I do that several times a day, by habit.

I don’t know what it is at this point. All I know is that all of the editing and shuffling around I’ve done has massively increased my WIP size. The file is almost unworkable now, as every time I go to make a change, I get the multi-colored pinwheel of death for fifteen minutes or more. I KNOW that the file shouldn’t be this big. Hell, my norm at 20gig is pushing it. I just don’t know what I can do other than start a new file and manually retype and reorganized everything. heavy sigh

That is what I am in the process of doing now as I have started a new file and I am migrating all text and references into the new file and I am checking the size of each thing before I transfer it. This is going to take months.

Why not simple check the content of the project package? Reveal content and then go through some of the files to find the big chunkc causing this.
You could also download an app that does this for you, that shows the size of subfolders etc.

Here’s a screenshot of the “Show Package Contents”.

I don’t understand what you’re asking me to do here…

I posted a screenshot of the project package so that you can see that nothing is making any sense.

Everything is making sense.
When you’ve revealed the package content, simply browse down into the Data folder and its subfolders to see what you find, if there are something especially large.

I’ve expanded the “Data folder”, there’s nothing there.

The Data folder contains all your Binder documents…

Well, the 41 MB .scrivx file and the GB search index indicate that something was there, but the empty Data folder shows that it’s not there any more.

Is this project on a cloud drive, or just local?

Does it open successfully?


It is on my internal Macbook Pro drive, it opens up successfully each and every time I access it. In fact, I am working with the file right now and there are A LOT of text files in it, as this project is five-years-old.

When I want to know what’s eating space on my Mac I use Disk Inventory X. You can specify a Scrivener project and it then shows the content as both graphics and a file tree, as shown. Using this app it should be fairly easy to find what’s using so much space.

In this case it’s a small project and to see what that big file is I just click on the graphics and the file is highlighted in the file list.

This program is really good, and it will be of help to me with several other issues I’ve been dealing with. Thank you for suggesting it.

So, the end result is this.

RTF files of almost 20gig.
PDFs of almost 20gig.
TIFF photos of 17gig,

So, I can take care of all of the RTFs by finishing the integration into Scrivener itself, so that will do away with almost 20gig by itself. I used to do all of my writing via TextEdit, before I got Scrivener.

If I convert the TIFFs into PNG that will reduce the size of this issue.

The PDFs are going to go either in the trash after I take everything I need from them, and if I really need to keep them they are going to be placed inside Curio 13.

Thank you everyone!

I’ll let you know how much reduction takes place after I’ve reintegrated everything and converted the photos!