I am currently dealing with a problem that involves extreme lag (“beach balling”) on macOS Catalina in Scrivener 3.
I am working on a book of roughly 350.000 characters split into ca. 255 individual chapter documents within a 70MB Scrivener file. I have always had the issue that Scrivener would lag quite a bit whenever accessed a chapter text within the file, e.g. ca. 2-3 seconds. In the latest Scrivener version, this lag has become extreme. Whenever I access a text within the file, I experience lags of ca. 8-10 seconds during which I see the Mac beach ball but can’t do anything. After that, I can work normally – until I leave the chapter again.
I have not been able to pinpoint the root of the problem. Could anyone help me with this?
Without more information it’s impossible to guess what’s happening.
Is your project stored only on your HD or do you use any kind of cloud storage?
Are you manually saving every now and then, using cmd-S, like when you change document in the Editor?
Is each chapter one single document or how is your project structured?
@Katherine, it does not seem to be related to the save interval. It was very short, but the beach balling happened at other, very specific instances when no saving was going on.
I seem to have stumbled over a partial solution by accident: each of the chapters (ca. 50.000 ch) contained 2-3 snapshots of the full earlier chapter versions including footnotes. Apparently, this is too much for Scrivener to handle. After removing these, the chapters do not beach ball anymore when they are reloaded after switching out and back in. However, they do still beach ball on first open. Maybe this behaviour is to be expected at chapters this size?
@Mark, in what way is an “inspector footnote” different from a regular one? If you mean “not displayed inline but in the sidebar”, yes, I have plenty of them (>75-100 in each chapter) – it’s a scientific publication.
Yes, footnotes and comments in the inspector require much more processing and screen-drawing than inline footnotes and annotations; they are each a separate RTF file on disk with the necessary plumbing to display them in the inspector with links to the appropriate points in the editor. Inline footnotes and comments are just a stretch of text in the main file with appropriate delimiters which are resolved at compile time.
A chapter with 75–100 footnotes is indeed going to slow things down. I suppose there are two solutions:
Where possible split your chapters into many smaller documents with only a few footnotes in each and work on them in single document rather thab “Scrivenings” mode;
When you have to work in a long document try temporarily converting them to inline footnotes and back later as necessary—“Edit > Transformations > Convert …” allows you to do that.
Otherwise, we’ll have to wait to see if KB can find a solution. Note, there’s a similar problem with the windows version too.
People adopt very different working methods. My method of working in Scrivener was to have each individual paragraph as a separate document, with each chapter as a folder. I had an 85,000 word thesis with a lot of footnotes in the inspector and never noticed a slowdown (though that was in version 2 of the program). At times I have even worked with documents comprised of only a single sentence. Splitting up long texts is one of the massive advantages of Scrivener, in my view, so I exploit it to the maximum.
An aside from a former English teacher: normal usage of the word “scientific” in English tends to be understood as referring to physics, chemistry or biology. It once had a wider meaning, but that faded away some time in the 19th century, I believe.
I have to say my experience is very different. I have just finished an academic book that, when compiled, is 87,269 words (115,000+ when footnotes are included),with c. 600 footnotes and totals 575,000 characters. I get a brief 5-10 second pause when loading the whole thing in Scrivenings mode, with footnotes in the inspector, but that’s the only slow down I ever experience.
Too granular for me! But it’s a good point. If you have very long docs, try splitting them up. I preferred to write in larger chunks, splitting as needed and then moving text around. for some reason I then often merge documents once I’m certain of the order. Just a habit, no particular rhyme or reason.
I’d suggest trouble shooting at a more basic level first – save, back up and then turn your computer off and then on again. If that doesn’t work, make sure that some random images or bloated PDF hasn’t crept into your project in some place.