How I trimmed a Scrivener project from 4.75 GB to 2.48 GB without losing even a comma

I have mentioned before, in this forum, the ’bloated’ project files I encountered while adding to my research projects.

To make this post short… so what I discovered was that over the last 8 years, the side effect of the increased sensors in cameras not just gave better picture quality but much larger filesizes. So even if you see a picture on the screen the size of a stamp it may still occupy 40-50 MB on your disk.

One way to locate such documents in your project is to use Finder and select ”Show content of package… search for content.rtf… sort descending… and then correct the corresponding document in scrivener (by manually reducing the photo in a photo-editor… replacing the original photo with the new one!!!).

Too cumbersome really, so over the past few years I have come up with tools to trim, using just a few clicks activating some powerful ”KM Macro’s”. I run these tools on every newly captured photo/illustration!

And… to get the full picture (pun intended) of the effect of these tools, I have checked and reduced every single document in my ’live 2023 project’, some 1.540 documents, where the result is as mentioned above, a reduction close to 50% in project filesize, and every photo/illustration reduced to about 500 points in width, which fits nicely inside the margins of my document… and the visual quality is maintained!

For those interested, I’ll gladly share the details of my approach, just reply here.

The tool I use is ”Keyboard Maestro” and I highly recommend it for any automation jobs you want to run on your Mac. The ”KM user-forum” is super, with lots of friendly suggestions to the question you may ask in the Forum.



You could also just not store those images inside Scrivener documents, get 100% reduction in size and lose zero quality (those 500 points images will bite you in the ass later).


That very much depends on your intended output format.

It’s important to remember that if you reduce the image size in this way, the extra information is gone forever (at least in that copy). There’s no way to get it back if you later discover that a different format requires more resolution.

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I agree, but in my case it is fine to “reduce the technical quality”. Think Cookbook… If I spot an interesting recepy for a cake, I might just print it out from the webpage, tape the print over the stove and make the cake… :slight_smile: , there will be no difference, for my eyes, if I print the ‘reduced’ picture out and put that over the stove.
This works fine for 99% of the articles i find.

IF the visual content is high quality like nature shots or very detailed diagrams, I use “Copy to other Project” before I trim any photos. This “Other project” is dedicated to such " full frame" photos ducuments.

My primary concern is the info that initially caught my interest… and the limited time I have to ‘grab it’.
As a side effect of the ‘grab’ proces, (executed byl KM macros too) the URL will be placed in the “Notes” area in the scrivener document, so I later may be able to see it in ‘full’


Can you please explain how you do that?

I literally have a 79gig file. I am working currently on getting the size down. It holds all 132 writing projects inside it.

Scrivener offers lots of useful shortcut key combinations! Pressing: ctrl alt cmd H will get you there.
I include screenshot part of the KM macro that (also) does this:

part of macro, URL into Notes

(the complete 'grab’macro is fairly long and includes many steps and sub-macros)

I rely on “KeyCue” from Ergonis Software to keep track of available/in-use key-combo’s. I also use “Typinator” from them. Both are super useful.

(If you do not have/know Keyboard Maestro, you can try it for free from their website)


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That is one very large file!
If I pool all my projects into one huge file it will be similar in size. Scrivener can handle this, but should the index fail, it may take hours to reindex.

Following suggestions from support I created a custom template, where I have placed Project Bookmarks “at the top” so even I only open one project, I have direct access, via a click, to all the other projects I have bookmarked.

Much simpler to use than hopping around via “Recent Projects” or finder… and taking a ‘backup’ can be done to include only changed files! I use ‘ChronoSync’ for this part.


Can you upload that template for me?

Also, it takes around forty-five minutes to reindex when it crashes.

79 GB?! :exploding_head:

Yeah, you might have better performance if you trimmed that down a bit. Not to mention, having 132 distinct writing projects in a single Scrivener project might be a little challenging to navigate.

Also, Congratulations! I believe 79GB may be the largest working Scrivener project known. It’s definitely the largest I’ve ever heard of. :tada:

Not the templates as such, but a screenshot will give you a hint of how it may look.

The important detail is the area labelled “Drag in documents or…”

What I did, and Scrivener fully support this :+1: was simply to drag the projects (names) into this area. This dragging does not as such paste the project content, but just the link to the project, as shown in the other screenshot.

So even there may be links to all your projects, the original project( where these links reside) will not increase in size, as such.

In my own case I have placed the links in my “live” project in its Draft folder.

Hope this inspires you


detail from my “Live” project: