How many Scrivener projects can be open at the same time?

I guess the answer is: It depends on how much RAM you have.

Or can Scrivener only handle a certain number of open projects? Thanks!

Hi fto. You’re right, it does depend on your Mac’s RAM.

I have one project that I keep open for 8 hours a day. It’s over 434,000 words but no images or other media. I’ll regularly open another 2-4 smaller projects and not have any issues. I’m on a MacBook Pro with an M1 chip and 32 GB of RAM.

If I try to do that same group of projects on my Win 10 machine with 8 GB of RAM, it doesn’t perform as smoothly. That machine is also seven years old at this point, so I wouldn’t expect it to.

I also keep most of these projects on the local hard drive rather than fiddling with cloud-syncing. YMMV.

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Thank you @RuthS

I ask because I am in the process of creating several smaller projects. “Smaller” means there are still about 2000 documents in each project (and the same number in the bin). So far I have 5 open at the same time and have not noticed any problems or delays. In the end it could be 10 projects, but they don’t necessarily have to be open at the same time.

If I understand how Scrivener works correctly, only one project is “active” at a time. This would mean that a large and slow project in the background should not interfere with a small one in the foreground. Correct?

Why don’t you try simulating on your computer. Duplicate what you have into say 2-3x what you think you might have and open them all up and see how your machine copes.

Yes, I’ve already had that idea. :slightly_smiling_face:

But if someone already knew that it doesn’t work, I don’t have to repeat the same mistake.

With every crash there is a risk of losing something. Even though Scrivener is really very reliable. And rebuilding the search index every time …

Correct. Modern computers are pretty good at memory management for background tasks.

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As I understand it, actually, only the documents that are open in the editor are held in RAM. If you have a long scivenings session open in each of them that would impact performance.

So, if you don’t run large scrivenings sessions, and your individual documents are not huge, my guess is you could have a considerable number of projects open at the same time.


@kewms Perfect. :slightly_smiling_face:That’s the most important thing. Then the number of open projects really shouldn’t matter, nor should their size.

There’s some additional overhead associated with the project itself: the Binder structure, the view settings, and so on. The operating system should be able to free up that memory for inactive projects, though.

Thanks everyone, I’ll have to test it in detail, whether I want to or not, and then report back if anyone is interested :joy:

My experience on Windows 11, 16 GB of RAM is you can open a Binder item, work on it, leave it, work on another Binder item, open other Apps, work on them. Watch a YouTube video, argue with ChatGPT, fiddle around with emails, go back to your original Binder item and do a few undos and Scrivener still remember what went on in that first Binder file, as long as it’s been open the whole time.
So, yeah, it’s pretty stable. May bomb out once in a purple moon, but I’ve never experienced any loss of work I didn’t tell it to get rid of. It complements the OS very well and vice versa to give you a satisfactory user experience.
The big surprise for me was Scrivener remembering what went on when returning to a Binder item I clicked away from.

Sounds good, thanks @Kevitec57 . Then I hope that also applies to the mac. :slightly_smiling_face:

If anything the Mac version is more stable than the Windows version.


Mm, there seems to be a problem with the settings in the search menu when multiple projects are open. If I activate or deactivate “Exclude Trash Documents” in one project, this setting sometimes also changes in other projects. Only sometimes. I have not yet been able to find out why. Has anyone else had this experience?

Edit: I can reproduce the bug (?).

Two projects open.
Project A, “Exclude Trash Documents” activated
Project B, “Exclude Trash Documents” deactivated

Any search in project A, delete search
Any search in project B, delete search

Now both projects have the same setting without the settings having been changed manually.

Is that how it should be?

In my experience, the Find dialog is a system gizmo, so if it is open in Scrivener, it has the same settings in NWP or any other app built on the Apple TextKit.

So different projects cannot save different search settings? That would be really inconvenient for me. For me, the main reason to have several projects open is that different searches can be performed.

What if you simply put all or many projects into one project and then via collections and compile settings keep them separate when it comes time to produce a deliverable? Might avoid the many things you are concerned about.

Unfortunately not. I have to create several projects because otherwise there would be too many documents in one. Much more than 2000 documents per project cannot be searched at a good speed. This number can be increased to 4000 if half of them are in the trash and can be excluded from the search.