How much is too much?

I’m a new Scrivener user and have a question about how much data/text/images a single project on Scrivener can hold. I am working on draft 2 of the first book in a trilogy and the word count for my current manuscript is near 130,000 words. I also have EXTENSIVE notes for characters, setting, plotting for the trilogy, fantasy world building, etc. which includes some images for reference and a bunch of research as well. I don’t know what the word count is for my notes and research but it’s a lot. I try not to add images that are big files, but they are medium sized for reference. How much can I keep putting into the project before Scrivener will have problems? I don’t want to lose work or have it crash because I overloaded it. I’m currently transferring files from the old software I used to use and it was from multiple programs. Is there a limit to how many words/files Scrivener can take? I just want to be prepared in advance. Thanks.

You might look at the discussions in the following two threads… … oject+size … &sk=t&sd=a

My understanding and experience… (I could be wrong and your mileage may vary)…

The simplistic answer appears to be that the only limit is the amount of local drive space.


  • Scrivener projects, though presented within Scrivener as a single thing, are made up of a collection of folders and files (documents and other bindery items). Scrivener can bog down, when working within an individual document, if the document gets too large (multiple images or possibly really large chunks of text). The trick there is to break such into multiple smaller documents (single/few images and smaller chunks of text) when such slowdowns are encountered or to just routinely work in smaller documents. Multiple documents can be viewed simultaneously via “scrivenings” view (concatenated view) and can of course be compiled together at output time.

  • Opening a “scrivenings” view can in turn bog down, if is being asked to view large numbers of documents (such as the entirety of a draft of a large work). The trick there is to organize documents into a folder hierarchy in the binder (ex: Chapters within Acts or Scenes within Chapters within Acts, etc.) and then “scrivenings” view subfolders (the documents they contain) rather than more inclusive higher level folders.

  • Project backups will take longer as the overall project size increases. In some cases, such as where one has a large but relatively inactive mass of research and a small active draft, it might make sense to split the two into two projects, so that project backups of the active draft will go quickly. I believe there are ways to link to external images (and other material?), so as to not store images within the project, though that leaves the question of how to manage/backup such and how to keep them associated with the project location-wise and backup-wise.

Thank you! Your answer and the conversation links you posted were extremely helpful! :slight_smile: