incredibly slow when using images in text.

When I put multiple images in texts things come to a crawl, constantly beachballing. JPG’s are 100Kb or so…

Is this normal behavior?

The same project on my iPad is not usable anymore…

I’m a screenwriter for film/docu and I need to put lots of images.

Was hoping scrivener was the right tool for the job…


I’d say in most cases it is the right toolchest for the job, but mainly if you’re using the right tools within it. Embedded graphics are better employed as a stop-gap to more fleshed out workflows later on, or for their convenience when they are very small and limited in use. The Insert ▸ Image Linked to File|Document… command set is what you want for larger scale uses. Linking to images is how you will find most professional tools handle this basic problem of mixing high-impact files with low-impact container material like text.

This can be made fairly low impact with the following adjustment to how you work:

  • In the Behaviors: Dragging & Dropping preference pane, set Link to images dragged from binder into editor.
  • Now, instead of dragging whole images directly into the text editor, drag them to the binder itself, and then into the editor.

It’s only one extra step, and it means keeping your heavy weight material separate from your rapidly evolving text content. Everything in Scrivener should speed up and stop using as much space, from typing speed to stored snapshots.

Some like to use the image placeholders metho instead. It’s a better option for those that prefer to not have the images in the writing environment at all, though.

Image handling is a bit tricky cross-platform, and in fact you’ll get best results by not having iOS touch embedded images at all, in most cases (I’d honestly say the same goes for all text editors, the less contact a text editor has with graphics the better, that’s one big reason for why we use links in pro tools). Using linked images is a way of avoiding that problem. Of course the image won’t exist on the iPhone anyway, so you’ll see a “missing image” thumbnail instead.

Like the OP I created a document with embedded images and soon found it slowing to the point of being unusable. In several sessions I deleted images and put in a link for each instead. That helped a lot but it’s still a bit slow.

I may have missed replacing some of the embedded images. How can I find out which ones are still embedded, if any?

There is unfortunately no way to sort by or examine the actual disk size of binder items, in Scrivener, so you’ll need to use Finder. The good news is that it’s not too hard to do so:

  1. If you wish to be extra cautious, first use the File/Back Up/Back To To... menu command, to set aside a named backup copy of the project. While you wouldn’t be editing anything, you will be poking around in its internal folders.
  2. Next, use the File/Show Project in Finder menu command.
  3. In the Finder window that opens, right-click on the project and select “Show Package Contents”.
  4. Drill down into the Files/Data subfolder within the project. You should see a long list of random numbers. Press ⌘F to load the Spotlight search toolbar.
  5. Type “content.rtf” into the search field and press return.
  6. Now press ⌘J to load the display settings for the search, and change the Sort by and/or Group by settings to “Size”.

At this point you’ll have a sorted list of the files used to store text in your project. The ones with images will in most cases be at the top. You can use Quick Look here (Spacebar) to read a bit of the text so you know where to look for it in the project itself. Note that Finder’s Quick Look tool is pretty simplistic—you won’t actually see any images.

Once you’re looking at it in Scrivener you’ll see the images, and you can double-click on each one to check its settings. Linked images will have buttons to reveal the original file, embedded images will only have buttons for changing the display size.

Thank you AmberV. However, that’s way too involved to be worth taking the time to do it – or risk causing a problem. I was hoping that there might be something on a pull-down menu that would highlight linked items in a document. I’ll just leave things as they are.

Sure, it’s one of those things where if one is struggling with a slow project, taking ten minutes to find the culprit file or two is going to be worth it in the long run. Otherwise, maybe not.


I really appreciate the generous trial period for Scrivener - which I’m loving and would definitely purchase except that I could really use a bit of help on finding a workflow for bringing images into a document without creating slow downs? I’ve got a powerful desktop PC yet I’m getting Scrivener pausing up to 5 seconds between keypresses, and I’ve only got about 8 images in a 10 page document so far. What am I doing wrong?

My current workflow is simply to paste images from the clipboard using Cut and Paste directly into a document I’m writing in. Maybe, should I be using one of those Insert…Image menu options instead? Is there a way to have Scrivener not slow down at all with images if I follow an intended workflow?

much appreciated, Dom