Keyboard lag on Scrivener

Hi all,
I’ve been using Scrivener now for a couple of years and it is without doubt the best software I’ve ever bought! I’ve used it successfully for two novels and a short story and I continue to regret that I was not aware of its existence while doing my dissertation.

I’m experiencing a recurrent issue where the keyboard will become momentarily unresponsive before all the letters I’ve tried to type appear at once and it only occurs in Scrivener. There doesn’t seem to be common denominator in terms of apps, computer or system- I first observed this under Lion on a 2011 MBA and continue to see it on a 13" rMBP with Mountain Lion. I thought I remembered being told before that this was a bug in the App Store version of Scrivener so re downloaded directly from the site hoping for a fix. It still occurs. It is by no means a deal breaker, but it is annoying as it generally happens once or twice in every writing session. Any help or advice would be great!

Oh, and the size of the project doesn’t seem to matter either- I’ve seen this with all projects ranging from 7000 to 70,000 words.

I would suggest checking the autosave interval, which is on the Scrivener -> Preferences -> General pane. The default interval is very short, and so it’s possible for the autosave to try to activate during a natural pause, rather than during true “idle” time.


There are a huge number of factors that might be at play. Here are a couple off the top of my head:

Do you keep a lot of web browser tabs open, or a lot of programs/documents loaded? Try quitting as many programs as you can stand or closing lots of browser windows/tabs. These things can take up too much RAM, making your computer unresponsive (a lot is either a few BIG ones, like running Windows 8 under Parallels, or having 30 or more windows/browser tabs open at once.)

Are you using any programs that interpret special keystrokes or otherwise might be interfering? TextExpander and other programs that act as keyboard macros might be interfering with Scrivener occasionally, or some backup programs might cause the lag. Look at System Preferences->Users & Groups and the Login Items tab; try deleting half of them from that list (make note of which ones were there so you know which ones might have been a culprit). If you don’t have any issues after 3-4 days of Scrivener usage, enable a few of the others (keep track of which ones you add back); Keep doing this every couple of days until you re-experience the issue. The latest batch of programs you added back to your start-up items is likely the culprit, and you can keep testing like this until you’ve found your culprit.

I would be surprised if ram is the issue; I have 8gb and always have plenty free. There’s no VMs or obvious memory hogs running. I do usually have chrome open too and there could be as many as 20 tabs open, but menu meters in my menu bar never shows memory/cpu issues from that.

I do have the built in keyboard replacement thing running—eg, while I was writing a historical novel set in Spain I had the keyboard autocorrect dona to dōna, for example, but that’s it. Could that be a factor? I haven’t noticed it happening whilst typing one of my autocorrect phrases though.

The autosave is worth investigating. Thanks, I’ll check that out. Thanks for your help; this is such a tiny niggle that it seems churlish to complain, but it does break my writing flow when it happens.

I wouldn’t worry too much about the built-in autocorrect. Because it’s built in, it integrates pretty tightly with the operating system.

If changing the autosave interval doesn’t help, it wouldn’t hurt to try closing some browser tabs. The lagging performance is more of a CPU issue than a memory issue, and each tab does require a slice of CPU “attention.”


I had the same problem (keyboard delay), especially when I use tildes (I write in Spanish). I have disabled auto-completion and everything works fine now.

I changed the autosave delay and so far that seems to have solved the problem. Or, to put it another way, I’ve written nearly 3000 words today (granted, in several sittings) and haven’t experienced the issue once. Ah, Scrivener, how I do love thee…

Fingers crossed that’s it solved and I’ll remember that tip when/if I get the Haswell rMBP.