Large Scrivener Files

Large Scrivener Files

My file is getting rather…huge. I’ve emptied out the trash, and I’ve deleted snapshots, but it saves soooo many snapshots that it becomes overwhelming. Heaven knows what else it’s doing that I don’t know about.

I want to have three manuscripts in one file because it’s all the same story (trilogy), but I’m a bit scared of what will happen if I do that. The file really is massive, to the point where I think…Scrivener might be acting a bit slow. :open_mouth:

Any tips on dealing with large files?


Scrivener is specifically designed to deal with large “files” like yours, because, basically, a Scrivener project is not a single file, but instead a folder containing hundreds or even thousands of smaller individual files. Your Mac shows you your project as a single file and for some purposes treats it as such. But one of Scrivener’s cunning features is that it only loads into your computer’s memory those parts of your project (the files in other words) that you are working with at any one time. I’ve read in these forums that some users quite happily have projects that are gigabyte-large. By enabling you to split up your project into chunks that are small enough for your computer to cope with easily, Scrivener allows this to happen.

So… if your Mac is running more slowly when Scrivener has been launched, there are likely to be only a few explanations (and the overall size of your project is unlikely to be one of them). One could be that you have other applications simultaneously running on your Mac that are also consuming memory. Closing them will help Scrivener to run faster. Another could be that the individual files in your project (“documents” in Scrivener-speak) are themselves individually too large for your computer to handle easily. Splitting them up into smaller documents should help. Also, if those files are very large, Scrivener’s safety-first automatic save, running by default at two-second intervals, could be too frequent - loosen it off to say 10 or 15 seconds (Scrivener > Preferences > General > Saving if you’re using Version 3).

By the way, though you’ve posted in the Scrivener for Mac forum, I’ve just noticed that your ID on the left says you’re on Windows. My explanation above obviously refers to the Mac and Version 3 of Scrivener for macOS. I don’t use Windows, but most of what I’ve written will probably apply to Scrivener for Windows, except, perhaps, the location of the auto-save interval control.

P.S. About the snapshots - are there so many because you’ve taken them - or do you believe that Scrivener has created them automatically? Or do you possibly mean backups (whose number you can control in Preferences > Backup, and which for safety ought to be saved somewhere other than the location of your “working” project)?