PDF reading is laggy


I just upgraded to Mavericks, and I’m now noticing that scrolling PDFs in Scrivener 2.5 is laggy. The PDFs kind of haltingly scroll vertically and horizontally. Regular text files seem fine.
The issue is there whether or not I’m using split-screen mode.
Scrivener is still useable, just kind of annoying, since I read a ton of PDFs for school and use Scrivener to organize my notes based on these readings. The issue definitely wasn’t there before.
I’m using a 2013 Macbook Air 11" with 8GB of RAM. I’m not doing anything intensive with any other programs, and I haven’t noticed this issue elsewhere, such as in Adobe.
Any thoughts/help would be much appreciated. Thanks!

I have a similar experience. I thought it was because I am reading into Scrivener large PDF files (tens of MBs, up to more than 80 MB). I do use to import the PDFs as aliases. I also noticed this (see screenshot, look at the white band covering the bottom part of the screen), which looks like a bug. I don’t recall having this problem in the past. I am using a MBP 13" retina 2012 with 2.9 GHz Intel Core i7 and 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 (whatever that means!)

Yes, I’m noticing that blank space too, but only for a moment. What happens is as I’m scrolling around, the page may momentarily go gray, but that blank white space will remain at the bottom of the window. Then the page will pop back in, the white space will remain for a moment more, but then disappear and be filled in with the PDF (I don’t know if that makes any sense).
We may be seeing the same behavior, but your white space might be more persistent due to the size of your PDF files. Just a hunch.

Sadly Scrivener contains almost no code pertaining to PDF files - it’s all handled by Apple’s PDFKit, so this suggests that PDFKit has gotten laggy in Mavericks. It’s not alone: Quick Look, open and save panels and many other things are slow and laggy across the system. The only thing we can do is hope that Apple fixes things in 10.9.x update. I wish I had a better answer, but 10.9 just has some speed issues across the board.

All the best,

Thanks, KB. This makes sense. I have kind of suspected that I’m getting occasional lag outside of Scrivener. It’s just so intermittent and subtle that it makes me wonder if I’m imagining it. Here’s hoping for a quick OS update.

My experience with Preview in Mavericks is indeed horrible. Even for fairly small PDFs scrolling often stops, chokes, halts. It’s possible that in my case the experience is made worse by the fact that my machine is a late 2013 MBP 13" retina, which apparently has many system-wide keyboard and trackpad issues (Apples has promised to release a fix soon). But yeah, it’s definitely not Scrivener!

Tell me when a new OS worked seamlessly the first time around. I was also seduced by the free upgrade of Mavericks and am having the issues with the white spaces in pdf folders. Delays are visible too even with a fast SSD.

This is definitely a 2.5 Scrivener problem and not a Mavericks problem.

PDF scrolling fell off the fence after the 2.5 update. Its noticeably laggy and slow to respond. It will often take a 1/3 second before it starts scrolling and during scrolly it jerky to the extent that there will be white and black boxes that are visible during scrolling.

90% of my work in Scrivener involves pdfs and this pretty much renders it unusable :frowning:

My PDF scrolling in Preview and in Devonthink (2.7.1 - which also uses the OS framework) is glassy smooth.

I tried turning off app nap but it made no difference.

There are other visual problems as well. The binder now has large spaces between the collections view (which is empty) and the binder view which wont go away. There is also a lot of mysterious jumping around of panels, the cause of which I havent figured out yet.

Going to uninstall and reinstall Scrivener to see if it makes a difference.


Definitely not my experience. There are some Scrivener-specific bugs, like the one I posted in the screenshot early in this thread, but others that are EXACTLY the same scrolling bugs in both Scrivener and Preview. It is affecting my use of Scrivener, but also my use of Preview. I am now reading PDFs mainly on the iPad until this thing gets fixed

This is highly unlikely since there is, as I say, no code in Scrivener pertaining to PDFs other than to load them. They are entirely handled by Apple’s PDFKit, so any lag has to be coming from there. My experience, like marcoiac’s, is that Mavericks is buggy and laggy across the board with PDF files, images and much more. Just hitting space in the Finder to bring up a preview of a PDF or image file can take tens of seconds before the Quick Look preview appears.

We’ve had no reports of anything like this - I’d definitely try uninstalling completely and reinstalling, as you say. Maybe wipe your preferences and other settings too.

All the best,

may it is because Scrivener as a 32bit Application calls the 32bit Version of the pdf-kit or can’t handle the 64bit pdf-kit well enough ?

Hello Keith,

I uninstalled version 2.5 and reinstalled version 2.4.1 (Build 22816) and the lag and jumpiness in pdf scrolling has completely disappeared.

It really was very peculiar, a scroll gesture would only activate a 1/2 second after the gesture and the scrolling stuttered in version 2.5.

I am going to do more tests and reinstall 2.5 to see if the problem is repeatable.


I’ve notice the same problem. The only way I was able to “fix” the problem is to make sure the PDF zoom is set to the actual size. Once I do that the problem of the lag and the white spaces disappears.

It isn’t a perfect solution, but at least it works for me.

Interesting. I’ll test it. But, does it work only within Scrivener or also in Preview?

EDIT: it definitely doesn’t work for me, both in Scrivener and Preview

The only difference between 2.4.1 and 2.5 in this regard is that 2.5 was built on Mavericks and thus linked against the Mavericks version of PDFKit, whereas 2.4.1 was linked against 10.8 and the Mountain Lion version.