Project become very slow during massive document updates

i have a big project, contains roughly 700 sections, 3mm wordings. when performing updates for all sections or compile, it took a couple of minutes or even hours to finish. is this expected? is there any way to speed it up a bit?

Great question!

Does the project contain large files such as images, PDFs, audio, videos? Projects can experience significant lag if your project size has become very large. Usually several gigabytes in size (10GB or more). Compiling can also take a significant amount of time if the project data is large enough. However, if it is taking hours to compile that certainly is a red flag.

I recommend that you condense the size of your project where possible. Remove any superfluous images, PDFs, audio, and/or videos. You could even move them into a separate project for quick reference. You could also link your images from a file instead of actually importing the image in the project using Insert > Image Linked to a file.

If you like you can share the project with me via a Dropbox link (or another cloud service) and send the link to my email at and I’ll take a closer look for you.

Another thing to check is snapshots. My 6 MB novel ballooned to over 300 MB. Why?

Eventually I discovered that Scrivener was taking snapshots of everything and keeping them bundled away in the project package file.

I am not sure—possibly I configured the prefs to do this inadvertently (I would never do it on purpose), or possibly this is the default.

But open your Snapshot Manger and see what’s there. I removed all, and the file snapped back to 6 MB.