Scrivener Freezing After Every Few Words and Backspacing

I have been using Scrivener for a couple years now, and it has worked very well for the most part. However, over the past few weeks, it has become progressively glitchy.

The main problem is that I can only type for a few seconds before it freezes. Sometimes it locks up entirely and has to be shut down through the ctrl alt del function and task manager. Other times it unfreezes. The timing is not regular, but the most I have been able to go is just about five minutes without it freezing.

Any time I move the mouse to another section, it freezes. Whenever I backspace, it freezes.

I have set my antivirus programs to not monitor Scrivener. I have turned off everything but Scrivener so I can work. And I do have the most recent updates.

Right now I am getting so frustrated that even though I appreciate the organizational capacity, I may have to stop using Scrivener entirely. Is there anything I can do to get Scrivener to work again?

Hi Jessica.

I see you posted in Feb 2016. I am very surprised there are no replies from moderators re your problem. Did you manage to resolve by yourself?

I too have had this problem for sometime, though not as severe as yours seems to be. I freeze for less than a minute (that severely hampers my flow!) and luckily I have not had to do a forced restart… YET!

The pattern occurs most frequently when I do longer interrupted sittings that initially led me to suspect a memory write lag. However since the ‘ProjectName*’ does not appear to indicate an auto-save in progress at these times, I begin to doubt that theory. I too have fiddled with my antivirus settings, even disabled it for a while, and minimised other resources, but with no marked difference. Oddly this does happen most often on backspace, so much so that I changed my keyboard several times. But again, little change. A recent change of new PC to higher specifications has made little difference either.

Anyone else having this problem? Any moderators wish to contribute?

I would contact their support email ( asap to get the attention you need for this problem. I have no idea what the cause of this might be, but they’ll be able to help you, and will get to you more reliably than they can at the forum.

I say contact them ASAP, because in the coming week, Scrivener for iOS will be out, and they’re likely going to be flooded with questions and support requests (as happens with any new software release). Better to get your issues in the queue now, before the rush. Having to focus on the iOS release, and the concurrent Mac and Windows releases to bring Sync compatibility to those versions, is probably why you haven’t seen any responses from official Lit & Lat folks here.

This sounds very similar to a problem I have been experiencing all year, through the various updates that have come out.

When I open a project in Scrivener and attempt to interact with it, it will freeze within a few keystrokes. The freeze will last anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Then it will be fine… until I open another project, and it happens again.

I am using Windows 10 and have been updating to the latest version of Scrivener as each comes out. I’m using right now.

…should I start a new topic for this, or are the symptoms similar enough that I should keep to this thread?

SpringfieldMH has pointed out some use cases which might slow Scrivener down, like Scrivenings mode with a lot of documents. You can have a look at his post here: viewtopic.php?f=30&t=36198&p=223479#p223479

If it does not help, and you can provide a project to windows support, to reproduce the problem, they might help you further.

I’ve been under the impression it’s happening on every project at all, but I tried opening a few smaller projects (very few documents) and it didn’t happen that I could tell. So maybe it does have to do with Projects with a lot of documents in them.

That said, my projects are generally in either Outline mode or single document view, not Scrivenings, when I open them. Freezing happens either when interacting with binder or attempting to type in current document. It’s just whatever the first few keystrokes after opening the project is.

I’ll see if I can’t identify exactly which projects are doing this and follow up via the links you suggest. Thank you!

You might also try “Save and Rebuild Indexes”. Close and Re-Open Scrivener, and the project after this action. If something is wrong with the project this might help a bit.


I did this with one of the projects this always happens with. I opened it up, waited to see the freeze happen (hit space a few times, then started clicking around with the mouse until I hit “Not Responding”), then ran the “Save and Rebuild Indexes” command, then exited Scrivener. When I reopened Scrivener to that project, the freeze did not occur.

Will keep an eye out for future recurrences, but I’m hoping this was the magic bullet.

(I also uninstalled Avast, which came prebundled with my Asus all unwanted, after reading this article: … y-settings … I can’t swear it had an effect, but it might have something to do with my being unable to replicate the freeze on a different project I thought was susceptible to it. Or maybe I’m remembering wrong, and it never happened on that project in the first place. I would make a horrible QA tester. In any case, Avast has been eliminated as a possible cause.)

I’m a MAC user, so maybe that’s the issue, but I don’t have a “Save and Rebuild Indexes” option in the File menu. I do, however, have the same problem as the OP. I added about 40 images to my Draft and that seemed to slow it WAY down and now I can’t even type a sentence without it freezing up. Any advice for me? Thank you!

In my experience, at least in the Windows version, having numerous graphic images within a given document results in sluggishness when typing. I haven’t experimented to see how image file size affects responsiveness within a given document.

One option is to limit the numbers of images within a given document to one or a few, instead spreading them across multiple documents, one or few per document. They can be viewed together, in order, in scrivenings mode (concatenated/combined) view of multiple documents. Likewise, they can appear together, in order, when compiled/printed.

There may be alternate strategies. I believe there is a way to link to images, located elsewhere in or outside of the project, from within documents, such the images don’t appear (?) while editing but do appear in compiles/print. I may have that wrong or there may be multiple approaches.

Hold down the Option key as you open the File menu and you’ll find “Save and Rebuild Indexes” then … standard Mac technique.

The fewer images you have in a single document, the less impact it will have on screen redrawing; I put them singly in separate documents and use Scrivenings mode anyway, not that I use many images in any case. If you don’t need to actually see the image while you’re writing, importing them as links which will be dealt with on compile will help a lot. If you do need to see them, you might think of importing them into the research folder and opening them in a separate editor split while writing, then deal with inserting them when you’re ready to compile.