Scrivener Project File Size

Hi there,

at first: I love Scrivener. It really is a great tool, although I’m still testing it. Before buying it I would like to know, how much Content it can actually handle. I’m a big collector of all sorts of Texts and Images and my first SCrivener Projekt has now about a hundred Nodes (Texts, Folder, Images) and alread reached 7MB in Size. I wonder how well Scrivener will work on my MacBook Pro if my projects reaches 50MB, 100MB or 300 MB.

Thanks for your help an great Work!




Are there any sensible rules of thumb besides


I mean: Any Experiences, like “Oh, putting 100 MB of Images into my Scrivener Project was not that clever”? Or like “After reaching 1000 Text-Items you should reall think of separating them in two projects.”?

Not from a technical perspective. Keith really built this thing right.

From a functional perspective there are many recommendations. Some of them mutually exclusive. The one that is universal is “find a method of data organization that works for you”.

Kuhl! (German for “Cool!” :slight_smile:

So I can start adding stuff and stuff and stuff without (technical) remorse. :smiley:


Yep. Right up until you fill your hard drive. Then your remorse will be found in abundance. Make sure you understand the differences between how files of different types are handled. Otherwise you will have angst that your expectations are not perfectly met.

As most of the texts and files I want to “import” into Scrivener are already on my hard drive, I don’t worry about that it will full soon. Especially as I am about to import mostly texts and images.

The handling of Images and Texts is pretty intuitive as far as I can tell right now. I add texts with the “create an new text” Button or the Return-Key. And I add Images, by drag and dropping them from the Finder in the Binder.

By the way: If seen, that Scrivener copies Images into the packaged Project so I could delete them from their original Folder on my hard drive without losing them in Scrivener, right?

Is there any other difference I should know about?

For the record I am a text only guy. I use scriv for ideas not research these days (not quite true but true enough).

Scriv can use links for images, but the usage you describe is correct. Once you copy the image into scriv you can delete it. This does not mean that you should. It is all a matter of preference.

The big surprises for folks seems to be around web archives and PDF. I am not really an expert on how these work (reread the first two sentences) but there are quite a number of posts in the forums that should explain it.

Ah. Ok. I forgot about those. I simply don’t use them an probably will not use them in the future. I either copy them to textmate (to get rid of the layout) and then copy them to Scrivener Texts or I create external links. But I hardly have any of those.

So: A million thanks. You really helped me!

Jaysen and Mark have steered you right, but I’ll just add:

• Yes, as Jaysen says, when you import images they are copied into the project (remember you can get everything out again using File > Export > Files…).

• You can add as many texts as you like. That said, I recently did see a lot of slowdown in a project that had 10,000 text items (all blank) in the Trash. This has to do with the way Scrivener was calculating how to draw binder icons. There can also be slowdown in the menus for things like Go To and Scrivener Link when there are thousands of documents in a project. All of this has been or is in the process of being addressed for 2.0, though. As much work has gone on optimisation as on new features for 2.0.

• When it comes to images, it’s best to limit how many you keep in one single folder. If you have hundreds of images in a single folder, then when you view the corkboard for that folder, scrolling can be jerky until it has calculated thumbnail images (this doesn’t apply if you turn off “View images as photos on corkboard” in the Preferences). But if you only have a few images in a single folder, or even a couple of dozen, this shouldn’t be an issue.

• Although technically there is no limit on file size beyond that of the hard drive and OS limitations, in practical terms the larger a file gets the more likely you are to see problems - I’m not talking about Scrivener files in particular here, though, but rather about all files. With large .scriv files you’re more likely to see problems if you synchronise them a lot or copy and paste somewhere, because they are prone to the same copy-and-paste errors as any other large folder.

• As Jaysen points out, most problems with large projects happen with PDF files and web archives - PDF files in particular. Occasionally a PDF file has problems when search indexes need to be rebuilt which can result in a project failing to open. It’s always fairly straightforward to resolve, and I’m hoping 2.0 fixes it entirely (but I won’t know for sure until it’s in the wild, no matter how much testing and beta-testing is done), but it’s still annoying.

Hope that helps.

All the best,

Wow. Yeah. That helped a lot and makes me feel very confident about my future with Scrivener.

And as I especially like how Scrivener treats “Folders” as own Content Objects, and as I am a fan hiearchical ressource collection and ordering, I guess, I won’t run into the problem of having too many images in one folder. Actually I don’t think I have too many objects of any kind directly in one folder. If the corkboard gets bigger then two or three screens (while having 3 or 4 Cards in one row), I usually start creating subfolders.

So, if nothing bad happens during my next two test-weeks, I’ll become a very happy customer.
(So, I’ll come around with a wish list in a few weeks ;] )