Scrivener stops responding

This has happened to me too many times to ignore:

I try to switch from one file to another, or from a folder to a file, and the only thing happening is that the scroller starts jumping (jitterly if that word exists) and the beach ball start spinning. The program does not respond to anything, and I have to force quit Scrivener.

At first it happened only with one specific document. Lately it has happened with different documents. In the first case it didn’t help to restart the program or the computer. I trashed the document after having copied all content, and “reconstructed” it with relevant meta data (synopsis, notes, Aeon metadata etc.), and it did no longer cause any problems.

In the later instances it has been enough to restart Scrivener, but as the problem keeps popping up, I feel I have to report it.

I don’t know if this is relevant, but the offending documents have all been in scriptwriting mode, synced with iA Writer (Fountain) and with Aeon Timeline. I am not sure of this, but I believe the offending documents has also been opened and slightly edited in Highland.

Otherwise I’m slugging along and Scrivener is my trusted and beloved tool and crutch.


One preliminary question: do you import web pages into your projects? The “archive” format will try and import everything, even advertisements and other junk. If a page has a lot of animated stuff going on, it may be slowing down Scrivener even when you aren’t looking at it. Flash is notoriously awful for this kind of thing, and the symptoms you are describing match how OS X 10.5+ reacts under heavy load. The mouse pointer grows sluggish and erratic (this will be especially so with wireless devices) and the pizza of death can flicker on and off.

I would try leaving Activity Monitor open for a while in the background. Whenever you see this start to happen, switch over to it and check to see what Scrivener’s CPU usage is. If it is pegged at more than 70% for a measurable amount of time, click on it in the list of running applications, and then click the “Sample Process” button in the toolbar. This will run for a few seconds, gathering exhaustive data on what the program is doing at that moment. Save that to a file and send it to our e-mail address (with this thread’s URL as a reference so we know what it pertains to).

Thanks Amber for your answer,

yes I do have a couple of webpages with embedded video. Suppose I can remove them and link to them instead of importing them.

As for keeping the Activity Monitor open, I’ll do that. Hopefully it will not be to busy, but if the problems start again, I’ll let you know.


Yeah if the problems continue you could try removing those pages and emptying the project trash to see if it goes away. I bet that’s what it is though. Flash is a hog on OS X. You could either link via References, or use the import as text option in the Import/Export preferences pane. This will convert the page to editable text and strip out all of the multimedia (graphics will still come in).

After plenty of happy writing, here I am again. The problem came after I had inadvertently split a scene with the shortcut Cmd-K (a command that in another program I use will capitalise a word). After some more writing I wanted to merge the two parts together again. The result: beach ball, scroller jittering, “Scrivener doesn’t respond”, Scrivener using 95 percent of the processor etc.

As this hadn’t happened for a long time (thanks to your advice?) it took me some time to get the activity control to take a sample.

Doesn’t mean anything to me, but perhaps to you.


P.S. As Scrivener still doesn’t respond I have no choice but to force quit, and find out i a mornings work is lost… It’s not. Phew!

P.P.S. The sampling is apparently too long to send as a message. Sending without. What do I do with the sample?

Regarding the first postscript, I assume you’re able to load the project fine now and this was a transient problem that occurred only during that one session?

As for the sample file, it is best to right-click on the file and compress it, then attach it as a file to a response.