Serious slow down on Big Sur

When adding punctuation, highlighting sections or pasting the beachball appears for about ten seconds. I have cut my work up to sections of about 39K words and includes a few photographs, to no avail.
Any advice would be appreciated.
I’m on Big Sur 11.2.3
Scrivener 3.2.2 (14632)
iMac 2017 3.8 GHz i5 Memory 24GB

It is consistent with all your projects or can the issue be localized to a single project? Do you have other apps open that might be slowing your computer down?

Thanks, Oliver. I opened another much smaller Project and it worked well. The problem Project, a Journal written over many years has over 390K words. As I said I copied the entries for 2021 to another Project with 40K words and I get the beachball when highlighting and changing from bold etc.
I would only have four other apps open Notes, Diarly, Safari and Finder.
I really enjoy using Scrivener as it suits how I work.
I appreciate your helpful reply.

I’m glad that helped. With a project of that size, you might want to weed out any non-essential media from the project which should help increase the project’s performance. Since it’s a journal there may not be a lot of media. If that’s the case you might even consider breaking the project up into two projects. While it’s not ideal, sometimes large projects like your own suffer from such performance issues.

I have a project of nearly the same size and have similar issues. I also found breaking it up, and using smaller project for future work, was the answer

39k is a lot of text to highlight and then fiddle with bold/italic, etc… Scrivener has built-in ways of normalizing text without selecting it, such as the Documents->Convert->Text To Default Format, which uses the settings in either Scrivener->Preferences->Editing->Formatting, or the equivalent section in Project->Project Settings, if you’ve set that to make your project use its own formatting preferences, separate from other projects.

But even just editing 40k of text means that when you pause for a second or two, Scrivener is re-writing that entire document to disk during its auto-save routines. Consider breaking your journal down into folders for each year, and maybe by month under that. You might even consider, over time, breaking out each day’s entry into separate documents, as the Scrivenings settings let you view multiple documents as if they’re one in the editor. There’s a lot of power to be had in customizing your compile settings to stitch the files back into one whole document, reformatting things at compile time, instead of having to change the text inside Scrivener when you change your mind about how (for instance), each day’s title is formatted.

For that matter, being able to add keywords for major topics in your journal means that you can search for all documents with the “grandparents” keyword and only see the days you mentioned a grandparent. But that only works if you have things broken down far enough that you don’ t have to skim through weeks and weeks of entries for that topic.

What is the smallest organizational unit that you care about? For a journal, it might be a single day. For a novel, it might be a chapter or a scene.

But most people aren’t going to deal with 39K words in one chunk, as either writers or readers. That’s too much to keep in your head at once, and also too much for most readers to digest in one sitting. Most works naturally break into smaller pieces than that. Scrivener is optimized for those smaller pieces.

How small? If you’re seeing performance issues, “smaller than that” is a good place to start. In my own work, natural breaks tend to come every 2K-4K words, though I’ll often use smaller pieces to facilitate revision. Above 10K words, it really depends on your hardware and what else your system is doing at the same time.


Many thanks to rdale, Katherine, jcarmar and Oliver. Your advice has been most welcome. I’m now going to have fun taking those ideas on board.
Best wishes,