Slow, lagging, unresponsive typing

Scrivener 2’s typing responsiveness is just poor on my system, and none of the possible solutions I found in the forum improved the situation.

Even at it’s best, Scrivener seems to lag a character or three behind, which is annoying enough. But sometimes it can pause for a sentence before catching up. I haven’t noticed this behavior in any other applications. I write a lot in OmniOutliner, and it’s always crisp and responsive. Safari is snappy as I write in this form.

I’m using OSX 10.4.11. I’m also using Spell Catcher, but turning that completely off didn’t mitigate the problem at all. I tried trashing Scrivener’s preferences and relaunching, which made no improvement.

The projects I’m working on are tiny, so even if size could be an issue, it’s not an issue here.

Any thoughts?

I tried creating a separate user account on my system for testing purposes, with nothing but the basic system running in the background, and Scrivener seemed to be responsive while typing in my test document.

I’m not sure what to try next, but that would seem to eliminate Scrivener/system issues.

Just to be clear, I would still very much appreciate any and all help getting to the bottom of this typing-lag issue. :smiley:

I experienced this week the same lagging and slow unresponsive typing issue. I write in Spanish, with lots of accents, and believe me, it gets terrible and annoying (´arbol, c´arcel, estudi´o, Aar´on… :angry: ). As you said, that never happens in Word nor Safari…
I read on another forum where Keith -or someone else- suggested to restore all preferences to default… Well, in my case that did the trick. Now the typing is smooth as it should be… (a provisional solution anyway, because now I’m afraid to change my Scrivener’s preferences).


This post is useful:

Thanks Gabriel.

I too tried deleting my preferences file and relaunching Scrivener, except in my case it didn’t work any better. The problem persisted.

I read through the link you provided to the other thread in the forum. It definitely sounds like others are experiencing similar problems. As I mentioned previously, I tried running Scrivener from a bare-bones user account for testing purposes, and it seemed to run fine in the short period I used it.

However, I notice that someone else tried the same thing, and while Scrivener seemed to run better at first, the problem later popped up again their test.

I checked in Console, as Keith requested in that other thread, but there wasn’t anything of note being reported.

Scrivener 2.0’s typing responsiveness has been massively improved over 1.x’s. I have stripped out a lot of the things that slowed 1.x’s typing down. So there must be other factors at play here. It’s certainly true that a few users have reported slowdown where they didn’t in 1.x, but these users are very much in the minority - the vast majority have reported significant speed increases in 2.x over 1.x, which is what would be expected given the amount of work I put into optimising the typing code.

Regarding SpellCatcher, I have heard that you not only need to disable it, but also need to disable it in your startup options and restart your machine in order to completely prevent it from interfering.

Regarding preferences, if resetting them has sped things up, I recommend going through them one by one turning back on the things you had turned on before until you find the preference that is slowing things down. It may be that there is a single preference causing issues and that will help me narrow it down. (For instance, were you using hyphenation, current line highlighting, block cursor, or did you choose any preferences that weren’t available in 1.x and therefore may be the culprit? Do you have auto-correction turned on etc?)

Scrivener’s typing is speedy as can be on all my machines and unfortunately I need to be able to reproduce this in order to find what’s wrong, so any more information on what the other factors may be would be much appreciated. For instance, if you create a fresh account and things are fast, this indicates an external factor. Try turning on all the options you have in your regular account - both external programs (someone reported an issue with Typinator for instance) and preferences, until you find the trigger that causes slowdown.

Thanks and all the best,

I experience the same. We should compare our environments, maybe there is something we have in common that causes this (up to now unreproducable) behaviour.

I have an iMac 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 3 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM, running OS X 10.5.8.
Tools I use: TypeIt4Me, SizeUp, Changes Meter, Synergy, Alfred, TinyAlarm, FolderGlance, Cepstral Voices, Growl, Keyclick, Wacom Tablet Driver.
Applications running parallel: Devon Think Pro, Mail, SOHO Organizer, Journler, Petit ProLexis, Sidenote.

FWIW, I have had problems with the Wacom tablets and SOHO Organizer in the past. I’m no longer running either of them. Scrivener 2.0 works fine on my system.

On the positive side, I can confirm that Growl and DevonThink Pro are not causing problems, at least for me.


No slowdown on my iMac 5, 1.6 PPC, 512, 10.5.8
Using Tiny Alarm, Growl, Keyclick, Sidenote
I do run IceClean twice a week.


I have no doubt that Scrivener 2 is a more elegant application. Unfortunately, there are a handful of us users yet to experience its improved responsiveness for unknown reasons. It would be nice if we could get to the bottom of the problem and move on to a less irritating writing experience. :wink:

I, for one, very much appreciate your efforts in helping to resolve the problem even though we seem to be a small group. Thanks.

Yes, and there is also an input source that you must turn off in the International System Preferences Control Panel.

In my case, resetting preferences made no improvement in the typing performance of Scrivener. It lagged the same amount before and after.

I did some more testing of some applications, like Spell Catcher, that I suspected might be interfering in some way with Scrivener. Some because they function by responding to typing input, others because they run in the background in a way I thought might be taxing the CPU.

The tests didn’t yield any further information, since the slow typing in Scrivener persisted whether or not these applications were running. One by one, I tested the following:

Spell Catcher, Launchbar, Synergy, MozyHome, DropBox.

I’d be happy to send you a complete System Profiler Report if that would help you to suggest other things I could try testing.

Mac G4 “Quicksilver”, 1.5 gb RAM, OS 10.4.11.

I experienced much the same frustrating sluggish quirky response from Scriv 2.0. Other apps like Bean, TextWrangler, did not show same problems. After hours of work, I cleaned out the system.

Used Onyx 1.8.5 for cache cleanouts, app resets, permissions, BSD scripted maintenance ops, etc.
Used Disk Utility to verify/repair disk permissions (again).
“International” preference: unchecked all but “extended keyboard” input.
Trashed Finder preferences.
Trashed Growl and all traces of it.
Used System Prefs/User/Login to remove several non-vital startup items.
Tested with & without Dropbox and Typeit4me apps; these tested ok to use.
Did a number of user logout/login functions during all these housecleaning operations.

Result: entire Finder/menu/application responses speeded up by an order of magnitude;
Scrivener 2.02 response is now much, much faster. Keyboard input displays instantly on screen.

Conclusion: over time we add crud to our systems that is not vital to operation; caches and preferences get corrupted; creeping crud builds up that slows system responses down, but we don’t notice the slow deterioration in performance. In this case, I’m delighted with results. The hours of head-scratching and house-cleaning have been nicely rewarded. Scrivener 2 rocks!

Yea, I’ve been using Cocktail to perform this kind of maintenance. However that hasn’t improved the situation with Scrivener.

Hi, this sounds good. Could you please explain in more details what you have done? I’m not so experienced as a “Mac system cleaner” to understand what an “etc.” means :smiley:

I have Onyx. I used it to clean the caches on user level (which didn’t change anything). But what is an “app reset”? What do you mean by “permissions, BSD maintenance ops, etc.”?

Repair permissions I understand, but that’s done automatically every time I do a backup, so often enough. Or not?

How do you trash Finder preferences? (And why do you think this influences a problem like this one??)

Do you recommend not to use Growl, is this correct?

You’re the first to report that he was able to “heal” the lagging of Scrivener 2.0, so your experiences are of immense value for all of us who happen to be unhappy members of the “delay club”!

I’m sure no expert; and I spend more time head-scratching and second-guessing than anything else. I use the O’Reilly books as a guide, but I notice there’s also a lot of witchcraft and guesses involved when you bore deeply down into the trouble-shooting areas of even those superb guides. I’ll explain in more detail what I did. As I said, my overall system response is now an order of magnitude faster, downright “snappy,” and the lagging in Scrivener went completely away.

As for Onyx 1.8.5, I used the “Maintenance” menu, with three sub-windows, “Permissions,” “Scripts,” and “Resets.” Under permissions, there are check boxes for Daily, Weekly and Monthly BSD standard maintenance scripts. Perform those. Then make a note to do them on a regular basis.

Under “Reset” there are several choices. I chose the Spotlight Index reset, and down lower, the “LaunchServices” database “reset” button to remove and rebuild links between documents and applications.

I didn’t use the “Optimize” menu item in the next window.

Under the main menu “Cleaning” item I selected the “Caches” button and checked all four caches to delete: Applications, Font, System, and Kernal. Do a logout/login after.

Note that there is an “Automation” main menu item to schedule and automate all these various actions on an on-going basis.

“Disk Utility” is pretty straight-forward and a much quicker way to verify/repair permissions.

“Finder” preferences are in (user)/Library/Preferences/
Drag that file out to the trash, and do a logout/login and a new prefs file will be rebuilt.

Something with Growl got corrupted; it was dumping “recovered” files in my trash; I removed it, did a continuing Spotlight search to find all its many scattered script and helper files, used the “show in Finder” function to go to and trash all those pieces.

Go to system preferences under the “apple” logo, choose “accounts” and select the “login items” and there will be a list of items and “hide” checkboxes beside them. This takes some head-scratching, to figure which are essential or not. Some were obvious, and some involved an educated guess. HIghlight ones to remove, and click the “—” box under the window. I assume you can put it back later with the “+” button. I got rid of a lot of “fluff” stuff this way that was not essential to my system.

After a clean login/logout, I tested Dropbox and Typeit4Me by alternately disabling and enabling them; they had no effect on performance. They are valuable tools.

I had installed Linotype FontExplorerX ver. 1.2.3 (the ‘free’ version) … I disabled it from autostarting with system startup. I absolutely do not use or miss it now. I’ve found it to be useful in some functions, but the “autodetect” and “font cache cleaning” functions are buggy on my system and I no longer trust it. I’ve used it to organize a huge font folder collection, and now can use the system’s “” to set up collections for specialized doc layout & publish work.

My understanding is that these font handling apps get themselves between the fonts and the apps and the on-screen display and if corrupted can raise havoc with the process.

The “International” prefs pane is odd. I unchecked the top “character palette” option; went all the way to the bottom of those long listings, and made sure only the “extended keyboard” option was checked.

That’s about all I can say. These systems have grown so complex and interrelated that I’m convinced nobody can anticipate or diagnose all the possible permutations and interactions between the various parts and pieces. When we start tossing in all the extra “neat stuff” we’re adding to the confusion. I’ve got all the O’Reilly books for OS-X “Tiger” and have studied them till my eyes are permanently crossed and glassy. I am reminded of the OS-9 days when we would spend endless hours trashing preferences and disabling extensions and control panel items until we found the rotten apple. It strikes me that OS-X is much more difficult, because it won’t crash like OS-9 did when it bites a rotten apple; OS-X just gets a stomach ache and complains, but it keeps going.

So, I repeat my earlier assertion: over time we keep piling crud on top of crud, and there’s also a certain amount of corruption of cache and preference files that occurs, so we need to hang it out on the back fence and beat hell out of it with a broom every spring to knock all the bugs and debris out of it … just like Mom had me do as a kid every spring with all the rag rugs.


A follow-up:

If my previous posts seemed over-long or a shotgun approach to a specific problem, I apologize but I cannot offer more succinct info. I would like to stress, however, that the result has proven to be as I said earlier, an order of magnitude improvement in my old 933 mhz PowerPC Mac G4 running OS X 10.4.11. I realize the machine is obsolete, and folks have moved on to 10.5 and 10.6, so being able to run Scrivener 2.0.2 fast and snappy on this old Mac is a pure joy, now that whatever was dragging the machine down is exorcised. Odd thing: other apps like normal text or rtf editors or word processors didn’t show the typing lag like Scrivener did. So I hope the above house-cleaning advice and methods is of some use to someone.

Thanks for your patience.


It’s interesting that some other folks are having this issue. I certainly am. And tho I have followed the steps others have outlined, nothing has resolved the issue for me.

I’ve got a 13" MBP, 4 Gb RAM, running 10.6.6, and most of the time Scrivener 2 has a typing lag ranging from tiny hesitation every few characters, to massive lags that leave the screen unresponsive, then spit out whole words to catch up with me (and honestly, I just don’t type all that fast). It’s got at least a little lag whether I just rebooted, or the Mac’s been running for days, and whether Scrivener is running alone, or several other apps are running (tho the lags seem worse, subjectively, in when the Mac’s been running several apps for quite a while).

I use several other tools in which I type text:, Notebook, Yojimbo, Pages, and MacJournal, for instance. None of them ever have any sort of typing lag. In fact, Scrivener 1 didn’t have a typing lag so far as I ever noticed. So I’m looking for that one thing that Scrivener 2 doesn’t like (or vice versa).

I’ve tried removing various startup things, like Type Expander, Snapz Pro, Default Folder, Butler, Hazel, etc. No luck. I’ve also tried running Scrivener in another user account on this same Mac. Bingo. Works great there. That account has only the default startup items (tho some of them, like Default Folder, are set to run for all users). That other user account is for test only, so I don’t have much else running there – tho my normal user account is still running, so that must affect how much memory is available.

I’ve done a print out of Activity Monitor showing what processes are running in each account – one where Scrivener is laggy, and the other where it is not. I haven’t finished a complete comparison of the two lists yet. However, I have no idea what a lot of the items are, or what launches or uses them, so I’m not sure how valuable my comparison will be.

In the meantime, I feel like I’m thrashing about here. This is driving me bonkers. Does anyone else have suggestions?