Speed on Leopard

Once again, Apple has shipped an OS that is faster on old hardware than the previous iteration was.

I don’t see quite the difference between Leopard and Tiger as I did between Tiger and Panther, but the difference is there.

Unfortunately, that speed up did not apply to Scrivener. Scrivener is markedly slower, often with long delays between keystrokes. It’s not so bad when editing one passage, but when doing an “Edit Scrivenings” it’s night-unto unusable on my AlPBG4.

How much RAM do you have? I don’t own Leopard but I had the same problem with larger text blocks in Ulysses before upgrading to more RAM.

I’ve got 1Gb. I’ve got a lot going on on my machine, but until the change to Leopard, I was was quite happily editing Scrivenings with no slow down.

There is no reason this should be happening. Scrivener has been fast on all configurations of Leopard and machines running Leopard on which I have tested it.

Sorry, I don’t know what to tell you as I cannot see any reason this should be happening. Is anyone else experiencing this?

On my machine, Scrivener runs much more quickly on the Leopard partition than it does on the Tiger partition.


If anything, it seems a little faster to me under Leopard. I’ve only had one application slow down for me, since the upgrade, and it is running under Rosetta.

I’ve also had this problem, and I have a brand new iMac w/ 2GB. In fact, it seemed that it was Scrivener that was making my machine unresponsive–Scrivener and my other apps wouldn’t work. I couldn’t even force quit applications. I had to cut the power to reboot.

Now it seems to be working, but it is slow–on top of the time taken to update old docs. I also get this messages “searching for strings” or something like that when I’m trying open Scrivener binders.

I also found that the new version was very slow on my laptop which has Tiger.

For me, every time I threw out preferences (after updating) , Scrivener went like the clappers. Of course you must enter again your serial etc.

That is definitely something to consider. Older versions of Scrivener stored a lot of project specific information in the global preferences file. If you have been using Scrivener since its earliest versions, you might have a preference file full of junk that is no longer being used. Easiest way to keep your relevant settings is to use the preference export feature at the bottom of the preference pane to save everything out. This will only save the parts that are necessary, it doesn’t just duplicate the plist file. Then delete your Scrivener preference file, and import the file the the export process created to restore your font settings and so on.

Another thing to check in preferences is to make sure that the “Enable Subversion/CSV-compatible saving” is turned off unless you really need it. This uses a much slower mechanism for loading and saving project files, which is necessary for versioning systems to correctly handle Scrivener projects.

Thanks, Amber, but can you elaborate a bit more for us non-techies? Precisely which Scrivener preference file is OK to delete and where is it located? I seem to have two such files – com.kayembi.scrivener.plist and
com.literatureandlatte.scrivener.plist. When I export preferences, I get a file called ScrivenerPreferences.prefs. Do I replace the plist files with this one? I’m still using Tiger, if it matters. thanks.

you can delete:


Actually you can delete both, unless you are actually still using Scrivener Gold. That is the old, old preference file. And the ScrivenerPreferences.pref file is not a replacement for the plist file you deleted. It is a specific set of instructions to restore key parts of the plist file to your liking. You can use these files to save sets of preferences for different projects, for example.

To restore your settings, load of Scrivener after deleting the original preference file, input your registration information, go to Preferences, and use the same drop-down you used to create the .pref file to find it again and load it. All of your relevant settings should be saved.

Doing this will cut out all of the “fat” that might have accumulated in that file for whatever reason, and just restore the important parts.

Yes, deleting the preferences is certainly one thing to try. I have to say that I am dumbfounded by this, as the 1.1x on Tiger and Leopard is much faster on the machines I have used for testing - including an old iBook G4. The “Synchronizing Strings” message will only appear if a project hasn’t been closed down properly (e.g. if you have forced quit or closed down the computer with Scrivener open - although that should have asked you to save your projects and closed Scrivener normally). It is actually a feature to make Scrivener faster. By only saving string information (which is only used for Spotlight searches) upon exit, the auto-save works much quicker.

It is always worth checking the Console to see if anything comes up there.

Also, what exactly is slow? Editing? Or what? There is absolutely no technical reason for this on Scrivener’s side…


Actually, everything is slow.

I just opened the app from my app folder. It took a while to load. It showed the last document that I had open so I thought I didn’t close it properly. So I tried to go to find the quit function in the menu bar, but I got the spinning wheel. Now I used the “close all” function, and it still has not closed in the time it has taken me to type this. Still open. . . still open.

It is slow in:
opening documents
inserting new words [Okay, finally the project closed.]
moving the cursor to insert words at an earlier point
making the binder switch in and out of cork board model, etc.

I just tried opening a scriv project in my documents folder: no problem.
Then I tried to open a different scriv project in my iDisk documents folder: it is slow. Just as slow to close. I’m trying this for the second time now. Still slow to open. Still slow . . .

Woah - on your iDisk folder? Well, that would definitely be slower than in your Documents folder. You have to remember that .scriv files aren’t like RTF files or DOC files - the auto-save saves every two seconds of non-activity into the folder, and on an iDisk this is going to a lot slower than on your hard drive. Try setting the auto-save period to a minute in the preferences.


For me it’s simply editing I am ALWAYS getting ahead of the display. It’s not quite so bad when editing only one document, but when editing Scrivenings it’s horrifyingly slow. I’m going to try the preferences trick tonight when I get home and see if that helps.

I’m also going to shut down everything else and see if that makes things faster. My machine always has a lot going on. Of course that “lot” worked just fine on Tiger.

I don’t see the same slowdowns in other apps such as Mail or Adium both of which see me typing quite frenetically throughout the day.


The trouble is, like I say, there is nothing from a technical standpoint in Scrivener that could cause this. I am pretty confident about this. Technically, Scrivener should be faster on Leopard - and indeed it is for many users, it would seem. Certainly typing should not be slow at all. Try downloading the new beta, which uses a faster text layout method on Leopard, too. And yes, try deleting the preferences.

I know it’s not much help, me saying that it shouldn’t be the case when you are seeing this (obviously it’s not that I don’t believe you), it’s just that it is very difficult for me to do anything when I can’t see this in action and when everything is set up to work as it should…

All the best,

Aha–using the iDisk may have been the problem for me. I work on a desktop at home and was using the iDisk to look at notes and PDFs on my laptop at a seminar on campus.

I often keep Word documents that I’m actively working on in my iDisk folder to save me an extra step of transferring back and forth. But for Scrivener, it seems that I must use the iDisk for transferring only.

It might be worth it to write this down somewhere readily accessible to users since this is a Mac program and many of us have .Mac accounts.

I hope this was indeed the problem because I was having problems with Scrivener on my laptop while on campus.


This definitely makes sense… Word documents, RTF files etc get loaded into memory when they are opened (at least I would expect they do), so there is no speed hit because you aren’t writing directly to disk. The files for these formats - even .doc - are generally much smaller in size, too, so they take less time to write to disk. Scrivener’s package format means that it needs to write directly to disk. There is no really good reason an individual text document in Scrivener should be slow during editing, unless it is the auto-save feature kicking in - that would definitely cause a lag before you could continue typing.


I know the situation! I’ve been there and done that. I manage a software development team, so I know the drill.

I’m buried by work at the moment so I have yet to do the preferences thing. I’ll do the beta thing too and see what happens.

Thanks for having an open mind on this!


Hi guys,

I just upgraded to 1.10. Does anyone else lose Scrivener when they press Stats?