Speed with lots of documents

As others have mentioned, I’ve run into a slowdown that I find aversive. I think this is related to what others have said about slowness in outline mode.
This is the only one of my projects that has a speed issue. The project is very small, but has over 300 documents directly off the draft. So, only 1 level down, but lots of small documents. If I don’t click on the root in the binder there is no problem. It is fast. It also searches fast. But, clicking on the root the first time is a couple minutes with a not responding message. It can be fine, but switching to the outline mode can be slow. Things seem fine, then they get slow again later if I switch view modes. Rather like it is re-reading and then re-indexing.

The processor and ram are reasonable, the drive local SSD. I have much larger projects that are NEVER slow. So, the issue seems to be 316 small documents directly off the root folder.

I’m not sure what the issue is, so I’m asking for help. Here are my 4 ideas:

  1. You’ve got a lot of debugging code in during beta and this will go away when the final comes out. So, live with it.
  2. Over 300 documents directly off the draft root takes time to process. I could create say 10 subfolders with 20 - 40 documents in each. I don’t want to do this if it is a waste of time, but would rather do it if it is the solution and the problem will persist.
  3. I’ve got some corruption somehow, and need to clean that up.
  4. Something else.

I did compile the entire project with section labels to RTF in just a few seconds which Libre Office opens quickly to a 53 page document. Since it compiles quickly, Scrivener can obviously read and process the entire file quickly, so what is the deal with outline or scrivenings mode?

Both outline and Scrivenings mode require Scrivener to load, process, and display each individual file and hold the entire contents in memory. The need to display everything makes it a particularly memory-intensive task.

I haven’t tested something like this with either the Mac or the Windows release version, so I don’t know if you’re also seeing beta-specific issues. But your description doesn’t sound particularly abnormal. If you weren’t using the beta and wrote the same query, I’d advise you to add some structure to your outline.


That’s the problem. I had a similar test project, with 400 pages and 12 words in each one. Yeah. Just 5000 words. Same issue.

I’m willing to bet this is the issue. I have NOT tested to see if putting those 400 files in a structure will make Scrivener process faster. Hmm. I will check, though. Easy enough to recreate the project (copy x 399) and test it.

So, first new test, 512 docs of 5 words each causes no problem.

Second test, 512 docs of 147 words (I used Project Replace) also causes no problems. The outliner responds fine.

Third test, 512 docs of 4407 words causes an issue; the outliner slows incredibly. We’re at 2.2 million words… It took about 3 minutes to process when I clicked on the Manuscript folder.

Fourth test, moving 32-128 docs at a time into Chapters reduced response time incredibly. At 64 docs, copying became a bit slow, and at 128 it seemed to crawl. But once done, the outliner seemed to do just fine (seconds, not minutes, even when a 128-doc chapter was expanded in the outliner).

My box is a Ryzen 5, 16 GB ram, hundreds of GB free on the spinning rust piles.

Given this result, 4 chapters would likely work.

OK. I subdivided it into 7 major sections and that resolved the issue pretty much. One section might subdivide further, but it is perfectly usable this way.