Stubborn PDF-lag issue

Up to Mavericks 10.9.2, and still no relief from the stuttering/laggy scrolling issues with PDFs, which started with 10.9. Anyone else? Any ideas?

I haven’t heard anything in regards to scrolling issues. There were (and maybe still are on some systems) bugs with display when 10.9 first came out, notably white boxes would “creep” into the display while scrolling. I haven’t seen that happen in a while, even though I’ve switched back to “continuous” display mode from page break mode.

What method of scrolling are you using? I tested with the Scrivener user manual (528 pages). I dropped that into a Binder and then clicked on the scroll bar and rapidly moved it around. I could not perceive in lag at all with hits. Scrolling past hundreds of pages was instantaneous, and it always stopped on a dime when I let go of the scroller. I also tested with PgUp/Down keys and the mouse wheel.

Something to check is overall system resource usage. This is the type of thing that could be negatively impacted by high CPU or graphics card usage. Do you have anything else running in the background (such as a web browser) that may be chewing through computer resources?

It only lags when I’m zoomed in on a PDF. “Actual size” scrolls fine. Unfortunately, I typically need to zoom in to read PDFs on my Mac. Sometimes I can find a zoomed-in “sweet spot,” where the scrolling seems more or less fine, but that’s more art than science, and trying to find it gets pretty annoying pretty fast.
Mavericks often shows Scrivener as the only app that’s “Using Significant Energy”. But I’m not noticing any battery drain issue, so I don’t think there’s a ton of energy usage there. The utility program doesn’t show much memory pressure.
This is a brand new 2013 MacBook Air. I haven’t called Apple yet, but you know that they’ll just blame the third party in this case anyway, since Preview scrolls smooth as silk. Any thoughts are appreciated.

I am experiencing the same problem. I checked activity monitor and scrivener is using a whooping >80% of CPU resources. Sometimes if I scroll quickly Scrivener would crash. It definitely has to do with specific pdfs: I imported the user manual onto a Scrivener file and I could scroll smoothly like you said, but with most journal articles Scrivener is practically rendered useless by the lag.

For instance,

This measly 8 pages PDF is murdering my brand new rMBP 15. LIke OP said, it is definitely fine on Preview. I am on trial and really would like to purchase Scrivener, but this is a deal breaker since I work with journal articles all the time.

I do get some stuttering with that one. It’s certainly not awful to the point of being a deal breaker, but given how unoptimised this PDF is, that could vary widely depending upon the computer model. Strange, since I’m using the rMBP as well—though it’s the original model. I should be seeing worse performance. There may still be some other factor exacerbating things. I’m usually a pretty good tester for performance drops since I tend to have over two dozen programs running at once, some very heavyweight like Windows 7 & Linux running in virtual machines and Photoshop. Thus it may be less raw performance and perhaps some specific process that is running in the background. You could try rebooting with the Shift key held down to inhibit extension and background software loading to see if there is a conflict.

Drop this PDF into DEVONthink Pro, EagleFiler or anything else that uses stock PDF Kit and you’ll find the same exact problems. Skim seems to be the notable exception, but given their entire operation is reading PDF files, they’ve probably done a lot of work on top of the vanilla engine.

Interestingly enough, this PDF performs horribly (even worse than PDF Kit) in Adobe Acrobat Pro (didn’t test stock Reader). I’m not sure why it is so problematic. Obviously, it’s a rasterised camera scan of a printed copy with an OCR layer, so it’s never going to be as efficient as a font & text based PDF, but it’s interesting that it causes this much difficulty.

Anyway, the reason I opened it in Acrobat Pro in the first place was to see if there was something that could be done to fix it. I downsampled the DPI to 150, which should be plenty for a computer screen, and the resulting PDF performs flawlessly in Scrivener. It also dropped the file size a bit, something that I’m sure would result in large savings over great quantities. If you work with a lot of PDF, I can’t recommend Acrobat Pro enough. It’s expensive, but when you come across something like this that is needlessly bloated or that has corruption problems and is crashing viewers, it can make the world a little more sane. :slight_smile:

If you do have Acrobat pro, run Preflight downsample to 150 ppi, in the PDF Fixups section. Automating this into a batch run would be the best approach.

Hope the trial continues to go well, but since it seems only Preview and Skim can deal with this thing without a profusion of millisecond stutters, you might be looking for a while. Just out of curiosity, it sounds like you already have a system that can handle these, is there any reason why it couldn’t be coupled with Scrivener? Having the PDF in the split view is nice and all, but there are lots of people here that use secondary archival applications, particular in the sciences and such, where bogging down your primary writing platform with hundreds, even thousands of PDFs isn’t feasible and only offers minimal productivity gain for most; gains are quickly outweighed by cons (such as a project that you can only rarely back up).

I just wanted to mention I experienced this problem yesterday. I’m on a brand new Retina MacBook Pro 15 inch with 16GB memory, 2.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.4GHz.

And it happens as someone says above – zoom in to a PDF to make it readable, and then start scrolling. Soon it crashes Scrivener. And yes, in the activity monitor utility, Scrivener usage moves up to 80-90% as I’m scrolling.

For now I’m going to use Adobe Reader to view the files externally, but it’s a bit of an inconvenience. Would be great to just view zoomed in PDFs right in the window.

As far as I know, nothing has changed with the situation on Apple’s front. It is possible that some of these issues may go away once we are able to upgrade Scrivener to 64-bit (a rather major job), the 32-bit PDF Kit viewer is significantly buggier, and it doesn’t appear that Apple has even touched it since 10.8—this abandonment is no doubt the source of many of its current issues.

It’s a bit of a rock and a hard place problem right now.