Typing Lag, Windows 10 Laptop

I’ve read a number of threads on this, but haven’t found the answer to my problem. I have a powerful Dell XPS laptop running Windows 10 (always updated), and when I type in Scrivener, the lag is so bad that it’s unusable. I’ve tried tweaking the various Save and Backup settings suggestions from other threads. Nada.

When I type in Word on my laptop, there’s no lag, so it’s not my machine. And when I use Scrivener on my Windows 7 desktop computer, there’s no lag. I’ve examined resource usage on my laptop, and am not seeing Scrivener using excessive memory or CPU. I’m at a loss, and do not want to return to Word, but may have to. The lag is usually a second or more; if I’m typing fast, it can be longer, to the point where Scrivener doesn’t catch up for a full sentence.

Thanks for any help.


Where are you storing your scrivener documents? - Local drive, usb stick? cloud?

If local, what kind of drive is it? SSD? 5400 rpm hdd? - Is it full?

Have you any way to test the media on your drive if you are storing locally? Perhaps a chkdsk /r

How big is the scrivener project?

Hi Steve,

Thanks for your questions. I’m storing locally to my SSD. The drive isn’t near full. And everything else on the laptop zips along, including Word. If the drive was the problem, I’d notice it almost everywhere.

Project is about 1 MB, so not very big.

Well that’s a bummer. All the usual suspects have alibis.

Antivirus? Have you tried disabling that? Can you think of anything running in the background that you could shut down that might possibly be causing the conflict?

I assume the backup is also going to the SSD so with a 1 meg project file that can’t be it. Any auxiliary spell checker or grammar checker from outside of Scrivener?

Scrivener should be faster than word. The project is small. Scrivener works fine in Windows 10. SSDs are fast. Local storage should be essentially instantaneous and no lag should be perceived.

Any connections to Web? Images on web? Background web backup?

Thanks for all your help with this, Steve. I’ve discovered something interesting. When I’m not typing in the main manuscript window – say, for example, I’m typing on an index card – there’s no lag at all. It’s only in the main manuscript window that the lag occurs. Does that spark any ideas?


This may be way off base, but what kind of formatting do you have set up as standard for new documents? I wonder if there could be something there (a font for instance) that is causing Windows 10 to get its knickers in a twist.

Hi David,

I have it set up for Courier New, so no unusual fonts in use. I’m mystified. I’ve emailed support, and hope they can help.


OK, good luck, Keith. I’m still on Windows 7, so I don’t have anything to compare.

I have the exact same problem. I run a Surface Book with an i7 processor that runs Photoshop and Indesign perfectly. Nothing else has lagged. I have tried switching everything off that might cause a lag and nothing works. I have the trial version and sadly won’t be buying the full version as it would be a waste of money. Time for me to look for alternatives I think.

How did you set the time laps for automatic saves? Ten seconds, 1 second?


I’ve already tried that. I have it for every 60 seconds, so that’s not the problem.

Darren, I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you.

I have definitively discovered the problem; it’s simply the word count in the main manuscript window. When I start a new blank window, there’s no typing lag. When I reach around 30k words, lag starts creeping in, and gets progressively worse. This behavior is consistent and repeatable; I’ve tested it thoroughly.

And as I said originally, it doesn’t happen on my desktop, or in other programs on my laptop, most especially Word. I have an i7 proc and 8 GB RAM, and monitoring my system resources shows that the problem doesn’t lie there. It’s a shame, because I love Scrivener.

Are you having the whole 30k words in one document or are you using Scrivenings mode to view the whole manuscript simulataneousl? In both cases, why?

While I would normally be on the side of “work how it works best for you to work,” I have to agree with Lunk here. Scrivener is designed so that your information can be more easily divided into small, discrete chunks. You can’t see the entire project on your screen at a time, anyway, so is there a purpose to having it all in a single document and not simply dividing into smaller pieces? Not being antagonistic, just trying to understand your process in an attempt to help make it work with Scrivener.

That’s my workflow. I don’t see any need to “chunk” my work up. I haven’t ever tried Scrivenings mode, but it shouldn’t matter anyway. Scrivener is often called a superior writing app as compared to Word. I have always agreed, up until recently. But Word doesn’t force me to split up my manuscript, and Scrivener shouldn’t either.

I assumed the whole idea was to let writers work as they wanted; if artificial limits are imposed by the program, then that program becomes a less-attractive alternative.

(NOTE: No snippiness intended here, and I hope it doesn’t come across that way. Sorry if it does. It just seems odd that a program which is supposedly all about writing freedom would impose such a strange limitation.)

THAT SAID: can someone summarize the advantages of breaking your work up into sections (which, I gather, is Scrivenings mode), rather than just writing it all in one document? I use plenty of features like index cards and find them enormously useful; maybe this is something I should explore.

Well, at the most basic level, a 30K word chunk of text with no breaks is essentially unreadable. You’re going to want to have some kind of structure in the output document for the sake of your readers anyway. If that structure exists in the Binder, Scrivener allows you to use it to fulfill a variety of authorial needs, too: keywords to show you what topics are covered where, status to show you which sections still need editing, etc.

Since you already use index cards, presumably to help organize the information you plan to present, building the manuscript directly on the frame that you’ve already created seems more natural to me than what you’re doing. If you already have a Binder item for “Chapter 1, Scene 2, Boy Meets Girl,” why wouldn’t you then proceed to write the scene in that document?

Chunks are also enormously easier to deal with when editing time rolls around. I don’t know about you, but for me trying to cut a 600 word chunk from the middle of a Word document and successfully paste it in exactly the right place is a quick route to misaligned cut and paste commands leading to gibberish. Much easier to split into chunks, drag the chunks around in the Binder, and glue them back together. Much easier to find the section I want when it has its own sub-document, rather than being buried in a 30,000 word block of text.


And then, once you have the document in smaller chunks the way Katherine described, you have a lot more tools open to you at how you look at your document. Now you can use meta-data and Collections to tag those chunks for things like POV, timeline, etc., and then look at just how those chunks that make up a single POV in a multi-POV story flow together. Is the arc they tell cohesive or missing stuff? And you can do this without having to make any edits to the source chunks – so filter it down, look at the collection, then add/remove/edit/move around as you see fit.

Oh, the pullquote for a chapter doesn’t match it as well as another one after a round of edits? Swap them around. Easy peasy. Nothing else needs tweaked.

Use labels and status to track which parts you’re solid on and which ones need work. If you’ve shopped a portion of the story out, you can track that too. You can use the notes to track feedback on individual scenes and interactions.

Re-write a scene or two but not sure you’re going to love it? Take a snapshot of the relevant chunks. You can instantly revert them without losing the work you’ve done, compare them and play with them.

Once you have the chunks strung together the way you want them, THEN you can worry about they translate back into a logical format. That’s what the Compiler is for. You don’t have to worry about stripping out all those notes and metadata, making sure all the formatting is the same and all the scene separators are the same. The Compiler stitches all the chunks together according to the hierarchy and settings you specify and makes sure things are consistent. Boom – instant review-ready draft to send out to your writing group, your collaborator, your agent, your editor.

Hi Devin (and everyone else),

Thanks for all your help with this! I obviously need to wrap my mind around this “new window per chapter” (which to my Word-trained mind sorta feels like “new document every chapter”) idea. I can begin to see the advantages, and you’ve laid them out well, Devin and Katherine. I’m near the end of my long book, but have started using this “chunk” method now. I’ll apply it in the future.

It’s gratifying to get so much help from the community. You folks are the best!


I am having the same issue as the OP.

In my case, it has little if anything to do with the amount of text in my editor (I have my documents split up sensibly). It seems directly related to the number of pixels being rendered by the text.

100% zoom in 1920x1080 resolution corresponds “meh, ok, but not great” performance when I type.

600% zoom in 1920x1080 is “Ehrmagerd, I’m typing through molasses!”

It gets worse when I have my resolution set to 4k UHD (3840x2160).

Having to type in 100% zoom is really defeating the purpose of my having bought a 27" 4k UHD monitor. The editor text is just way too tiny with 100% zoom, and isn’t centred in the editor window. The only way it centres is if I crank it to 600% zoom, which is larger than I need to see what I’m doing without eyestrain, but any smaller and I have to permanently rotate my head to the left to look at what’s being typed on the screen.