weird text selection issue *UPDATED

I am in the final stages of a rushed thesis writeup and am encountering an issue that is occurring with increasing frequency.
It is a little tricky for me to explain the exact problem sorry, hopefully this makes sense!..

When the problem occurs, I will be attempting to write in the (normal?) document view mode and if I click on the text to select a new cursor position, instead of just moving the cursor, it selects the entire section of text between my previous cursor position and my new one, as if I had been holding the shift button. (I have no issues with random capitols to suggest a sticky shift key!)

This has caused major problems, as often I will click somewhere to add a word, and end up replacing a large section of text with that word. Once this resulted in the permanent loss of some precious paragraphs before I realised what had happened!

Once this issue occurs it continues until I save, close and reopen the entire file. It also seems to be associated with a general lack of responsiveness from the program (ie it is slow to undo etc) but thankfully it seems to save ok so I then close and reopen the file.

Any ideas?

Ok so more generally…

what is the plan of action when there is a weird unexplainable issue?
reinstall? is this a big undertaking?
delete plists? what else could I try?
I’m not hugely tech savvy, can someone point me in the right direction?

With the permanent loss, even Undo couldn’t bring it back? I have certainly seen input glitches before—a keyboard got liquid spilled in it ages ago and now it periodically short-circuits, or trackpads flip out, especially wireless equipment when the system is under heavy CPU or networking load, but I’m always able to undo the results (assuming the software that received the barrage is capable of doing so), as even though it is an input glitch, it is still a sequence of input commands, no different than if you had taken them yourself.

But it does sound like a sticky shift key. To rule out software influence, I’d check for, and disable, and third-party enhancement tools, such as BetterTouchTool, or make sure they are up to date. For me, a good 90% of input event glitches are the result of running a power tool like that. Hardware is the next thing to worry about. If you can, try another keyboard for a while. Sometimes keyboards, especially membrane or rubber-dome based keys (the soft squishy kind that Apple doesn’t even make any more) can simply wear out over time and lose their accuracy.

Thanks Amber.
Usually undo brings things back but in that one instance I had not realised what had happened and I saved my work and restarted scrivener (to try and deal with the ongoing issue) without undoing first.

Its definitely a larger problem than could be caused by a keyboard issue. After encountering the problem numerous times this morning I can conclude that it represents a major freak-out from the software. Typing is slow or only shows up when I click, changing between files in the binder is slow or unresponsive, sometimes the scrivener window won’t even come to the front when change apps and back again!

I’m very willing to accept that this is a problem with my computer and not inherent to the software, but as the issues are isolated to this application for me I’m not sure what the best next step is.

I don’t use any enhancement tools or anything like that. As far as I’m aware scrivener should not be interacting with any other apps on my machine.

I see, I missed that you are also experiencing a very slow system. Recall what I said earlier about running under high system load, if for some reason your computer is running at high usage rates, or running very low on resources, either of those can cause input problems, depending on your devices. I agree, it’s a good idea to look into why everything is slow, first, as the sticky shift thing might just be a symptom.

The slowdowns you are describing almost sound to me like your computer is running critically low on resources, rather than there being perhaps a problem with the project you are working on.

But before going to far into that, first make sure this isn’t just an issue with the project. Close the project, and use the File/New Project… menu command to create a new one, using the “Blank” starter. How does that one feel? What if you paste some text into it and type for a bit? Make a few documents and switch around. Now try loading the thesis project in parallel. Does the whole program immediately slow down? Or does just the main project window run slow, while the blank test project continues to run quickly?

Do a quick check of your hard drive free space as well. The symptoms you are describing sound a lot like a computer that doesn’t have much left to work with, in terms of drive space. A healthy system needs at least 15% of the drive left empty. You can check that by going to Finder and using the Go/Computer menu command. You’ll see “Network”, your main disk (usually with a silver icon), and anything else that is plugged in such as flash or external USB drives. Click on your main disk and use File/Get Info. Your usage status will be in the “General” section. Make sure “Used” does not exceed 85% of “Capacity”. I’d say anywhere between 15 and maybe 8 percent is where you would want to do some serious cleaning as soon as possible, but you shouldn’t see any major issues. Anything below 8% is entering the critical range—you could start experiencing data loss and overall instability, especially if it is run this way for an extended period of time without reboots. This would usually impact everything you do though, not just one program.

I would also check “CPU” usage that can be thought of as how much calculation the machine is doing at once. Again, from Finder, use the Go/Utilities menu command, and double-click on the Activity Monitor icon. Click on the CPU tab if necessary, and sort by “% CPU”. Is Scrivener using more than, say, 25% consistently? Is anything else using a 80% or more consistently? Web browsers are the big culprit here. Modern sites are festering with advertisements and such that can end up getting stuck, and continue running even after you’ve moved on to other pages. I try to restart my browser at least twice a day.

Thanks I’ll have a play around with those things especially a fresh scrivener file.