Why are footnotes causing Scrivener to freeze?

On Scrivener 3 (Windows), I have two files, each with over 5,000 words of text. The first has no footnotes, and it opens immediately when clicked on. The second has about 100 footnotes (which themselves only contain a few words each), and it loads extremely slowly (or, rather, it causes Scrivener to momentarily freeze). Once the page is open, however, there is no further slowness. There are no other significant differences between the two files, which tells me that the footnotes are responsible for the lag time.

How can this be fixed?

If this were my PC behaving oddly with my projects, I’d want to confirm that the project loading more slowly doesn’t have any media files, photos, web links or other items. Those kinds of materials could cause the differences in load times between the two projects.

I’d also confirm that each project is stored to the same place on my PC. Sometimes, a project that’s stored to an external drive or a cloud server could have slower loading times than one on the hard drive.

If all of that checks out and the two projects have similar file sizes when I checked them in Windows File Explorer, my next test would be to go to Scrivener’s File menu and select “Save and Rebuild Search Indexes” in the project with the slow loading times.

Since the second project has footnotes, it’s possible that rebuilding the search index might get the project to load more smoothly. (On a Mac, holding the Option key and then clicking Scrivener’s File menu will show that “Save and Rebuild Search Indexes” tool.)

If the loading lags continue after rebuilding the search indexes, then contacting support might be warranted.

Thank you RuthS! Neither of the documents contain media files (etc), and both of them are stored in the same place on the PC. The only significant difference between the files is the existence of footnotes.

I tried “Save and Rebuild Search Indexes”, but unfortunately there was no improvement.

Hmm… That’s intriguing. By chance, did you copy and paste any text from another program (or perhaps a website) into the project that is lagging? If so, you might review the documents that were brought in from another source.

With this, I’d review for any strange fonts, spacing, or odd/invisible characters in the pasted/imported material that might be causing the lagging issues. We have seen cases where pasted material had some formatting that resulted in slower loading times or other errors.

Most users probably already rely on the “Paste and Match Style” option when bringing text into Scrivener. However, it’s certainly easy to forget to use that tool and bring in formatting from another source. (I know I forget to use the “match style” option at least once a day on my own projects, for what it’s worth.)

Hi RuthS. Unfortunately it’s none of those issues either. I typed both of the documents myself, and there’s no significant difference between them except for the footnotes.

I should clarify: it’s not just one footnoted document that is lagging. All of my documents without footnotes open immediately. And all of those which have some footnotes open a bit more slowly. And all of those with lots of footnotes open extremely slowly.

If you have a document with 5000 words and 100 footnotes, I’m not surprised it’s slow to open. Large numbers of inspector footnotes or comments take time to load.

I’d either:

split the document into smaller chunks—always a good idea in Scrivener anyway as it is designed with that in mind—and work on them individually, only using Scrivenings mode when you really need to see it all pulled together, or

Think about converting your inspector footnotes to in-line footnotes, which will remove the loading impact.



Mark, converting the inspector notes to inline footnotes solved the problem, thank you. I only wish the inspector footnotes were quicker to load.