Pages Find/Spell Check Unusably Slow?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by KimTwemlow, Aug 25, 2007.

  1. KimTwemlow macrumors newbie

    KimTwemlow

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    #1
    Does anyone else find that the Find and Spell Check functions in Pages are slow to the point of being unusable?

    I've tried them on a couple of long (80k words+) documents and every time I get the spinning beach-ball for several minutes. I thought the problem was with my machine but I just tried it on a MacBook Pro in a shop (after cutting and pasting my way to a long doc) and the result was the same.

    Is this a bug that's likely to be fixed or is Pages fundamentally useless for long documents? I normally use Nisus Writer Pro, which I'm quite happy with - I'm just curious!
     
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #2
    I don't have any massive Pages documents to test this on, but have you tried pasting the text into TextEdit to see if it's quicker there? I'm not offering this as a solution so much as a way of finding out if it's a Pages problem or an inherent system-wide spell checker problem. :)
     
  3. MacsAttack macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Location:
    Scotland
    #3
    No.

    Works fine on a Mac Pro, MacBook, and Mac Mini (G4 1.42) on the documents I'm working on at the moment.

    Have you checked memory usage and page-in/outs? If you are running on less than 1GB of memory (now the lowest amount Apple is shipping in any Mac - and Apple has never put enough memory into their base configurations - which is stupid when you consider the impact it has on the user experience) then you may not be getting the "optimum" user experience if you are running several apps at once :D.
     
  4. KimTwemlow thread starter macrumors newbie

    KimTwemlow

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    #4
    My own machine has a pitiful 768MB of RAM, granted, but every other word processor I own works fine. The MBP I tried in the shop had 2GB of RAM and it too choked on long Pages documents.

    I've had a look at Activity Monitor and while I can't pretend to understand everything that I'm seeing, I did spot that Pages sometimes accounts for up to 87, 88 % of CPU usage. Is that normal?!
     
  5. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #5
    Less RAM, G4 processors, long documents, no problems. I also use the check spelling as you type option, which sucks up even more processor juice than the batch spell checker, and it's never anything close to unusable. Do you experience this issue every time you check spelling?
     
  6. KimTwemlow thread starter macrumors newbie

    KimTwemlow

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    #6
    It happens every time on some documents - but not on every document.

    I have two old Word docs of similar length, for example, one of which causes no problems and one of which brings Pages to its knees. Both contain nothing but text.

    Leaving aside old imports, if I create a new document, type a few lines and then cut and paste them repeatedly until I have, say, a hundred pages, more often than not I find myself in beach-ball hell. But sometimes everything stays fine. It's weird. I've tried this with nothing else running, by the way, and that makes no difference. Pages just sometimes, for no apparent reason, has a fit.

    I've just noticed that my Open Recent menu option is permanently blank too. Maybe something went wrong in installation. I'll reinstall and see how that goes.

    Thanks for replying!
     
  7. MacsAttack macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Location:
    Scotland
    #7
    Something must be wrong...

    I just threw together a 1,000,000 word document (lots of copy and past ops from differnet documents).

    Pasting 20,000 to 50,000 words caused it to beachball for about 10 second and CPU usage peaked at about 20% for a minute or two while the check-spelling-while-typing thing got caught up.

    Then it leveled off at between 0 and 1% CPU usage. :eek:

    OK - this was on a Mac pro with 4 GB or memory, but even then I would have expecrted to see a bit more of a strain on things...

    One thought - are you running on a Power of intel system? Perhaps the intel version is better optomised.

    Another thought - if you are on an intel system could you somehow be running the Power part of the UB under Rosetta? That would make performance suck. Check the system info to see how it is identifying the iWork applications.
     
  8. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #8
    Instead of reinstalling, I'd try deleting the application preference file first.

    I find that Pages sometimes does get slow in general (not specific to spell checking, usually lagging with typing). I cure it by quitting Pages and restarting the application. I suspect a memory leak. Maybe this has been fixed with 3.0, but I don't have much experience with it yet.
     
  9. MacsAttack macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Location:
    Scotland
    #9
    I've been working on a 20K freelance writing job using version 3 over the last three days. I have had no problems with responsiveness. If there is a memory leak I have seen no ill effects (but I do have quite a bit of memory mind).

    The only real performance difference between 3 and 2 is that 3 loads much quicker - making me think Apple have done some major optimization on the intel code at least. I have not used it extensively on my G4 Mini, but the minor tests I ran after installation looked OK.
     
  10. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #10
    Just out of interest, are these Pages documents written in English? I agree that a reinstall won't necessarily help and will probably be a waste of time. There're usually better avenues to take beforehand. :)
     
  11. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #11
    I usually take a shower. I find that helps most of the time.
     
  12. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #12
    Take your Mac with you. Sometimes they need a bit of a good clean.
     
  13. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #13
    Isn't that just a bit of an electrocution risk?

    No, I'm going to stick with the dishwasher, pots and pans cycle.
     
  14. KimTwemlow thread starter macrumors newbie

    KimTwemlow

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    #14
    Did a reinstall (last refuge of the clueless). Made no difference, kell surpreez.

    The documents are in English, by the way. I had been assuming that it was something to do with the fact that they were old Word imports but, as I say, I can get the same result with native Page docs.

    Maybe my Mac is haunted by the ghost of an old engineer who was sacked by Apple on the very day that ... nah, probably not.
     
  15. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #15
    Does the same slowness happen in other apps like TextEdit or Safari? It'll be easier to troubleshoot the problem once we know exactly where it is sourced from. Also, buy a hammer so you can bop the naughty engineer on the head when you see him next.
     
  16. KimTwemlow thread starter macrumors newbie

    KimTwemlow

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    #16
    Pages is the only app that has this problem. And I'm using a PowerPC G4 1Ghz.

    It's certainly something to do with document length - it never happens on short docs.
     
  17. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #17
    Don't just buy the hammer, carry it with you everywhere. This is an opportunity you don't want to miss.

    Did you try throwing out the Pages preference file? It's called:

    com.apple.iWork.Pages.plist

    ...and it's in your user/Library/Perferences directory.

    The fact that your recent documents menu is screwed up suggests this is a problem (perhaps unrelated to the slowness, but worth trying).
     
  18. KimTwemlow thread starter macrumors newbie

    KimTwemlow

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    #18
    Just tried that (thought the reinstall had done it for me, to be honest - duh). Didn't make any difference, alas. Open Recent still showing nothing, too.

    I should have mentioned before that I'm using the trial version from Apple's website. Not that that should make any difference.

    Thanks for all the help!
     
  19. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #19
    Ah, I see. It will make a difference in terms of the recent documents list, since the trial version doesn't allow you to save any documents. I wonder if that's not part of your problem in fact. If you could save the documents you've opened as native Pages documents, I bet everything would run faster.
     
  20. KimTwemlow thread starter macrumors newbie

    KimTwemlow

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    #20
    No, the trial version does let me save them as Pages documents - and the problem persists.

    I guess it's just one of life's little mysteries!
     
  21. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #21
    That's funny -- I just learned something unexpectedly. My trial version didn't allow me to save or print anything until I "registered" it with Apple.

    So much for that idea.
     
  22. KimTwemlow thread starter macrumors newbie

    KimTwemlow

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    #22
    I think I'm getting somewhere.

    The documents that are giving me trouble are all Word X, while the ones that work all come from Word '98. Hard to believe I didn't notice that before. Even harder to believe that I didn't notice this: when I open the troublesome Word X docs I get the little dialog that tells me certain features didn't import, namely Text Frames - which have been converted to Text Boxes (I'd been blindly clicking past it, assuming it was unimportant).

    I have no idea why Pages thinks those X docs have Text Frames, but I suppose it makes more sense that it would choke on 80k words that it's holding in Text Boxes. The Frames aren't visible in the original and the Boxes aren't visible in the import, but I think this is some sort of an answer.

    Thanks for the help and apologies for not noticing the obvious before now!
     
  23. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #23
    I've never seen this with Word documents I've imported into Pages, but I'll certainly keep my eyes open to it from now on. If you select "show layout" in the Pages View menu, you can see text boxes, etc.
     

Share This Page