MAQXDA slowing down - because of big file size?

Moderator: srueger

MAQXDA slowing down - because of big file size?

04.06.2017, 18:47


My MAXQDA12 has begun slowing down and stalling a lot.

Often the program stops responding for several seconds. This happens especially when opening larger text files in my Document System. The program gets particularly slow when in the Coded Segments menu opening any segments from the larger text files or from image PDFs.

(My largest text file is about 570,000 characters (with spaces).)

It is becoming increasingly difficult to work and I worry about the long-term usability of my MAXQDA archive.

What to do?

Thank you

Version: MAXQDA 12
System: Windows 10
Posts: 17
Joined: 08.07.2015, 16:41

Re: MAQXDA slowing down - because of big file size?

10.06.2017, 16:13

Have you received a reply to this post from last wk? Both the performance issues you describe and the silence of the developers are really unacceptable in software at this price point (or hundreds of dollars less, frankly).

I purchased maxqda a few else ago for a project which will be running for the next 15 months, but the issues you report make me nervous about committing my data to it. Especially if the developers don't find you request worthy of a response.
Posts: 52
Joined: 01.04.2017, 18:22

Re: MAQXDA slowing down - because of big file size?

12.06.2017, 15:36

Dear lauri,

I'm very sorry for this late reply! We had some unusual shortages in staff over the last week, and as a result, your question has not been answered in the appropriate time. But please be assured that we take questions about the performance of MAXQDA-projects very seriously!

However, it's difficult to tell what is going on with your project from afar. I have seen project files with hundreds ofs PDFs running smoothley, while others take quite long for just a couple of files. The reason for this is that the perfomance depends to a large degree upon the quality of the PDF-file. If you can open them fast in another PDF-reader like Foxit, then it's almost certain that they will also be processed fast in MAXQDA because we use the same engine. If however the PDF has multiple layers or is really huge, then it will take a while to process them (with MAXQDA or any other program).

Moreover, it is advisable to not integrate PDFs that are larger then 5MB directly in the project file (most people tend to ignore the build-in-warning from what I see).

With simple text files however, there should be absolutely no performance-issues whatsoever, or at least not with just half a million characters.. so there might be something else going on that we are currently unaware of.

We have contacted you via E-Mail to ask for your project, so that we can analyse what exactly is going on.
Andreas V.

Re: MAQXDA slowing down - because of big file size?

26.06.2017, 20:41

Dear Derick

I received a response on June 12. i have now sent my project file to the staff. Hoping this can be solved.
Posts: 17
Joined: 08.07.2015, 16:41

Re: MAQXDA slowing down - because of big file size?

13.09.2017, 20:27

Hi there,

I have been experiencing similar issues with my project in recent weeks. Coding had initially been very easy, but now the program becomes unresponsive and has difficulty closing. The total number of Word documents I've coded is less than 20 and none of the individual files are anywhere close to 1 MB in size.

Posts: 3
Joined: 13.09.2017, 20:23

Re: MAQXDA slowing down - because of big file size?

14.09.2017, 10:18

Dear Alan,

thank your for bringing this to our attention. To find out what's going on, I have just sent you an email asking for your project file. My educated guess would be that this happened because at one point, the usb drive disconnected and reconnected while MAXQDA was saving data to the project file. One will most probably only realize that this dis- and reconnecting has happened if windows system sounds are activated. From my experience, it's almost always either this or a cloud-service making problems.
However, this is just speaking from experience. I am not at liberty to discuss anything related to our clients in public, so there will be no update on this or any other support case here from my side.
Kind regards,

Andreas V.

Re: MAQXDA slowing down - because of big file size?

23.11.2017, 22:59

Hello Alan260 and Lauri,

I am trying to decide if MAXQDA is the right software to use for a project with a large volume of data (text transcripts of 70 interviews) Could you tell me if this problem you were experiencing with MAXQDA slowing down has been resolved to your satisfaction?

Thank you!
Posts: 3
Joined: 23.11.2017, 22:48

Re: MAQXDA slowing down - because of big file size?

13.12.2017, 21:57


1) Does anyone know if MaxQDA 2018 has overcome or at least improved these issues hindering the program performance?
I am doing some tests with a project to which I imported a single Word document and the program sometimes requires a long time for responding. Even a simple coding takes some seconds. Sometimes the program crashed as well (unfortunately there is no way to send a crash report to the developers in order to let them investigate under which conditions it happens more often).

2) Could someone please give some hints on how to improve MaxQDA performance? Is there any relationship with:
- the type of the document(s) imported (rtf, doc/x, pdf etc.)
- the size of the document(s) imported
- eventually the number of formats or special elements included in these documents
- the number of codes used

I am running MaxQDA 2018 on a laptop with Win10 and 8 GB RAM.

3) Finally, could I send to the MaxQDA technical team the document I am working on to be analysed (maybe it would be easier to find out possible causes of the problem, provided that the document will be dealt with confidentiality)?

Many thanks!
Posts: 12
Joined: 09.12.2017, 23:17

Re: MAQXDA slowing down - because of big file size?

14.12.2017, 16:22

Hello TGR,

thank you very much for telling us about this issue and asking questions! Let me go through your questions one by one:

1) I heavily suspect that your Word-Document contains either tables or special objects? There are no known issues (and never have been since I work here, which is over two years now) with documents that just contain characters or images. However, with other more complex objects or integrated tables, there can indeed be a longer processing time. In this case, I would recommend to convert your Word-document to a PDF file.

Moreover I want to emphasize to _not_ open projects from a synchronized folder (cloud storage), and although this is very rare, I also want to recommend to not open projects from a USB drive (because they can quickly dis- and reconnect while you're working/MAXQDA is saving, especially the cheaper/older ones, and that might cause problems). You can use both to back up or synchronize your files without hesitation, but the crucial part is to not open them from there, but to copy them to your local hard drive first.

From my experience, I would guess that around 80% of the cases where people complain about really long processing times, not opening the project file from the local hard drive was the reason in the end.. another 15% have to do with highly complex and/or huge .docx, PDFs or .xlxs files imported.. and yes, sometimes a new update can also cause issues, but I'm happy to say those are extremly rare with MAXQDA and almost always get fixed within hours or days. (As with other software as well, it's also not always MAXQDA that changes and causes problems, but (new versions of) operating systems that change frameworks or other elements we use in our software, and then we need to adapt for those versions.)

2) Sure!

- the type of the document(s) imported (rtf, doc/x, pdf etc.)
From my experience (but I wouldn't state that as a general rule, just my experience), .txt and .rtf-documents are the most leightweight format, followed by docx, which can be more complex, followed by PDFs, which can have (especially if they are scanned books etc.) huge file sizes and take longer to process then (with any software).

- the size of the document(s) imported
Only thing I know is common sense.. the bigger and more complex they are (especially PDFs), the longer they take

- eventually the number of formats or special elements included in these documents
Yes, as written earlier, special elements etc. can indeed slow down the perfomance in comparison to character-only-documents.

- the numer of codes used
There is no set limit regarding the codes used, but above 200,000 coded segments the stability of MAXQDA cannot be guaranteed. You can also read more about limitations and technical information here:

3) Yes, of course you can send us this document, that would be great! We can then run some tests on it and find out what is going on. The most efficient way for us would be if you can use our support form right here:

Then we have all the necessary information in our system as well. Of course, we treat all the data of our customers strictly confidential.

Kind regards,

Andreas V.

Re: MAQXDA slowing down - because of big file size?

19.08.2020, 07:34

I also have a question related to the big file size. The file size of my project is rapidly growing and now is over 150 mb. It now takes one to two minutes to open the project and sometimes I worry that it's not going to open. The strange thing is, when I manually save the project ("Save Project As"), the file is only about 15 mb. But when I open and work with these manually saved files, they too become big. I have about 75 docx files that average about 40,000 characters each. These only take up a couple of megabytes on my hard drive. Is there anything I can do to decrease the file size? Should I be manually saving and opening the project files? Is there any way to speed up the load time in the beginning?
Posts: 9
Joined: 08.08.2020, 04:24

Re: MAQXDA slowing down - because of big file size?

24.08.2020, 09:07


Thank you for posting here. I think it is a memory leak that you're currently dealing with. To narrow down the range of possible causes, please first check if you've always been opening your project file from a local source, not from USB, network drive or cloud service (please check if the local folder where you store your projects not synchronized with iCloud, OneDrive, etc.). If this still doesn't apply, this behavior needs to be analyzed and fixed by our tech people. Please send us a ticket via
with reference to MAXQDA Version, License and OS, so that we tackle the issue asap.

With best regards,

MAXQDA Support Team
Posts: 90
Joined: 19.07.2019, 09:48

Re: MAQXDA slowing down - because of big file size?

11.10.2022, 19:14


Maxqda 2022 is slowing down as described here, except I do not have any big file sizes. I am literally coding 3 interviews that are rather small in size. Could I please get some help to look at the issue, which recently started. Previously, it was processing lightning fast. Nothing has really changed. I am coding and using the local drive. I was recently using a network folder, but changed that and this was before experiencing any type of slowdown. I don't know what's causing this but I'm testing because I am planning to use MAXQDA to code at least 60 interviews in the near future.

I am on Windows 10 Pro,
using a Surface Pro 4 Laptop,
do you need my license and is it safe to put here?
and MAXQDA version 2022.2
Posts: 6
Joined: 31.03.2021, 06:49

Re: MAQXDA slowing down - because of big file size?

12.10.2022, 14:16

Hey there!

I do understand you correctly, that you opened your project file from a network resource in the past, correct?

MAXQDA is a database program. If the connection gets interrupted, this can lead to errors in the database structure. These errors do not need to occur right away.

If this applies here, it's possible that the database structure of the project file got damaged and might cause problems in the future. You can however easily set up a new database structure for your project file, which will most likely eliminate those errors. You can do so with the following steps:

1) Create a new project file and save it on your local hard drive (e.g. your desktop)
2) Go to the "Home"-tab, and select "Merge projects" (all the way to the right)
3) Select your existing project file and merge them
This will create a new project file with a new database structure for your existing project.

This will reinitialize the database structure of your project file. If this doesn't help, please contact the functional support of MAXQDA:

Best regards on behalf of the MAXQDA support team,

PS: Indeed, please do not share your personal license key.
Posts: 12
Joined: 06.05.2022, 09:32

Re: MAQXDA slowing down - because of big file size?

09.03.2023, 21:06

There are a bunch of variables at play here.

I have a project that contains nearly 3,000 documents, some of which are several hundred pages, and I certainly can see that such a large project slows the performance. Like if I want to use the Memo Manager, it takes about two minutes to load - compared to a few seconds in smaller projects.

I have also seen that some websites collected via the Webcollector will markedly slow coding down just for that document.

I would need a few more facts about the size and how your project is stored to offer any specific advice.

Posts: 31
Joined: 04.06.2021, 18:50

Re: MAQXDA slowing down - because of big file size?

10.03.2023, 07:52

Hello to everyone,

as many before me I have severe performance issues with my maxQDA project.
The only document I imported is a word document (no pictures, no videos - only text).
At first it worked out very well, but with a growing number of codes I created within the text, the software takes up to 1 minute of processing time, which makes it impossible to continue working in such a matter.

One of the often cited ways-to-go is to externalize the document. Weirdly, my software doesnt allow me, cause the button (externalizes data) seems to not exist in my project. (Neither at the documents preferences, not at (Start--> external data). Has someone else had seen this problem or could someone help me in this matter?

At this point I am also far a away of recommending using this software to anyone.

Kind Regards
Posts: 1
Joined: 06.03.2023, 19:01


Return to Technical Questions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 281 guests

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. By clicking OK or by continuing to browse the website, we’ll assume that you are happy with their use. Click here to review our Cookie Policy. OK