A Target Setting Question

Hi there…

I am not exactly new to Scrivener, but one never stops learning. I have been messing around with the target settings in the new v3 for Windows and was wondering is there was actually a way to bind the target to a folder, to include the text files within the folder when calculating that target?

For example I have a folder named ACT I. I would like to set up a target for this folder for 20000 words (pretty standard for an 80000 words novel). Now I want all subfolders and text documents within those subfolders to adhere to this target collectively. Is there a way to do so or the target still works only on individual text documents?

Thank you for your time in advance!

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I created an outline and applied word counts to all the placeholders and made sure they added up to the top level target. In practice I overshot but it was useful to see how the shape changed and it alerted me to lengthy digressions. This was not for a fictional piece but I got some great ideas for outlining from a Youtuber called Abbie Emmons, who has put up some great videos about outlining in Scrivener using the three act structure.

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That depends on what you mean by “adhere”.
If you want to see the sum of words written for the contents of the folder, use column “Total Word Count”. I set my targets per scene, which gives me the Total Target of folders, so I use this set of columns:

Very Nice. Thank you for sharing :grin:

Hi, thank you for your explanation. I was asking about setting that ‘total target’ limits on a folder so the subfolders and text documents in those subfolders put out a count towards that set limit on the root folder. I dont think thats currently possible. All you could do is ‘see’ the total target as it accumulates the total word count of the text documents. For I gather that Scrivener only counts the words WITHIN an object (be it a folder or a text document) and not whats contained in the sub objects of that very object. Or am I missing something here? :slightly_smiling_face:

Maybe this will help:
I set the Target on the particular document and 0 words as Target for the folder. This makes “Total Target” the sum of the Targets below (see the line with “Piorun” in the title - this is the folder with 3 documents in it).
Total Words is what is written and this is automatically counted.
However if you put separate Target on the files AND one on the folder, this will sum together. So if I decided from the top that these three scenes will have a total of 4k, and set it so AND added the Targets on them, it would double the expected value:
But if I remove individual targets from the documents and leave just the one on the folder level, the wordcount is still added on Folder level, and Target Wordcount is just what we set on Folder:

If you set the Folder target, there is no way to cascade it down - how would that work? Each scene may be different. So you have to make a decision here.


If you’re having problems getting the correct count, check if you’re not mixing up TOTAL WORDS with WORD COUNT. The second value is “what is in this document itself”, without objects inside it.

thank you for your detailed answer… so i was right in assuming what i stated above. but your post gives me another idea so again thank you… this helped a lot :grin:

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I also appreciate these very useful pointers which have helped enormously e.g. by getting me to review my targets in outliner (something I forgot to do). Targets do not appear to be as readily modifiable in editor as they were in the Windows version 1.x. and that was beginning to cause me some difficulty revising them. Thank you for that.

The point I tried to make earlier was that to produce top level targets that are useful, it is necessary to build them bottom-up. This doesn’t add anything to your excellent replies (which also render this comment redundant) but it allows me to clarify my slightly inadequate response to the OP.


Actually, you can update the Target in the editor quite nicely, but clicking on the Progress Bar. It’s not 100% obvious/intuitive, but it’s there.

In fact, you have to make a choice - either put Target on the lowest level (and they add up for Total Target on higher levels) OR put Target on top-level folders (and it becomes the Total Target 1:1). Wordcount is still counted per document and adding to Total Wordcount, so it will be compared against Total Target anyway, whichever Target model you choose.
The only thing you should NOT do is mix Target “policy” in one branch, so to avoid doubling the Total Target, like in my screenshot with 8000 words Total Target.

I’m glad you found my examples helpful :slight_smile:

Thank you. When I said that targets are not readily modifiable in editor, I meant that it rarely worked for me (when clicking on the progress bar), to the extent I abandoned trying; using outliner is a great way around that and it also gives me a prompt to review the overall shape. This naturally segues into your other point about setting top level targets. I may do that for the next edit to force a bit of disciplined paring down. So far, my use of targets is more to create balance across topics and I commented because getting the weighting right is also applicable to the three act structure.

I have had other ‘behavioural’ issues with the upgrade but have found workarounds to keep writing, for example, changing the titles of documents now requires me to cut and paste the new title directly into the synopsis before it will update in the sidebar. Not elegant but it works and I can keep writing. Thanks again for your help.

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To tell the truth, this sounds like a larger issue with your installation - I have my S3, on win10 and although I’ve identified a few funny little bugs, I don’t see overall issue with stuff like targets or titles.
However, when it comes to setting Target - are you at any point using Scrivenings mode? As in, multiple documents displayed in the same edit mode? Whenever I move to that mode, yes, setting the Target doesn’t work. But it works OK when in single-document mode. Maybe this is affecting you?
I’m keeping the three act structure mostly, so, yep, counting and balancing here is pretty vital.
As to the titles, this sounds weird, but I update my titles EITHER directly in the Outline (2-click on the title), or in the Binder (same) or in the title line above the document:
Does neither of these work for you? I’d actually treat pasting into synopsis as much less friendly than either of these, since I mostly keep the inspector pane closed.

Up to this point I was wondering about my installation too, but actually you are right; deselecting Scrivenings mode allowed me to set targets and change titles without problem. I have just checked to make sure my memory is not failing me, but no, that restriction does not exist in version 1.x . The change is slightly baffling but not much of an issue now I know. Thank you very much … again.

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