Combining Text Files


I just purchased Scrivener, love the organizational features so much; my productivity has increased because my workflow flows so much better … great product.


I’m adding “New Text” files to organize sections/chapters as I go. And I want to be able to measure total word count. Is there a way to do this without adding everything into one doc? (There must be, right :question:

Along the same lines: What’s the ‘best practice’ for bringing content in different text files back together into one file when I’m ready? Simple cut-n-paste? Or is there a ‘Scrivener way’?


Yes indeed! Edit Scrivenings. Select all of the files you want to temporarily merge (with the Shift or Cmd key held down) and then press Cmd-Opt-4. Or you can select a container (folder or document) full of files and press Cmd-Opt-1 to view them all together. Note that you can edit them while they are like this, and all of the edits you make will be made to the files viewed together.

Now on the other side of the process, you are looking for the Compile feature (from the File menu). This takes all of the pieces of your book and merges them into a single file, like an RTF.

Thanks to these two features, there is rarely ever a need to merge things from within Scrivener, or indeed to even work in very large chapter-sized files. Though whether or not to do so depends highly upon the author’s preferences, and the book.

If you haven’t done so already, I recommend going through the interactive tutorial (you can find it in the help menu).

A) The quickest way I know to get a word count of everything in your Drafts folder is View > Statistics > Show Project Statistics. (If your project has a word count goal you can specify it here, too, and get a nifty little bar graph.)

B) AmberV’s guidance on the document merging is golden. The Edit Scrivenings and Compile functions are part of the beauty of Scrivener and you should definitely get to know them. Just for completeness, I will add that there is indeed a Merge documents command to merge a pair of documents if you should really need it. Though if you have lots of existing text you end up bringing into Scrivener, you will probably find you actually use the Split document function much more often. Once you see how valuable it is to have a pain-free way to piece out your text, you will want to split lots of things up.

As the others have said, Edit Scrivenings allows you to view documents together as one, but File > Compile is what you need for exporting. It is pretty much the raison d’etre of Scrivener - writing in chunks, and then having them all compiled or exported as one document - so I really do recommend going through the tutorial or Help file.
All the best,