Detailled statistics

I really like statistics, especially when they’re visualized. Scrivener already has some cool tools and ways to get information. I especially like the daily/total goal thingy.

How about a function that tracks statistics overtime? It would be kinda cool to be able to pull up a bar graph to show how many words I’ve written per day last month, for example. Also, on which days did I work on which chapters? ; how many hours did I put into which chapters? etc.

It wouldn’t take up much HDD space.

Just some random ideas that came to me while I was waiting for the train this morning. 8)

Please refer to this response from the developer. In excerpt:

“This is the feature that I said would just cause demands for more and more features. This is not at all strange logic, as we are talking about a feature that is outside the scope of Scrivener in the first place. So, what I am saying is that adding this feature would be a lot more work than it might seem in the first place, and even then, everybody would want something different from it because of the personal nature of goal and record keeping. I know this, because I’ve seen similar requests over the years and they are all different. Thus, I believe it is the sort of thing best left to another, dedicated, app.”

You will also find that timers have also been discussed in the past as well with a few forum searches, if you want to see the reasoning behind why there is no such thing in the software (it is very similar to the above though).

That, on the other hand, you can already do. Add the “Modified Date” column to your outliner to see when each individual section in the Binder was last edited. This will be even more useful in the future when we implement column sorting.

Ah, I see. I searched the forum before posting this, but evidently not good enough.

Do you know of any dedicated app that would do something like that?

Ah, that’s pretty nice. But I meant to see per chapter the days I worked on it.

Honestly, I love Scrivener, but I’ve requested more stats and graphs previously too and received the same answer. In my opinion, to say that just because you can’t create the exact stats and graphs that everyone wants, you’re not going to provide anything is weak. It’s beyond weak. There’s another program called WriteWayPro which is nowhere near Scriveners level of refinement but at least that app offers a serious attempt to provide statistics and graphs. I’m almost tempted to jump ship to it, except now I write on a Mac, and it’s not quite pretty enough. That said, the mentality which is being applied to not providing more stats and graphs if initially applied to the idea of trying to create a program like Scrivener in the first place would have meant that Scrivener would have never been created. After all, if you can’t create exactly the perfect writing program for everyone–or exactly what everyone says they want–then why even try, right? That’s the logic as I understand it. In any case, it’s the only thing I really dislike about Scrivener…the simple fact that the program and it’s developers don’t even try to provide some set of stats and graphs functionality. I don’t care how minimal the attempt–even if it wasn’t exactly what I envisioned, I would appreciate the additional functionality. It sucks to try and find some other separate app for computer or phone which offers any limited degree of statistics tracking. I suspect most of us would be very happy with some minimal progress over time chart as this poster requests. Instead we have a great writing platform which necessitates hacking together other productivity tracking tools…this clearly is an opportunity for Scrivener to step-up as it moves toward 3.0.

No worries, it’s a pretty big forum and some of these things have been requested years ago so they are not always easy to find. :slight_smile:

I’m not familiar enough with what is good on Windows to give you advice on that. Generally speaking however, spreadsheets by definition are good at visualising sequences of numeric data, and at a basic level of usage require almost no special knowledge nor complicated workflows. Just type in your number at the end of the day. Done. If you want to get fancy, there are I am sure good spreadsheet templates out there specifically designed for writers to track their word count productivity.

I’m not sure what that means, could you clarify what you are referring to as a chapter, and how that would be distinguished from other items in the binder? The main problem is that Scrivener doesn’t have any inherent structure. To provide an example that is still within the realm of a “book”, here is a screenshot of one of the chapters in the user manual project:

This is a partial Outliner view of Part III (we can see about 70 of the 250 documents that comprise this part of the manual), with the “Writing and Editing” chapter highlighted in dark blue. The selected item near the top is the container called “Writing and Editing”, but the actual chapter, the part that is going to be edited on a regular basis, is distributed amongst its sixty-six child items. So, if any one small part of that group of items changes, the whole can be considered changed, but the problem isn’t really with that concept, but rather: what is “the whole” here? That’s not even something I could easily predict within this one project. I’ve shown a rather large chapter here, but I also have a few chapters in the user manual that consist of one single text file.

And like I said above, that’s still just sticking within the realm of objects that are broken up by divisions we call chapters. Scrivener is used for all kinds of writing, many of which have no such entities within them.

So those are a few of the challenges with the idea, maybe you have something in mind that could work around it though. Let me know! Something like this would have to accommodate essays, graphic novels, legal briefs, technical manuals, whole seasons of television shows, etc. I.e., the solution needs to be flexible enough to be useful to a wide variety of structures, some very rigid and topographic like the user manual, others rather chaotic and organic.

Perhaps it is a great writing platform because we haven’t spent time creating a spreadsheet in it. :stuck_out_tongue: In all seriousness though, you do say this other program isn’t on par with Scrivener otherwise. A lack of focus can do that to a program. I don’t know if that is the situation here, I’m just making a point.

Nobody has made that argument, so I’m not sure what this rebuttal is aimed at, nor the corollaries that stem from it. We’ve always stated (in fact it is even in the product marketing on the main web page) that no writing program will be perfect for everyone. We actively encourage people to seek alternatives if the demo doesn’t work out for them, and have a whole links page as a top-level navigation tab, dedicated to rounding up as many different approaches to writing as we can.

But entertain that is the goal for a moment: even so, the argument is that we don’t feel it is necessary that writing software needs to have graphing built into it: hence, this premise has nothing to do with making writing software in the first place, no more than a virtual reality 3d interface would have any business in Scrivener.

I understand you disagree with this, and that is fine, we all have different approaches to doing things, but understand that from the stated views of the designer, detailed tracking of your writing is the important thing to be doing here. That is something nothing else can do well since it requires knowledge of the internal system. Tracking what you type and what you delete as you work is intrinsic to the software letting you do that.

Making a pie chart or whatever out of static data that requires no special knowledge to store, isn’t.

You mentioned programming a system of your own to track things in Scrivener, is that something you’d be willing to share?

There is an obscure and often denigrated record-keeping system which might serve you in this instance. I cannot divulge the source of my information, nor indeed, all that information itself; I can say that it involves a sheet of paper, upon which symbols are inscribed, by hand. As the Old Timer used to say on the Fibber McGee program, “Might be esoteric, Sonny, but it ain’t recondite.”

(Google the 13th Commandment: “Thou shalt not delegate to thy machine the entirety of thine own obligations.”)


I set up a document in Scrivener with tab stops and a smallish font so the lines don’t wrap. I have a text expanding tool that inserts a date & time stamp. With those two tools plus Scrivener’s Project Targets window up, I can insert all the information I might need to import into a spreadsheet so that I can get all the graphs and charts I might want. I can get as detailed as I want with the data I put into my document that way, and there’s no programmer to gripe at for not getting all the detail I wanted into the statistics.

Like the word processor is for writing, the spreadsheet is an all-purpose tool for collating and calculating numbers of all kinds, including dates & times. You only have to do the work to set it up once, and then you have a tool for visualizing your writing habits that could never be rivaled by any software whose statistical output is fixed to whatever the programmer thought was important.

Plenty of writers use spreadsheets for all sorts of purposes that no one program (other than a spreadsheet, of course ;p ) could accommodate. Make friends with Excel. Get cozy with Numbers. Flirt with OpenOffice’s “Calc”. If you’re daring, import your spreadsheet document into Research :open_mouth: , but for goodness sake, be discreet about it. :blush:

The philosophy with which Scrivener is developed now is exactly the philosophy used when it was created. I set out to write the perfect app for me. As it came to be used by others, I added and refined things based on user suggestions to make it more generally useful where I thought the additions and refinements fitted in with my vision for the program. Occasionally I have added features that I later wish I hadn’t, but I have never, ever added features in the hope of making Scrivener into some sort of catch-all that will appeal to absolutely everybody, because that way madness lies (and you end up with software that appeals to nobody).

We simply cannot add every feature that every single user requests, and nor would we want to. I do understand that some users love tracking what they write every day and keeping graphs and such, but it’s something that has never appealed to me and therefore not something I would implement well given that it’s the sort of thing I see more as a distraction from writing (even though I’m sure some users find it helps motivate them). It’s the sort of thing best kept as part of a separate, dedicated program, I think. Of course, if another writing package offers what you want, then you should most definitely use that software instead of Scrivener if, on balance, that software fits your workflow better.

All the best,

On the subject of timers, I’ve experimented in the past with having countdown timers in Scrivener… It used a split editor (one above the other), a dedicated countdown webpage set up in something like, webpages imported into the binder, a judicial use of the lock editor function.

I tend to only use it one day a year, though.

I get that, and I guess that’s a good philosophy.

So I take it there is no chance we will ever get an overview of words written per session? Would it be a lot of work to have Scrivener dump the word count of the last session into a CSV-style text file upon closing the program like: SESSION_DATE,WORD_COUNT

That would already be a really kick-ass feature, I think.

I have never understood the obsession with tracking writing statistics, as I cannot imagine a scenario where it helps me to know that I was 10% more productive today than I was last Friday. Word counts are, in any case, such poor measures of productivity. Many times I have read over the words I’ve written, sighed, and murdered the whole lot of them.

That’s fine, but I like having a rough idea of what I’ve done in a day. Word counts may not be a perfect way to measure progress, but at least it’s something, especially when you’re in the phase of getting the story down.

As a person who uses statistics on a daily basis I am somewhat amused at writers wanting progress indicators. As a writer of a PhD my only goal is to write something each day. Scrivener cannot give me feedback on the quality of the work which is what matters most. However, for those who are obsessed by quantifiable progress a simple solution would be to track the change in size of your scrivener file on whatever time interval; you want - you could use time machine settings (or another backup program) for this.

What Scriviner does for me is work on the bit where I have the flow of creativity - some days that may just be a paragraph other days it can be a whole chapter. The beauty of Scrivener is that it does not force me to write on one thing at a time.

Why not use Project Statistics? Make a note of your draft’s word count at the start of the day, and then make a note of it at the end of the day. Follow that with a little subtraction, and you have your daily word count.

The Session Target feature will show you your daily word count. All you have to do is record it somewhere.

Something that I would love: If the Word Frequency list under Text Statistics was select-all-able, or exportable. I’d like to able to copy that data into a spreadsheet and mess around with it (because I’m weird). To non-programmer me it seems like an easy function to add.

Oh, you non-programmers, you think things are easy to add, but… Oh wait, this one was easy to add and has in fact already been added for a future version. :slight_smile: There are some niceties - this being one of them - that are fairly straightforward to program (say half an hour, an hour at most), but it’s just not possible to do them until the program is quite advanced and stable simply because there are so many other things that are always much further up the list, and so you never get the time. But this one is coming!

Thank you!

Excellent news - eagerly awaiting that.

Meanwhile, until we get our grubby little hands on that - anyone wanting exportable word frequencies and such, look up AntConc ( Compile your scriv docs to plain text, import them into AntConc and you can get Word Frequencies, NGrams, Keywords, and a bunch of other nifty stuff.

Currently writing my PhD and I would not know I would do without Scrivener. But one thing that struck me is that words written in footnotes are not counted in the project objectives/aims. If I am wrong, please give me a hint, if this feature is actually missing, it would be great to be able to select the option in future versions to count footnotes on the session aim and the overall project aim.

Many thanks and keep up the great work!

You can start using inline-footnotes to get them to count toward your session target and other metrics. There’s a function somewhere in the menus that will convert a document’s footnotes from in-line to inspector, and vice-versa.