I don’t see any affirmation of this capability, and Manual sect 20.1 doesn’t address the question.
Can Scrivener 3 (Windows) count included words directly?
If not, is there a practical workaround that does not include compiling to some external document and counting the words in that?
As for counting the words in the compiled text, you don’t have to do that part manually anyway. There are the word and character counting placeholders, that you can place into a front matter folder or toward the top of your binder, as a kind of status read-out during proofing and early work. The codes can all be found in the
Insert ▸ Draft Word|Character Count submenus, and there are settings in the Statistics compile format pane for tuning what they count.
But ordinarily I would suggest using the
Project ▸ Statistics... panel. That should always be your go-to for complex statistics, particularly with the count mode set to “Accurate (Slower)” in the lower left. That actually runs a very quick and dirty background compile and then builds up stats from that (Windows bug alert: reload the panel after switching modes.) So that will account for heading injection, replacements, includes, inline annotation removal, Layouts that exclude text, and on and on. All the stuff we could not expect to be recalculated between keystrokes.
That’s actually very good if one enables “Count current compile group only” and manages the binder selection etc. appropriately, then the compile is very quick if e.g. there’s only one document
Quite right, and you can manipulate the kind of results you get from the compile Format you select as well. If you want less processing and a more raw dump of editor content, then setting up Default with as-is only to all your Types will speed things up further.