How to set target word count for folder?

Greetings everyone!

I recently started writing my English literature dissertation. I love using Scrivener and find myself eager to write every day. Seeing my word count go up is motivating, but I am having trouble figuring out how to set a target word count for a whole folder.

I am using each dissertation chapter as a “folder” with each document within a folder for sub-sections of my chapters. As I don’t really care how long my documents/sub-sections are, I would really just like to set a target word count goal for my folders/chapters. If I set a target for a folder, Scrivener seems to ignore what is written within that folder’s documents.

I’ve also set a target word count for the whole project under Project>Show Project Targets>Edit, and would ideally like to see a breakdown of how each folder’s total word count is fitting into my overall project goal.

If it would help, I can post screenshots. Thank you for your time!

Check out the outlier, and the Total Word Count column – that might be as close as you can get to what you’re after. There’s more on the subject in “The Outliner” in section 12.2 of the Scrivener Manual.

Is the only way to get a “total word count” for a folder would be to give individual word counts to each document that add up to my desired total word count for the folder?

“Total Word Count” automatically sums the word counts of the container’s subdocuments and any text in the container document itself. (You may just be using the folders to hold subdocuments, in which case the word count for the folder itself is 0 and the entirety of the total word count would be the sum of the folder’s subdocuments.) You don’t need to display the Word Count column; just the Total Word Count will do. This is just the count, so what you’ll also want is the Total Target column (and possible Total Progress if you like to see a progress bar). Total Target will sum the individual targets of the subdocuments and the container document, so you will need to create a document target for at least one of these. Easiest is probably to just assign the folder itself a target. This will then sum with the 0-count targets of the subdocuments and populate the Total Target column for the folder, and you can then write in any of the subdocuments to start progressing toward that goal.

I’m late to the party, but I found this just as I was about to post on it myself.

I want to set the word count target for a chapter. I am structuring it as a folder. It has several documents (sections) inside of this container.

I know that I can set the word count targets for each document inside the folder and the folder will sum up all the documents.

However, I really don’t care to set word count targets for these individual documents or sections inside the folder.

If I convert the folder to a document, the target icon appears in the lower right-hand side of the editor, and I can set the wordcount target for the whole chapter. But is there a way to set the wordcount target for the folder without converting it to a document! This is the crux of my question.


This is how I set a target for a folder and its sub documents:

(1) convert the folder to a file
(2) set the target
(3) convert the file back to a folder
(4) the target remains and it counts the sub files as words are added

Maybe there is a simpler way of doing this.

If I select the folder, it shows the target and the total count achieved.

If I select a sub file, it shows that sub file’s contribution to the count.

For example, I have a chapter as a folder with 4 sub files. Target set at 1500 words.
If I select the folder it says: 1930/1500
Sub file 1: 279 words
Sub file 2: 534 words
Sub file 3: 189 words
Sub file 4: 928 words

I figured that out, too. I was hoping for a more direct way to do it.


Maybe there is…and someone will let us know.

At least the workaround only takes a couple of clicks.

If you use the same target for all folders, you can create a master folder and then duplicate that each time…the target count remains unchanged.

I’m not sure if I’m correctly understanding, but it’s not necessary to convert the folder in order to set a target for it, since folders can hold text exactly the same as other documents. So if you view the Draft in the outliner with the Target column visible, you can set a word target for the the chapter folder, and if none of the subitems in that folder have a target, then the Total Target will equal the folder’s target.

You can view a folder’s text in the editor (and set a target from the footer there) by toggling the view mode; just deselect whichever of Scrivenings, Corkboard, or Outline is currently checked in the View menu or highlighted in the central pillbox in the main toolbar. For just setting targets, though, working from the outliner will be faster, especially for setting multiple targets.

If you want to set the target of a folder, just enter outline mode with that folder’s parent container selected (probably the Manuscript/Draft folder unless you divide your work into Parts) and make sure the “target” column is visible. Double click on a folder’s target column (which will start out blank), and then enter the target value.

Once you’ve done that, you can hide that column and instead display the “total” columns (total target, total words, total progress).

That didn’t work for me. If I double-click that, it just opens each folder until I am opening individual files.

I was just able to add a target word count to a folder. Here’s how:

  1. change the folder to a file
  2. add the word count you want for the group of files under the folder
  3. change the file back to a folder
  4. click on a file under the folder
    5 .click back on the folder


If you want to change the target word count you need to again follow the above sequence.

(I’m using Scrivener 3 on a MacBook. This may be a bug but don’t tell anyone!)


Double-clicking on the folder’s Target column in the Outliner works fine for me. The only thing that expands the outline is double-clicking on the icon. Could you post a screenshot to make sure we’re talking about the same thing?


I double click it and it just opens the subfolders and then files.

Ah. That’s not the column you want. “Total Target” sums the targets for the current item and all sub-items, and is not editable. You want the “Target” column.


It’s frustrating that what should be a simple thing takes so long to figure out. Why can’t folders simply have the target icon the same way that docs nestled in folders do? I have tried the suggestions here with no success. All one gets is a word count for the folder that only applies to the folder and not the sub-documents. I am reticent about converting folders as has been suggested as it will just confuse me further. If anyone has an easier way of setting word counts for folders so that all text in sub-documents is included please share. Like other posters, the word count in the documents within the folder is irrelevant to my dissertation, but the word count for folders, which serve as my chapters, is what I want to set. Thank you.

There is perhaps an easier way of doing this—this is what I do anyway:

  1. Click on the container I want to add a target for.
  2. Turn off the current group view mode from the View menu. For example if I’m using the Corkboard I’ll press Ctrl+2 / ⌘2.
  3. Set the target in the footer bar like normal (folders are text files, as you’ve probably gathered—but we don’t need to “convert” them to files to edit them as text).
  4. Now hit Ctrl+1 / ⌘1 or use the View ▸ Scrivenings menu command to edit the folder and all of its child items as text.

And there you go. The progress bar and statistics in the footer will now be using the folder’s target as the master goal for this entire group of files.

Granted if you go off and edit one of these individually you’ll no longer see the progress bar, but this is understandable when you consider that a file might have more than one ancestor folder with a target.

What I do when I want to focus on a part of a Scrivenings session is hit Ctrl+4 / ⌘4 (Navigate ▸ Go To ▸ Selection), work on it, and then Ctrl+[ / ⌘[ (or click the back button in the editor) to send the editor back to the main Scrivenings session.

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Every file has the option to set a target, like e.g. “1000 words”. But I am using folders as chapters and files as scenes. Well, I want to set a target for the entire chapter, so would be great if we can use the target tool for a folder.

Please refer to the post directly above yours for instructions on how to set a target for a group of items.

Hi, AMber, My suggestion persists and it was not fair to merge it in this thread, as in this thread they are only showing workarounds and temporary solutions for a lack of the functionality. That´s why I made a feature request.