Mac. OS. Scriptwriting & WordCount

I love Scrivener. Thank you. I’ve tried to correct my obvious misunderstanding in the tutorial and user manual but can’t seem to get a clear answer. I’m writing a play so selected the STAGEPLAY (UK) template at the beginning of my project. This is wonderful as with just a quick ‘tab’ I can write at pace from CHARACTER to DIALOGUE to SCENE ACTION and so forth. I understand the difference between Corkboard, Outliner etc. But this is my question. I haven’t ‘chosen’ scriptwriting ‘mode’; it’s simply a template I’m using. As I’m using this template, I can’t get any scene (currently have about 14 scenes) word counts, only (top header, centre), total word count of the entire play. All forums say ‘turn off scriptwriting mode’, but that means I have to manually change the template (mode) for EVERY separate scene, in order to see the word count, write it down, then go back to ‘Scriptwriting’ so I can continue writing. Am I missing something? This seems way too hard. All I want, is to be a) able to see live word count as I type (so I can get a rough idea of the (spoken) length of each scene while IN the scene, and b) see at a glance each scene length while clicking through the binder. I’m confused about the difference between ‘Scriptwriting as a mode’ I supposedly turn on and off, vs. what I think I’m doing; simply using a Scriv-supplied template (which is perfect for my task). ScrivStageplayUKMACos.pdf (1000 KB)

Some ideas:

  1. Press CMD 8 to quickly switch into and out of scriptwriting mode.

  2. Select your draft, press CMD 3 (to open the outliner), and then right click the outliner header to select the “Word Count” option. Any time you open the outliner (or leave it open in split screen), you can see the word counts.

Slàinte mhòr.


Yes, I think there’s a couple of things you’re missing, so perhaps a bit of background will help.

First of all: ‘Scriptwriting Mode’ is basically a way of turning on a few helpful features for a particular document you’re editing to make it easy for you to apply the special scriptwriting formatting (the Scene Headings / Dialogue etc). Every single Scrivener document in every project has this ability to toggle between ‘Standard’ mode and ‘Scriptwriting’ mode – it’s not just tied to starting a project off with a specific scriptwriting template.

When you turn on Scriptwriting mode, these features override the standard editing tools until you turn it off again – but the underlying text doesn’t change at all – when you move back to standard mode, your indents for dialogue aren’t changed at all. You could, if you wish, recreate all the special formatting in general mode just by inserting ordinary tabs and the end result would be the same.

The easiest way to move from Standard mode to Scriptwriting mode is to press cmd-8. When you do that you see that the header bars change to make some of the special formatting functions: e.g. in Scriptwriting mode you get the hints at the bottom right of the editor showing which element you’re in and how to get to the next one (eg [Enter] Action ; Scene Heading.

As you’ve noted, one thing you lose is the word count in the footer, but that doesn’t mean the facility has gone. There are a couple of ways you can get to it while staying in Scriptwriting mode.

The easiest is to use your mouse to hover over the Quick Search bar – that’s the field at the top of the window directly under the Project Name. It normally shows the document name, but if you hover over it, it will show Total Word Count / This Document Word Count like so… (You can’t see my mouse hovering over the field in the screenshot, but it’s there!)

The second way is just to toggle cmd-8 off for a second – that will give you the ‘Standard’ footer with the word count, and it won’t affect your text in any way. Then turn it back on with cmd-8 and type on…

There’s a lot more to scriptwriting mode. Have you had a chance to have a look at the Interactive Tutorial? If you haven’t, you really should – it has a section on the basics of scriptwriting mode and it will set you up nicely for getting the full benefit from it.

Hope this helps!

JoRo and Brookter, thank you so much. This explains everything. I really appreciate your time and help.

Brookter, yes I had looked at Scriptwriting mode in the interactive tutorial but only found it confusing as it (like all the other sources I read) indicated you ‘select’ that mode, whereas I was only aware several months ago I had ‘selected’ Stageplay format. I imagine this differentiation has caused quite a lot of confusion for people. The interactive tutorial doesn’t mention word count being turned off as a result of scriptwriting mode, but regardless - it’s all sorted now thanks to this forum and your time and help. Grazie.