Need accurate word count of project

As I do the final edit of my large manuscript, for weeks I’ve been keeping a close eye on the word count, using Project/Statistics. It sank from 500,000 to below 350,000. Then while trying to export a chapter, I changed the boxes clicked under File/Compile. I also deleted two small sections, so I know there are fewer words, but Project/Statistics now claims there are 480,000 words! I rechecked all the boxes under File/Compile, but I’m still getting the high word count.
How do I get an accurate word count?

Add <$wc> to the copyright page somewhere and compile the manuscript.

Ask your editor what tool they use, and use that one.

As part of a dispute with an editor, I once counted the exact same text in Scrivener, Word, pages, and Wordpress. Got four different totals.

Yes, the <$wc> placeholder will give what Scrivener believes to be the accurate count of your output manuscript. Within Scrivener, you can also enable the Word Count column in Outline view to get a document-by-document total. (Total Words will give the total for a folder.)


Do I create the copyright page, or it is supposed to be there already? I just created one, just below the title page. Do I just stick <$wc> at the top of the page?

Anywhere you put <$wc> in your manuscript it will be replaced with the word count on compile.

OK, but is there any way to get Project/Statistics to give me an accurate count? Why did it jump 130,000 words on the day I deleted two sections?

Some ideas:

Project > Statistics > Options (SHIFT OPT CMD S)

  1. Check the setting for current compile group or whole manuscript

  2. Check the setting for all, included, or not included documents

  3. Check the setting for either “estimate” or “accurate”



Yes, my settings were the same as what you show. This time, however, I changed Estimate to Accurate, but the total count came out the same.

To give you a better answer, I’d need to see the project or do a Zoom session with you.

This looks like the odds-on candidate for what altered the total that you saw reported in Project Statistics (in addition to the sections you deleted).