Outliner Wordcount (for the umpteenth time, sorry!)

I apologize for asking this again, but I don’t get my head around it:
My thesis is organized as follows

  • Chapter 1
    –Subchapter a
    –SC b
    —SSC x
    —SSC y
  • Chapter 2
    –SC a
    –SC b
    –SC c

and so on.
Now, I would like to check the overall word count of Chapter 1 and how it is composed of by the individual chapters. Clicking on Chapter 1, I open Outliner.
my Outliner has the columns: ‘Word’, ‘Total Words’, ‘Target’, Total Target’
Obviously, SC b is composed of SSC x and y and ‘Total Words’ gives me the sum. All good.
However: Where and how do I see the overall word count of the entire chapter in Outliner?

Also: If I click on ‘draft’ and then go to Outliner, I have the same problem:
I see the word count and total word count of Chapters and subchapters and so forth, but not the word count of the entire draft. How can I achieve this?

With thanks

You won’t see a line for the container that you select, only its contents are going to be displayed in the outline, so you have to go “up” one to the draft folder to see your chapter’s total word count. To see the entire draft’s word count, you’ll have to bring up the Project Targets window.

Thanks for the reply! I kind of thought that was the case, but hoped it wasn’t. I’m just wondering if such a feature could be implemented somehow; I’d find it very helpful.

Best wishes and thanks

No, there’s no way to implement that, as the outliner by its nature only shows the content of the selected folder. To see the draft word count, use Project Statistics or Project Targets.
All the best,

Thanks for clarifying; I’ll get used to it :slight_smile:


The way I get around this is to add and “extra” folder when I’m writing my draft.
—Ch 1
-----sc 1
-----sc 2
—Ch 2

Then if I select manuscript when I open in outliner, I’ll get the total word count of the draft folder (my total word count) my chapter word counts, and scene word counts, since it is all below the folder I’ve selected. So I can get my total word count of my book as I go along in outline mode.

Very late reply, but: Thanks :slight_smile: That’s how I work now.

Bumping this thread, since I have a similar problem, although mine feels more like a bug.

My structure is similar:

–Part 1
----Chapter 1
----Chapter 2
----Chapter 3
–Part 2
----Chapter 4


Up until today I was able to click on any of the folders to see Word counts at either Chapter, Part, or Manuscript level. But now I only get the wordcount in Chapters (i.e. the words in each scene). Clicking on a Part gives me 0 Words in each sub-chapter, and clicking on Manuscript does the same, except here the Word count column is shown in red (which is what makes me think it’s a bug).

It was definitely working last week, because I regularly use the Manuscript outline to calculate my total word count.

I suspect you may have switched from “Total Words” to “Words” columns. The latter does not add up totals from child documents, so things such as empty folders or file groups will print zero even if they have indented files with tens of thousands of words in them. Words only counts the total for the text editor associated with that item, be it a folder or whatever.

As for the colour, that just corresponds to the current progress bar colour. It starts out red, turns yellow and eventually green as you meet your goal. I would expect 0 to red in all cases where a goal is set, so that sounds fine. :slight_smile:

Maybe I’m not following though, because this thread is about viewing the total for containers you have clicked on, such as the Draft folder, which is not possible. It never has been, so I’m not sure how you were viewing the “Manuscript” word count in the Outliner—unless that is a sub-folder somewhere and not the Draft folder. Sorry for the confusion, but we renamed “Draft” to “Manuscript” in some of the templates. If you’re just using that generically for some sub-folder you have somewhere, disregard.

Let me know if seeing the parent container you click on isn’t the problem and I’ll split this to its own thread.

Ah, that seems to be the problem. I don’t remember switching, but there’s a lot of things I don’t remember doing in Scrivener. :wink:

Well, now I’ve changed the column to “Total Words” I can now again see the word count under Manuscript - it is the default one, with the stacked papers icon, at the same level as “Novel Format” and “Characters”. So it seems it is possible to see those totals.

Thanks for the bump, this will be helpful for me

I’d like to second the request for word counts at the container level. I saw that it’s not possible from a coding perspective, but intuitively it’s weird not to have it. I wonder if there’s some way around it, as the total wors in sections do show up when you roll up a level. So is there a way to include even the container when you click on it in outliner? So when you click on Part II you see

Part II
–Chapter One

and you get the word counts all the way up? It’s just kind of unbalanced somehow, not to see the whole thing, and kind of messy, too, if you have to scroll up a level and aren’t really interested in it… you have to mouse up (my shoulder hates mousing) to Draft in the Binder if you want Part-level views in Outliner, and you might not want to even think about, say, Parts I & III right then.

I noticed that the project stats window also doesn’t show the word count for a chapter, or a part. I have to select all the scenes in order to get the count. In general I am often surprised by inclusion of everything within a folder not being the default…

It’s not that it is impossible, it is just a design decision that you subjectively do not agree with. :slight_smile: This is how the program was designed to work, with Corkboard and Outliner being “downward looking”. Not everything works that way (hence, subjectivity), but many things do, we aren’t being weird here.

Except that you are interested in that level, if you are wanting to view information about Part II in the Outliner, which is a citizen of that level. But you don’t have to use the mouse here. Just hit Ctrl-Cmd-R to move the current Outliner view up a level. That’s the View/Go To/Enclosing Group command. Got your word count? Cmd-[ to get back.

Make sure you have Count subdocuments enabled in the “Options” tab of that panel.

Thx for the tip about Count SubDocs.

Re design preferences, I would argue for designs that are more inclusive of different user preferences rather than not… whom would including container word counts hurt?

I understand your point about Outliner being top down, but I wonder how many people remember to scroll up to Manuscript or Draft in the Binder before clicking over to Outliner View? I alway find myself clicking a part or a chapter, doing something or other in editor or corkboard at that level, and then clicking over to Outliner, going, Oh, that’s right, I can’t see the container view over here, having to go back to Binder, mouse up to Draft, etc. Boring! :slight_smile: Too many steps. For me, it feels intuitive for the thing I’ve clicked in Binder to refer to all its contents. (It also drives me nuts that when I have a folder selected in Binder and click Add New it puts the doc or folder at the bottom of that level of the tree (or at the end of that section, if that’s how you think of it), rather than inside the folder I just highlighted, which seems to me the most reasonable place–after all, that’s how the trees in Finder and Windows Explore work… I think the user is expecting something similar here. Click the parent to add a child. Instead, in Scriv we get siblings. Which might be fine if the file or folder showed up RIGHT NEXT to the item we highlighted, so we could easily find it and move it where we wanted to without a lot of mousing and dragging in the Binder (which is still pretty squirrely in terms of dropping things at the level and in the position we wanted–plus, if you are moving it beyond the viewing margins, it always hesitates and sometimes freezes, which just makes me mad, esp when I just had to go hunting for the new doc…) )

Anyhow, just how one user approaches things, FWIW.

But keep in mind that there’s a key difference between a normal file explorer and the binder, which is the order of items. In the file explorer files will end up typically ordered by the currently defined criteria, and probably you don’t want that in the binder.

If you’d like to have consistency among the treatment of files and folders you might try selecting the option below:
New items as siblings.png
If you do this then any new item created will be located exactly below the one you have selected.

Hope this helps!

People for whom the Binder does not represent a hierarchical outline of components of a single document. For example, a reporter or columnist might use their project to organize many short articles by month or by destination publication.


Well, I think it is important to note that Scrivener is an outliner, not a file manager, so expecting it to work just like a file manager would be unnecessarily limiting, as it has nothing to say about certain things, like nesting ten JPEG files beneath a PDF. If you want to look to existing examples of this type of software, you’d be better off examining pure outliners and mind-mapping programs (though there is no standard there either).

That said, I don’t really understand what you are saying in regards to Finder working a different way. If I double-click on a folder in Finder, I get a window with the contents of that folder. The folder is nowhere to be seen in the list, I cannot look at its modification date or whatever other columns I have open. To view its modification date, I have to Cmd-Up (Finder’s equivalent to Scriveners Ctrl-Cmd-R) to see it in its context. I’m fairly certain Explorer works the same way.

But as mentioned above, we already acknowledged the usefulness of being able to navigate directly to the parent container of your current context with multiple ways to do so. That is why there is a keyboard shortcut and menu command, so that you don’t have to even know where you are in the Binder to be able to jump to the next container. That is why there is a “Path” menu in the icon bar header menu that lets you jump in a non-linear fashion to any level in the ancestry of the current context (and additionally a Navigation option for Corkboard that causes double-clicking on the background to navigate up to the parent—not that it helps you in Outliner, just showing you that Scrivener is designed around outline traversal being an important task). You don’t even need the Binder open to do what you are describing, let alone scrolled to the right spot.

Thanks! That does help.

While the Binder creates most things as siblings, I just imported a file and it was put into the container the way I would have expected. So to me that feels different… that I can click the parent/container and if I’m creating something new it puts it down at the bottom of that section, while if I’m importing it seems to know that it should go INSIDE the container.

But I’ll uncheck that sibling option. Thanks again.

Re Explore & Finder… if I click a folder, it knows to save TO that folder. Ie, it knows things are going INTO a container. It doesn’t save the document next to the folder, or down at the bottom of the tree. Same with adding a new folder. It adds it IN whatever folder I have highlighted. So I was just talking about binder behavior, not the outliner in that case, as an illustration of how my expectations about container behaviors and relationships are often confounded.

PS, I’m in menopause, so memorizing keyboard shortcuts is out… :smiley: I didn’t even know Cmd-up existed.

Anyhow, that’s all I need, thanks.