Page count

Keith, It is true that Scrivener doesn’t do page layout, but for some of us a page count would be really useful. Some people do not understand the idea of measuring a document in words; they want a page count.

For academic papers usually you can fit around 300 words per page, while in fiction I use a 275 w/p count. Each time I need to figure our an actual page count, I have to resort to the calculator.

It would be nice if, on a project basis, I could set the expected words per pages ratio, so Scrivener calculates for me the page count.

Hi Amaru,

I’m not sure if your are talking about final page count or manuscript page count. I don’t quite see the purpose in a manuscript page count, so I’ll assume you mean final (or printed) page count.

No publisher uses word counts to assess page counts. They are grossly inaccurate. Most publishers prefer character counts, which, while still inaccurate, yield a more useful figure. The calculation is generally as follows:

A trim size of roughly 5.5x8.5 inches (roughly 14x21.5 cm) results in a print area of roughly 4x7 inches (roughly 10x18 cm) and a character count per page of 2100. I believe this is the figure Keith uses for his internal “paperback” page count.

A trim size of roughly 6x9 inches (roughly 15.25x23 cm) results in a print area of roughly 4.5x7.5 inches (roughly 11.5x19 cm) and a character count per page of 2600.

A trim size of roughly 7.375x9.25 inches (roughly 18.75x23.5 cm) results in a print area of roughly 5.75x7.5 inches (roughly 14.5x19 cm) and a character count per page of 2800.

A trim size of roughly 8.5x11 inches (roughly 21.5x28 cm) results in a print area of roughly 7x9.25 inches (roughly 17.75x23.5 cm) and a character count per page of 4850.

So depending on your projected trim size, divide your character count by 2100, 2600, 2800, or 4850 respectively. Of course these calculations do not accommodate partial pages, illustrations, callouts, or the like, but they will give you a sufficient idea of your final page count for most purposes. Note too, the publishers can dramatically alter these counts by changing font sizes, and leadings.

Hope this is helpful,


Of course, this is different in Hollywood screenwriting. The format is fairly rigidly determined (61 chars per line, 10 chars per inch, 54 lines per page) so getting the page count is both valuable and unambiguous.

(I’m not nagging, KB, just making a clarification.)


Having produced the layout of some books, I know that there is no way to predict actual page count. In the end, you have to play around with the layout, font, kerning and so forth to fit the text in your publication.

Nevertheless, I would like to respectfully differ about the meaninglessness of word counts. I have published three books of fiction, and every publisher have asked me either word count or page count. When you submit short stories for publication, you are asked to include word count. Humanities journals give a ball park word count to use.

What I was asking Keith was not for an accurate final page count, but for a quick estimate–this is the key word–for those of us who work fiction or papers in the humanities. That’s all.

I’m not sure how helpful this will be given that you use two different words/page methods for different types of writing, but have you checked out Scrivener’s “Project Statistics”? (View -> Statistics)

It has the word count and (paperback) page estimate for your draft.

For what it’s worth, I think that those numbers were standard on typewriters well before I ever saw a computer (i.e. a long time ago).

/quote Having produced the layout of some books, I know that there is no way to predict actual page count. In the end, you have to play around with the layout, font, kerning and so forth to fit the text in your publication./quote

Before moving from books to magazines a dozen years ago (about which I’m still a bit antsy), I’d published upwards of 220 books. All started on the editorial side by doing a castoff from word count.

When I found a manuscript I liked, I counted words in five or six lines on the page, counted the lines on three or four pages, came up with an average words-per-page, counted the pages, and came up with a word count for the manuscript (this was in the days before computers did word counts, back when we were still wondering how we’d ever fill up a 360k double-sided floppy and a hard drive was a long trip over bad roads). Armed with this, I’d go to my cheat-sheet and see that 85,000 words might come out an even number of signatures if I used a 6x9 trim, and then I’d run a P&L (a profit-and-loss study, for you academics) to see how many copies I’d need to sell to make it break-even, given the known plant and manufacturing costs for a given trim at a given print run.

Character counts never came into it on the editorial side, though production used them–still uses them, for that matter. But we stuff seven issues a year out the door, and all start with word counts. From word-counts I can figure out roughly how many stories of what length I can squeeze between the art and advertising of any given issue.

…Moved to Wish List, where this belongs. :slight_smile:

Whilst in theory it would be straightforward to have it so that words-per-page could be set by the user (though having this as a project setting would be one-more-thing-to-do :slight_smile: ), the 61x54 of screenwriting would really be difficult to calculate without doing the actual page layout internally. I do think that most writers go by word count anyway, though I understand that this is not true for all. Novels are usually measured in words, because an A4 word count is hardly the same as a paperback one. Short stories are limited to a certain number of words (often 6,000). Academic essays have word limits (2,500 for your average uni essay in England, 10,000-12,000 for a dissertation). And so on and so forth.

I really think this will have to be a 2.0 consideration, sorry.

All the best,

I had had the same wishful thought as Amaru. It would allow me to retire a little spreadsheet I set up that converts word or character counts into page counts for a variety of formats.

Here is a suggested implementation (for whenever it comes up on the list for consideration): Where you have the page count in Project Statistics, let the standard there (currently ‘paperback’) be a pop-up menu just like you have implemented for labels and status. The same mechanism that makes those lists editable can be brought to bear to enable users to specify their own menu names and words per page.