setting word count target

Sorry, I’m sure this is easy but I can’t work out how to set a word count target for each chapter? Thank you.

There probably is, but in order to find it: how would you describe your chapters as there are an innumerable ways of doing so in Scrivener? A couple of common scenarios: are they loose collections of outline items gathered together under a single container (or folder), or are they single items in the outliner, all listed one after the other—or something else?

I believe each chapter is a subdocument of something called manuscript. In outliner, each chapter appears as a line item.

(I’m trying to explore Scrivener and use more of what it has to offer - I’ve been using only very basic features up to now - and have to admit I’m finding it a little challenging.) Thanks for your help.

Okay, so it sounds like you have a list of files in the manuscript folder, where each file is a chapter. That makes it easy. All you have to do then is load that chapter in your editor and in the footer bar for the editor; to the right of the statistics read-out that shows word/char count, you’ll find a small round target button. Click that and type in your goal for this chapter. When you click Ok on that, a progress bar will appear, and the statistics read-out will change to show “x of y” format.

Thank you! I didn’t realize the little circle was there. Much appreciated!

You’re welcome! You can add these progress bars to your outliner as well, so it’s very easy to get a quick overview of how your chapters are coming along. Here is a sample screenshot from the web site:

Oh, that’s nice. I added them, thanks!

AmberV (and other wonderful folks who make Scrivener so amazing):

I think carrieb isn’t the only one struggling with how to set the targets. It’s not particularly intuitive in the current version.

So, while this topic is on the radar screen: it would be really nice to see some improvements in the next version particularly on setting targets. It’s a terrific feature, but it would be much more useful to be able to set targets from outline mode, for example, with all of them lined up. Word targets seem to be initially intended for encouraging people to reach their goals of having enough words. But I find my self using them mainly to get a sense of how long I want different sections of a paper or chapter to be, and whether I have too many words.

For that, it would be great to be able to adjust the targets while looking at them all lined up in outline mode (or index cards, I suppose). And what would be really useful is to have a way to keep tabs on how far over the word limit I am on a given chapter or section, and by how much. Perhaps the color bar could start turning yellow and orange to the right of the target line?

You can already change the target in outline mode by adding the “Target” column to the outliner.

All the best,

I have just discovered you wonderful people and this awesome tool. I have imported a first draft from Word into a folder and chapters are individual pages in that folder. I am wondering if it is possible to get a word count for only new writing I do to these documents now. I am currently jotting down the word count listed on a piece of paper and subtracting the total at the end of my day. But since I deleting paragraphs in the rewrite process, I am not able to get a good idea of how much new writing I am doing.

Any idea how I can track new word counts for older documents?

Also, I am not clear what Insert> manuscript word count does since when I select it it seems to just paste a bit of code into the doc- this:<$wc> What will that do for me?

Those codes will evaluate into normal text when you compile the document. That one in particular is useful for submissions title pages where you need a word count in the upper-right. There are other placeholder tags as well that function as counters, so you don’t need to manually number your chapters. A full listing is in the Help menu.

I can’t think of any clever ways to count a document up from a certain date, short of using another document that starts out blank and merging them later—but it sound more like you are editing as well as writing at this point.

You might be able to use the Project Targets for a word count, since that will start at zero for the beginning of your session and then only count text you’re writing. It won’t be document-specific, though, so if you’re regularly jumping about and adding/deleting text from different files, this won’t really help you out. If you tend to just open up one document and go to town, though, the session count will only pertain to that one document you worked in and so can give you a count.

Thanks for the info. It doesn’t look like there is a way to get a word count for new material on an old doc. So I think I will try selecting a different color font the way Final Draft uses for revisions and that will give me a visual ball park. If I really feel curious, I suppose I could copy and paste the revision color into a new doc to get an exact word count…


Earlier, Keith gave a helpful answer (quoted below) to my frustration with not being able to figure out how to set word count targets in Outliner mode. I recently reencountered the problem (or my ignorance), but now I understand what happens: I standardly have the “Total Target” column showing but not the “Target” column, since I don’t set targets for documents that are at the lowest level in the hierarchy (and usually just for folders). As Keith says, you need to have the “Target” column showing. But with my standard settings, I can see the word count and the total target, but cannot change or set anything. This is perhaps something to mention in future updates to the (excellent) User Manual.

I’ll think about it. I try to avoid as many negative statements as possible in the manual, because those are boundless and if you have too much of that it starts to sound like a legal document, while there is only one positive fact: you can edit the target with the Target column in the outliner. What probably could be better stated is how to set up a de facto total target by editing the container’s target in text edit mode, or by using a Target column, as I imagine you aren’t the only person that thinks in chapters and not scenes or sections when it comes to word count goals.