I am writing a book and would like to set up a target for each chapter (e.g. 8000 words) so that, even when I am typing in a subsection of that chapter it will show me the total words for the entire chapter. Is that possible? Currently, I have chapters defined as folders, so there is no target option. Thank you.

Load your manuscript in Outline mode, and then add the Total Words column. That will sum up the words written for all sub-documents for each container within your manuscript.

BTW, there is a way to set the goal for your folders too, but it’s not a goal for the documents inside it; folders can contain their very own text. You can access them so you can add text to the folder itself by loading up the Scrivenings mode, and another click on that icon will load the folder as a single document as well. In one book (since abandoned), I was putting introductory quotes into the folder’s text area. I then made the compile settings format those quotes differently from the main text of the chapter’s scenes.

That tells me what the word count is in each section, but I’m trying to fine a “live” total word count for the total document.

If you are looking for a live total for each chapter, then the outline view is the only option. “Total Word Count” shows the sum of all its sub-document’s word counts; you could split the editor and narrow it down to view just the chapter you’re working on at the moment, and it should update fairly quickly after each automatic save. If you collapse the folder so that you can’t see its sub-documents, then you won’t be distracted by the numbers for each scene/section.

If you want to see how many words of your manuscript have been written, and how many you’ve written since you started writing for your current session, then you can open Project Targets from the Project menu, but that doesn’t show you the goal on a per-chapter basis or anything like that.

I thought this would be a simple request, but I’m not being clear. I have a project; the name of it is at the top of the binder. It is the working title of the book. In the binder, I have folders for chapters, and subsections in each folder.

I am working on different subsections (thus different folders) as I write. What I need is something that is telling me, as I write in each of the various subsections, how many total words are in the entire project. It would also be nice to see how many words are in each folder, since each folder represents a book chapter.

I have tried various options under “Project” in the Menu, but nothing seems to get me there.

Just to repeat - I am not as concerned about how many words are in subsections or folders, though that would be a bonus, but I need to know, as I write in whatever subsection/folder I am writing in, how many words are in the total project.

So far as I can tell, “Outline” does not do that for me. I need it to be displayed as I write. Thank you.

That’s why I mentioned Project->Show Project Targets in the second paragraph. That’s exactly what you want.

If you split the editor, view the entire manuscript’s contents in outliner mode, collapse the folders so that you don’t see the documents in them, then you can have that information available while you work in the other editor. You might have to reduce the columns in the outliner to just the document title and Total Word Count and split vertically, if the folders are far apart.

To have the documents from different sections handy in the other editor, you could CMD-click on each document and then view them in scrivenings mode, or you could use the document history buttons/keyboard shortcuts to navigate back and forth between the parts you are working on.


Splitting the editor seems to get me there, mostly. Although the Total Document (Project) has to be in Scrivenings to give me the total word count. Outline still just gives me a count of each section, and no total word count.

One error I can’t correct. I originally set the total project target at 9000 words, but then, under “Project” “Show Project Targets” corrected it to 90,000. However, the total count when in Scrivenings says “Words: xxxxxx/9,000.” For some reason, the change from the erroneous 9000 to 90,000 didn’t “take” in Scrivenings mode. Any idea how to change that?

That’s weird. The Project Targets floating window shouldn’t be affected by what you have selected in your Scrivenings mode (“Scrivenings” is what I call viewing multiple documents as a series of scrollable text with separators, in case that hasn’t been clear). It should just reflect how many words are in your draft. By double-clicking on the 9,000 in that window, you should be able to change it. Same for the session target, if that’s important to you. If that doesn’t work, I’d contact the support email linked to on their main page.

I found my error. In trying initially to get to the proper word count, I had placed a target count on a few of the sections, which totaled 9000. Once I deleted those, now I just get a total count. I don’t see the total target count (90,000) anywhere, but I don’t necessarily have to have that visible. Thanks again.

Just to be certain we’re talking about the same thing, is this window not showing up for you when you go to Project->Show project targets in the menu?

There’s more about that feature and it’s options at … t-targets/

Yes, I had that; it’s just that it just wasn’t matching the menu bar at the bottom of one of the split editors. I had to delete the section targets.