Three Feature Recommendations (Writing Within Word Limits)

Greetings everyone,

I am a daily user of Scrivener and have three recommendations for inclusions. I did not see these in the forum yet, and hopefully I have not just missed these features somewhere in the program I have never looked. Anyway, here they are:

1. Sync Between Binder Document Name and Section Heading in Compiled Piece. I like to name all of the documents in the binder the name of their headings as they will appear in finished document. Right now I just retype the name on the top line of the document and change it in both places when it is necessary. What would be really cool is for there to be an option for the name of the document in the binder to be the heading of its document. You could even check whether this is a level one headed, level two heading, level three heading, etc, so that when compiled, the headings are added automatically and formatted correctly. It would be even cooler if the compiler chose the correct heading type automatically based on the documents hierarchical position in the binder. Then I could move around documents and never have to worry about having the wrong heading format.

2. Features for Writing to a Word Limit. Right now it seems like the word count system is set up to help you get to certain number of words each day. This is great when you are writing fiction for are trying to get down a draft of something. In academic writing though, it is more likely you are writing to a a word limit like “no longer than six thousand words” or “manuscripts should be between six and eight thousand words.” There should be an option to switch over to this kind of writing. If, your manuscript can be no more than six thousand words, when you swap to this mode, the graphical bar would be (say) blue between 0 and 4,000 words, green between 4,001 and 5,000, words, yellow between 5,001 and 6,000 words, and then RED after 6,000. Alternatively, if your document must be between six and eight thousand words, your bar should be green only as long as you are within that count (maybe turning yellow and then orange as you approach either end of those limits), and then RED as soon as you go over or under. This brings me to …

3. An Option to Have a Word Count Inclusive of Subdocuments. Often when I am writing something that has to fall within a certain world limit, I will break up the piece into “Introduction”, “Part 1”, Part 2”, “Part 3”, “Conclusion”, etc. Then I assign the maximum number of words that each will be allotted. Each has the potential for a number of subdocuments (or sub-sub documents).I don’t care what the word distribution is inside of the part, only that each part is coming within its limits. I can hit the little bull’s eye and enter a target for this document, but that does not include the subdocuments. A checkbox there to make the word target there “include all subdocuments” would be great.

Thanks so much!


If I’ve understood you correctly, you can do 1) and 3) already.

For 1), open the Compile dialogue, then choose the All Options tab. In the Compilation Options list, choose Formatting.

You’ll see a replication of the structure of your document, split into levels of Folders / Document Groups / Documents. You can add new Levels if you need to.

You can choose whether to have the Titles printed for each row. If you tick ‘Title’, then the word Title will appear in the dummy text. Select it and apply whatever format you want: this formatting will be applied to the title of every document in that level. This process means that there’s not need to have the title in the document itself: it’s purely taken from the document title in the Binder.

If you click Section Layout, you can alter the title in various ways – e.g. by adding Prefixes and Suffixes – the dummy text will reflect your choices. You have to do this for each level that you want to amend – otherwise lower levels inherit the format from higher levels of each type.

This is very flexible and it can get a bit confusing at first (although there’s really a clear logic to it), so it would probably be worth reading the relevant section in the Manual, but essentially, you can format your titles in almost any way conceivable, without having to replicate them in the text itself.

  1. Highlight the top level folder (Draft or Manuscript normally).Type cmd-3 to enter Outline view and click in it. Then type cmd-9 to expand it so you see every document that will be compiled.

Then Click on the double chevron in the right side of the header. You’ll see a list of fields, amongst which are Words and Total Words. Click to add them to the outline header. You’ll see that Total Words aggregates the word count for its children. Similar fields exist for Target and Total Target etc. Perhaps a combination of these will do what you want?

Apologies if I’ve misunderstood…

Also, there is an option for the progress bars in the Appearance preference pane that you might prefer to use instead of the gradual colour shift which is default, “Target progress bars use smooth transition between colors”. When that is off, it will work more like you describe, though with three states. If you choose red for the last state (which is the default if I remember right), then it will turn red as soon as you hit 6,000, but at no point before that. This impacts all of the progress bars in the software.

Ah, thank you very much for the responses.

With regard to the “binder names becoming section headings”, so it does seem like the functionality is there, just all in the compile phase. I have a document to compile next week so I will try getting into the nuts and bolts of that then. I was looking for options or check boxes in the inspector or in the document to flag a document to use the binder name.

The outline view with the “Total Words” and “Total Target” is almost what I am looking for. I really wanted to be able to click into the “cell” for the “Total Target” of a major section and just type in what the word allotment would be, because I don’t care where those words are in the subsections. But it looks like I had to make up artificial word targets for the subsections to tally up the “Total Target”. So that will help out, but is not quite it.

With regard to the progress bar, okay, so the option to invert the colors from the default color scheme is a major help. So I did that. It, so far as I can tell, still does not give you the flexibility to give an acceptable “word range” for the document. But that did move me in the right direction. But you are right, that did invert all of the progress bars, which means the session tracker progress bar is also inverted, which makes less sense. I’d like to change just it back!

But again, that you all! You helped me out, and it still looks like there remain a couple of “tweaks” to for the feature “wishlist”.

Thanks so much,

You don’t have to do it that way. Instead, just show the “Target” column (not the “Total Target” one) and the “Total Progress” column. You can edit the “Target” column, as that sets the target for each individual document, but instead of setting artificial word targets for the subsection, just set the total target in “Target” for the group and make sure the other targets are 0. Since “Total Progress” and “Total Words” adds up the targets and counts of the enclosing group and all of its subsections, this will do exactly what you want if I understand you correctly.

All the best,

I would like to add my voice to the request for an option of targets as a range rather than single number.
So long as your in the range, your bar stays one colour, too high another, too low and third.