Very strange word count

Original deleted

This was more an observation than a cry for help. The “project word count” on one project kept spitting out a number which had no discernible connection with the actual number of words in the project. No other problems, and the problem did not show up in any of the other dozen or so Scrivener projects on my iMac. None of the orthodox quick-fixes made any difference. Finally, I donned a tinfoil hat to to neutralize trans-cosmic radiation, and copy-moved each file into a new project. The pwc now seems accurate. I think it was copying the files which made the difference, but if you run into this problem, don’t discount the tinfoil hat.

Hmm… There is no good reason the word count should ever be out. This used to be a problem in Scrivener Gold, where the word count of individual documents was stored with the project data to speed up project word counts, which could mean that in some rare circumstances the stored word count could become out of sync with the actual word count. But in Scrivener, the project word count takes longer because it goes through the text of every document and counts the words in them. However, rather than opening up the file on disk, come to think of it, it uses the binderStrings.xml file, which stores plain text versions of the text for searching. It might be worth trying to search for a phrase from one of the problem documents in the problem project (a phrase that definitely exists). If the search cannot find it, it may be that somehow the binderStrings.xml has become out of sync. In 1.1 I have speeded up saving by only saving binderStrings.xml (which can grow quite large) upon closing the project. If the project doesn’t close properly, upon opening it again Scrivener will take the time to re-syncronise all the binder strings for searching (and word counts). I have also added the ability that if you hold down the Control key whilst clicking on “Save” in the File menu, you can force Scrivener to re-syncronise this important file. Hopefully in the future, this will be a trick you can use to fix this situation should it ever arise.

Just out of interest, though - you did make sure that you hadn’t set it only to count non-exportable documents or some such in the Options tab, I assume?

All the best,


Yes, I did make sure about the options. In fact, I tried juggling the options settings to see what effect that had: none.

Search did accurately report random phrase and words.

In case you didn’t read this before I deleted the rambling original, these factors also might be interesting.
–Inserting a rather large document (2000+ words) would increase the project word count by about one percent.
–Typing in an additional short passage (10-15 words) did not change the project word count.
–Any change, small or large, was accurately noted in the text statistics.
–Figures in outliner were accurate, as were the figures at the bottom of the page and the project total using Control-click.
–The pages (paperback) number was accurate insofar as it was proportional to the inaccurate project word count.
–The pages (printed) was not similarly proportional, reading for example, 20 pages for 2253 words.

When I copied the entire project, and opened the copy, all the numbering anomalies were still there.

When I dragged each document separately into a new project, all the problems disappeared.

As I have all my work now safely in the new project, this is no longer even a nuisance. And as you have provided a fix for it in 1.1, I guess it will remain a mystery for the archives. (Just now, for the hell of it, I tried Control-clicking save. No effect.)

Even with an erratic word count, however, S is not only a bargain but is clearly the best program of its type around.

For which many of us thank you.


Ctrl-clicking on save doesn’t work on any version of Scrivener that is available yet - I only added it a couple of days ago, so currently it is only available in my copy. :slight_smile: It will be there in 1.09.

Very strange, all of this, I must say, though Project Statistics has had a few bugs in it. One to keep an eye on, I guess.

Thanks and all the best,

PJS, hiya,

Just read your blog!

Another brilliant reason, for being glad I bought Scrivener.

Dont let em of the hook, Phil!

Take care

Just for the record, Phil sent me his project and this is not a bug but does point to something I need to add to the Help file. For some reason, in his project, there was no text checked in the Export Draft sheet. Project Statistics uses the Export Draft settings to generate the word count and character count for the draft, including only elements set to be included in Export Draft. Thus, if Text is not checked for Files, File Groups or Folders, the word count will not change.

Hopefully this is useful to somebody searching the forum in the future…

All the best,


Thank you. Time spent on one mission, as I’m sure you know, cuts into time available for another. Chastise the rascals; finish the novel. There’s always a trade-off.


Glad you were able to isolate a potential problem, abashed that my own clumsiness is what made it visible.


Not clumsiness at all, Phil - this would have bitten somebody else if it hadn’t been you and is definitely the sort of thing that needs mention in the Help file.