Where am I (in a document)?

In a burst of creative action I created a single document of about 7k words.

I now want to split it up into more sensible chunks. But where?

If I make a selection in the document in an editor, I get to see how many words are in the selection… the question is, is there any way to know where the current insertion point is as “X words from the top”? (ideally always on screen where other doc stats are)

Feel free to make that a feature request if it isn’t currently supported.

  • It’s getting tedious selecting back to the top to get the word count and not easy to judge how much further down - or up - to move the selection point
  • I checked the manual, but - search for what? “position”? that’s 65 hits on its own to inspect… much easier to seek the wisdom of the crowd (or @AmberV :slight_smile:)

If your only concern is with the amount of words per split and not the actual content, you could perhaps use line numbering to give you an idea (surely you won’t split halfway in a paragraph), or zoom out until the text is super small (so you’ll see more of your content, and get a more accurate visual cue).

Or you could just “crawl” from the top, adding to your selection using Shift+click.

I think you may have answered your own question:

  • Shift+Ctrl+Home on Windows.
  • ⇧⌘↑ on Mac.

Right-arrow when you are done to return the cursor to the end of the selection block (which will be precisely where you started).

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Zoom out? LOL. No, I need the break to be in a sensibly dramatic place; I need to be able to read smoothly not squint :smiley:

Line numbers? They’re only “lines” in the sense of the text between line-feeds, i.e. they’re actually paragraphs so counting them doesn’t really help.

I have been crawling too. The selection is distracting.

I would just like a you are here word # next to the document word count :slight_smile:

In other words, the answer to the explicit question is “No,” which I only asked because I would just like to see where I am now, not have to work it out.

Prompt response appreciated though :slight_smile: Thx!

I don’t know, and likely it is far fetched, but perhaps there is a way you could use a RegEx to count spaces and drop you a marker after X many words. (?)
(It is not quite what you asked for, I know.)

Another thing you could do, instead of splitting a document, is keep the main one and create new blank ones.
Split the editor, and cut&paste from the main document to the new one(s) until the count at the bottom satisfies you, and move on to the next “container”.

As for what you asked specifically, I don’t recall having ever seen an app that actually does it.
If you know of one, then perhaps that could be part of your solution.

I must be misunderstanding, though I don’t know how as your description seems very simple. The keyboard shortcut I mentioned will show you what position you are in, depending on whatever statistic you prefer (words or characters), in the footer bar. That is what selecting from the current spot to the top of the document does: it counts the words from the very start to where you are: your current position.

Maybe just try it, if it isn’t making sense? It does exactly what you described wanting to do. :slight_smile:

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It does, indeed.
. . . . . . . . .

@AmberV @Vincent_Vincent

Ambiguity resolved: I meant exactly what I asked (am, not was - see below), though it might have been a little clearer if I had perhaps added for emphasis by inspection, rather than by further action.

Select to top does indeed allow me to see the # words, but if I were picky (and unfortunately that’s the way my brain ticks) I would have to say that it doesn’t tell me where I am, it tells me where I was, and unfortunately, keypad “end” on this machine key does not return the insertion point to the place it was at, it sends it “back” to ~2nd line in the window where the insertion point was visible, meaning I then have to hunt for where I was again.

That does seem like odd behaviour for the “end” key because it’s not the end of the selection. Is my experience non-standard in this respect?

Anyway, thank you all for the thoughtful input. I will muddle through :slight_smile:

That is why I suggested using the Right Arrow key to return to your previous position.

The Left and Right arrow keys will move the cursor to the respective edge of the current selection, without moving the cursor beyond that point. It’s a passive dismissing of the selection with a preferred “edge” to place the cursor at, in other words.

So in this particular case the right arrow will bring the cursor back precisely to where you started—making this more of a “where you are” rather than were, really. Though I suppose it depends on what you think of in terms of a selection. Myself I consider the selection to be where you are, no matter how large it is, given the left/right arrow key behaviour. One is neither at the beginning nor the end of a selection, but can be at either end at will. This is starting to sound like a koan.

Good god. My mistake (big). TBH I actually ignored the right arrow key suggestion because I assumed it behaved the same as the End key.

Thanks for the persistence.

Going back to chop wood and drink stronger tea. Thanks :wink:

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As I recall, Word used to have a live readout with this info in the document footer bar. It had the form #words/#pages. When nothing was selected this told you where your insertion point was in relation to the start of the document. This feature of Word seems to be gone now.

I use an Apple program called PopClip (pilotmoon.com) to which you can add a wide variety of plugins that do all sorts of things to your text, one of which is to count the number of characters and words in a selection, which can be quite huge. It is free to try out and $25 for a one-time purchase; money well spent. It is worth a visit and trial to see if it works for you.


I’d guess it is uncommon because few writers would need to know where they are in a text to a level of specificity that the scrollbar’s relative position cannot provide in overview. Knowing you’re about 1/3 of the way into the document is generally good enough, rather than the fact that you are 1,767 characters into 5,303 total.

While that looks like a very handy tool, in this case though, Scrivener already does that. The footer bar automatically switches to selection counting (showing the underlying total in parentheses) whenever you select text. It would be nice to have that system-wide though for sure! Often I paste text into some other program purely to get that kind of information.