Why don't folder progress bars work?


Any help with this would be great. I assume I’m missing something obvious, but I’ve no idea how or why. The Manual states:

However, the progress bar is always empty. It does not tally the documents in it.
So, how is it possible?


Setting a target on a folder isn’t setting a target for its sub-documents–a folder is capable of having its own words*, so the first chapter’s target of 2000 words is unfulfilled, therefore, its progress bar is empty. You don’t see any ‘progress’ on it because the folder’s progress bar isn’t looking at its subdocuments. Also, the total targets for your first chapter’s sub-documents sum up to 2,500, but your folder’s target is 2,000. How would a program reconcile that difference if it worked the way you expected?

Unlike Total Word Count, progress bars can’t easily show an over-abundance of words, nor can they know what all people would expect when sub-documents are a mix of excess words and unmet goals that in total sum up to more than the goal of the. Think about what a progress bar should show for a folder that contains three documents: Document One has 999/1,000 words, Document Two has 901/500, and Document Three has 800/2,000 words. The only way I could make that work is for the progress bar to a section for each of its subdocuments (effectively 3 progress bars in one), so that the first segment is almost full, the second is full, and the third is less than half-way full. But that solution would break down if there were 100 sub-documents in a folder, or a bunch of sub-folders with sub-documents, all with their own goals…

I think the general solution is too complex and counter-intuitive for a progress bar that works on sub-documents. That’s my guess for why there isn’t a “Total Progress” bar that you can add to the outline view.

  • Folders can contain their own text (and you can convert a folder to a text document and vice-versa without losing any of that text), which is metaphorically like writing all over a manila file folder which also contains paper that you’ve written on.

Thanks for your answer! I expect it to NOT tally the sub-doc targets, simply to tally the word count of each sub-doc. The sub document targets would be irrelevant to the folder target. That is how I expected it to work. Clearly it doesn’t. At least I can stop banging my head against the wall now. :wink:


I need clarity on this, please. I did not understand the explanation given above.

I have folders that are chapters, and subdocuments that are scenes. The folder has a target set. The subdocuments do not.

In Scrivenings view - folder level shows total word count for the chapter, and target, and progress bar is red/yellow/green
In Outliner view - folder level shows total word count, but 0 for target and nothing on progress bar.

I don’t understand why the information that is present in the one view isn’t present in the other view.

Is there a workaround? I really need to be able to compare the lengths of the chapters to each other and to the goal, without combining the scenes inside yet, because I will move the scenes between chapters if any one chapter is too long.


ETA: I just compared my screen to my girlfriend’s, who uses a Mac. She has progress bars for every one of her folders in the outliner view, as well as each scene inside the folder. I wonder if this is a difference between Mac and Windows.

I seem to be having the same problem. Can anybody please provide a definite answer whether this is a difference between Windows and Mac?

The explanation given above by rdale doesn’t seem to be correct, as can be seen in the following screenshot from the Web:

Look at the total word count and progress bar for “Chapter 1” – it counts all the words of the blurred sub-documents and correctly fills the folder progress bar. But this is a Mac screenshot.
In my Windows version for a test project (see attachment below), it does properly count all the words in the sub-documents, but the progress bar of the folders remain empty. But if it can count the words of sub-documents and add them to the folder total, why can’t it fill the folder progress bar? Is this a bug? Will this be fixed in the upcoming new Windows release? It’s driving me nuts, and I’d appreciate any help with this. :confused:

Thank you!
my wordcount.jpg

Doesn’t the Windows version have ‘Total progress’? That’s what your friend has chosen to show in her outline.

No, the only option I see under View > Outliner Columns is “Progress” (whereas there’s “Word Count” and “Total Word Count”). :frowning:

Hello there,
Don’t forget the way folders and their contents work.
A folder can have its own text, without any content whatsoever.

As an example from a physical sense I could get my card folder and put in three documents with nothing written on the folder. There would be no progress or word count for the folder itself if it was translated to a scriv folder and viewed in outliner.

I could get my card folder and put in three documents and then write on the folder itself, “Reminder, this contains ideas for chapter three.” Now there would be a word count of seven and a progress bar movement, IF I had set a target for that folder.

Folder word count and progress bars for a folder will only show what is written to the folder, NOT the documents it contains.
To see what the word count is for the folder AND its contents, use Total Word Count. Total word count is available from the Menu / View / Outliner Columns ( or the little arrow top right of editor.)

This is as I understand it and works for me with Windows Scrivener. As for Mac, I could write what I know with a laundry marker on the back of my finger nail after drinking a bottle of good malt…

thanks for your help, but I’m afraid you just repeated what others have said above and didn’t address the issue here.
As you can see in my screenshots above, the folder progress bar in the first screenshot does indeed work the way we are trying to get it to work in Windows. Count the numbers in green – they add up to 3,939 for Chapter I, and that’s exactly what’s shown on the right. And the folder’s progress bar is filled even though the Chapter item itself contains 0 words. (Same is true for all the other folders – none of the chapter folders contains any words, but the progress bars are all filled based on the words in the documents contained in the folders.)
In the Windows screenshot, however, the folder’s progress bar remains empty even though the folder’s total word count is properly added up.

So, I guess since nobody has a solution, that’s indeed a bug. I hope someone from L&L is reading along so this will be fixed in the upcoming release. Pretty please?

This is not a bug, it is a known feature difference between the two versions: the “Total Word Count” and “Total Progress” columns are not available in the Windows version of Scrivener’s Outline view.

As previously noted, Windows Scrivener 3.0 is expected to achieve feature parity with the Mac version.


Is there any update in this issue for Windows users?

My install reports it’s “up to date” and running “Version: - 14 Nov 2019”
I do NOT have a “Total Progress” column in the outliner, and the progress bar colume is useless.

Like other posters above, I’m working on novels, and I set target word counts for folders only–never documents or subdocuments. The documents are chapters or scenes and should be however long the story requires. But I do put targets on the overall manuscript and on each structural part (act, etc.). Since documents and subdocuments are part of the content of a folder, they should necessarily count toward its progress and show up in the progress bar, but they don’t.

The argument above that folders can have their own content makes no sense at all. Yes, they can have their own content, but why on Earth would anyone ever set a target for a folder and want to exclude from that total the words written in documents within the folder (at least unless the “do not include in compile” flag is set. That defies the very concept of a folder. Furthermore, as someone else posted, the progress bar at the bottom of the editor when in Scrivenings view correctly displays folder progress by including the work counts from its subdocuments (because why wouldn’t you?) but the progress bar on the outliner doesn’t. These two progress bars should be the same, as they serve the same purpose, only one it used in overview.


As noted, this is a Win Scrivener 3 feature. You can download the Win Scrivener 3 public beta here:


Suppose I’m editing an anthology. The subdocuments in the folder are contributed stories. The folder text is my introduction to each thematic section. I don’t care how long the individual stories are, but I do care how long my introduction is.


Folders are a way to organize a hierarchical structure. By definition, content inside a folder is part of the folder and counts toward its length, just as paper inside a physical folder gives it girth. Otherwise, the folder metaphor collapses.

In your example, you should create a folder for each thematic section, and your introduction to each section should be a text document inside the section folder, just like the stories are. What you describe is like using a physical file folder in which the introduction for a section is inexplicably typed on the folder itself instead of placed inside. No one would ever do that for obvious reasons. Only labels go on folders, or what these days we call metadata.

Indeed, in Scrivener today, when you open a folder in Scrivenings, the progress counter in the lower right reflects all the content in all the subfolders and subdocuments–just as it should. All I’m saying is that the progress bar in the outliners should do the same, because otherwise it’s impossible to use the Outliner to see the overview of progress, and there is no other way to get it.

That might be how you would do it. It isn’t how I would do it, and we try to avoid telling users what they should do.

As noted, the column you want is “Total Progress,” which should exist in Win Scrivener 3.

The progress bar in Scrivenings view will reflect whatever documents are currently selected, and therefore doesn’t necessarily have any relationship to the outline hierarchy.


Fair enough, and so it does–the “Total Progress” bar does exactly what I want in V3, with one minor caveat–which I could not find any reference to in the beta forum, and didn’t want to enter as a bug since I might just be missing something.

When I create a new project in Win 3 from a template created in win 1.9x, the Outliner with “Total Progress” and “Target” columns correctly show the targets I entered for my folders before saving as a template in the older version. HOWEVER, when I switch to scrivenings, none of the folders display a bullseye in the lower right corner, and there is no way to change folder targets anywhere I can find.

That might be a bug, but I see you’ve made quite a few changes to the folders and sections and groups, and it might be that there is just some easy checkbox I have to check somewhere to restore that functionality, and if that’s the case, rather than cluttering up the beta forum, beta to note it here for those finding this thread in the future as I did.