Wishes for Meta Data/Project Statistics

I’ve been using Scrivener for several years now, and would love to say thank you for the great software! :slight_smile:

I’d like to add two things to the wish list, and I know I can get around them, sort of, but…

  1. I like to compile as I work and in doing so, I was unaware that checking and unchecking Include in Compile changes the Date Modified setting—in fact, changing any meta data invokes the issue. I’m not sure why it does this, as I figured only changing the text would actually modify the timestamps on this (though reading through another topic, I see that the file itself could be changed). I’m not sure if there is a fix or if I’ll have to deal by using File>Export. As some projects I use are short stories I’d rather not have to do this; I want to have a finished, formatted file without changing modification dates of other stories/chapters/etc.

  2. Because I tend to write shorter fiction, I’ve become accustomed to doing things with compile. For novel length works, I still tend to use the compile feature. I read that Project Statistics uses the Compile feature to do word count. I noticed in the 2.2 update that Projected Statistics now includes the words (as compiled) after the title. In the Options pane, I see rather counterintuitive text: Count current compile group only (which is unchecked, and yet that is what is happening) and Count all documents/Count only documents marked for inclusion/Count only documents not marked for inclusion. I notice that it doesn’t quite matter what I have check as the options don’t seem to work. What the point of this ramble is: I’d like to know my word count and statistics of the entire project, not just the compiled version, and the options seem to suggest that this is possible.

Now, I don’t use meta data all that often for my projects, but I like to see when I wrote particular pieces and as sometimes I outline, these files are created months before I actually write the scene/story/etc. I’m not sure if any of this is possible, but I’ll hope. Thank you again for a terrific program!


First, thanks for the kind words!

The reason is that in Scrivener, it’s not just the text that is the document - the document is the whole thing: the text, the notes, the synopsis, the meta-data. So “Date modified” lets you see when you last made any change to the document.

“Count current compile group only” means that if you have selected a sub-folder in the Draft for compile in the Compile > Contents pane, only that group will be counted when calculating the statistics. Otherwise, the entire Draft is included.

Note that these options are “Selection Statistics Options” - that is, they only apply to the statistics for the current selection in the binder. They do not affect the Draft statistics.

Hope that makes sense.

All the best,

I do understand that “Date Modified” refers to the entire document and not just the text. However, as a writer, I am at least as interested in when I last changed my words as when I last printed them or made a meta-data change. If you could please (!) add a meta-data entry for “Last RTF Change”, or something like that, it would save me the massive headache of having to constantly remember to update my custom meta-data column where I manually track this information. Failing that, perhaps you could allow us to easily find the date and time of the RTF file associated with a give document so that I might be able to double check that I correctly updated my custom meta-data column.



Think of it in the perspective of what the software is actually representing. It isn’t a file manager, where only changing the contents of the file would alter its modification date, but rather it is a piece of an outline that represents an overall document—the Draft. It’s an elaborate description of a single “file” ultimately (in most cases; it could be a set of files as well). So when you make a change like disabling its ability to become a part of that greater file, that’s a fundamental alteration to the definition of the “file” that you are constructing in the Draft.

If you opened up a .doc file and deleted five paragraphs from the middle of it (what unchecking Include in Compile on a five paragraph document is accomplishing), that would absolutely be a Modification Date Changing Event. Some of the other meta-data functions can be a little more blurry, but they can in some cases have just as profound an impact on what the file is and does.

This all aside, something I’d suggest is to not use this checkbox so much. It’s really not meant to be the sort of thing you are constantly using. It’s the type of thing you set because that document isn’t, and probably never will be, a part of the greater whole. Perhaps it is a document with notes on the short story following it—perhaps it is an old revision you want to have available side-by-side. Compile offers you several ways to do selective compilations without having to resort to messing with individual checkboxes. The easiest of which is just simply select the items you wish to compile, then visit the Contents pane and change the compile group menu at the top to “Current Selection”. That preference sticks, so from that point on you can just select-and-compile. A more static way of doing this is to use Collections, which can also be selected from this drop-down menu.

That is in fact why I didn’t suggest changing the current Modified Date meta-data, but rather creating a new one.

Thank you! It was not at all clear to me before that changing the Include flag in the compiler was different from changing it in the outliner!! Especially since changing it in the compiler actually changes the Include in Compile check box in the outliner, but without triggering the modified date!! Thank you again!

P.S. - You may remember me from the Win forum. I have passed to the dark side, now running a mac!!