Word Count counts...?

Apologies if the answer’s elsewhere (I’ve been looking): my wordcount on a 5,000 word essay seems to be 3,000 words MORE than it should be. That is, project statistics tells me it’s 8,000 words, but when I add up the sections manually (or export it to Word), I get 5,000.

Is Project Statistics also counting the document notes? If so, how do I get it to just count the words in the files?

Many thanks!


It can be configured to count documents that otherwise do not export, as well as inline notes and footnotes, so that could be bloating your count. It won’t check notes that you type into the Inspector pane, though. Check the options tab in the project statistics window for details on tweaking how this works.

Most often, people get large disparities like this by accidentally inserting text into folders. Check your folder icons, and if any of them have a little page in the corner that means there is text in them as well. By default, folders are set to not compile, so they won’t show up in Word, but could be getting counted in the stats.

Many thanks! I’ll check all of that out.


You can get a word count from Project Statistics that is bigger than you expect, if your Compile Draft… settings have been set to include Titles, Metadata, Synopses, and/or Notes.

In general, Project Statistics attempts to count words according to what your Compile Draft settings say you mean to ultimately output of your project. So, if your current settings there say you mean to compile Synopses into final output, for example, then words in synopses in index cards get counted by Project Statistics, too.

By the way, here is a quick alternative: The word count you get from Project Targets besides being notably faster to come up, never includes the above sorts of counts. Its only downside is that it does include in its count all annotation text.