Word count discrepancy in Scrivener?

Scrivener’s word count of my novel says it has 149,000 words and I was fairly sure it should not have jumped that high. So I compiled it to MS Word docx file and ran a word count inside that document and it came up with a word count of 130.000 which is closer to what I suspect is…any ideas?

19,000 words sounds like there’s a large chunk of extraneous material – research notes? a previous draft? – in the count somewhere.

I unchecked the include in compile boxes in research trash etc…

Where specifically are you seeing the erroneous count? Scrivener will show statistics in a variety of places.

I remember a discussion either here or in the old NaNoWriMo forums — before they changed to using Discourse — about the differences between Word and other products (including Scrivener) word count because these were not the same. Can’t recall the exact details but one of the programs counts hyphenated words as two distinct words and others count these as one word. In work in excess of 130,000 words these alternative ways of counting can amount to large discrepancies.

The best place to check for accuracy is the Project ▸ Statistics... menu command, which in fact runs a quick and dirty plain-text compile in the background to make sure everything is excluded/included that should be (such as headings, footnotes, removing comments, etc.).

All other statistics are estimates, and can be wild estimates depending on how you work. For example I use a lot of inline annotations, and tend to keep full notes as whole sections in the Draft folder, with their Include in Compile checkmark disabled of course. Thus the common advice I see people give, of using Scrivenings mode to build a combined count in the footer bar, would almost always be hilariously inaccurate for me.

Statistics though—that cuts out all the notation fat and adds in the <$include> tags I use, deletes styled text where requested, and so on. In theory the number it comes up with should be very close to what I would get if I dropped the compiled output back into the binder and checked the footer bar.

Have you tried that? That might tell you more about whether it is a problem with which tool is being used, or settings within it, than using another program’s word counter (for the reasons noted above, there is no universal definition of a “word”).