I’m a Mac user, so I don’t know if things are the same in Windows or not.
Scrivenings view combines any file(s) and / or folder(s) that you select in the binder into a single block of text. This is non-destructive as it just loads the documents into a single stream on a temporary basis for viewing and editing only. It doesn’t change the underlying structure.
In the image below, ‘The Infinitesimal Universe’ is a chapter from a novel, and scenes I, II, and III are the scenes that make up that particular chapter.
If I load ‘The Infinitesimal Universe’ folder into scrivenings view—where it combines all the files into a single block—the footer bar at the bottom of the screen will give me a chapter count.
If I load just scene I, I will see the count for that text file only. If I load scenes I and III, I will see the total count for those two text files.
With scrivenings view, I can load any number of contiguous or non-contiguous folders / text files at any time and see the cumulative count.
So, in your case, you could load chapters 1, 2, and 3 in scrivenings and get the combined count for those chapters.
I assume this is similar in Windows.
Scrivenings is also very useful when loading just one strand of text. For example, I am working on a novel that is set in three different time periods. The novel moves back and forwards through time, but if I want to see all the text from one period as a single block of text—to check for continuity etc—I can.
The image below shows the same chapter in the outliner, with Words and Total Words displayed.
You can see that the folder for ‘The Infinitesimal Universe’ contains a total of 1,669 words—made up from the counts of the individual scenes. The folder itself does not have any words of its own, so its value is zero.
Depending on how many subordinate levels each folder or text file has, the user can see the counts for each individual folder / text file, as well as the total count for all the files and / or folders included in a particular grouping.
Again, I assume this is similar in Windows.
Hope this helps.