Word Counts

Hi everybody,

I’m semi-new at Scrivener, which I’m trying to use to whittle down a 131,000-word document. Can somebody please explain why the Word Count in Scrivener is roughly 700 words greater than it is in the draft I export into a Word file (for the latter, I’m using Word’s Properties pane)? I made sure all the unwanted documents were not compiled in the draft – and besides, the higher word count is inside Scrivener itself.

(And while I’m here, is there a way to batch-uncheck “Include In Draft” for when I create duplicates of documents I want to preserve pre-editing? When I select more than one document, the Inspector disappears.)

Thank you for any assistance you might have!


I’ve found that Outliner (show column with needed data, select needed documents, and right click) or Binder (select and right click) works to modify a setting for multiple documents, but I might be doing that the hard way. :smiley:

On word counts, different word processors tally them different ways. Take “check-in time.” Technically, “check-in” is one word, and some word processors tally it that way. Some would ignore the hyphen and treat it like it’s “check in”, two words. The same applies if you have em-dashes (—) connected to words; some word processors would count the words on either side of the em-dash as individual words, and some would count them as one word together (which is technically incorrect).

Also, I believe Scrivener’s word count includes annotations, but I might be wrong on that. :slight_smile:


You can also Opt-click on the checkboxes in Outliner to toggle all visible items on or off.

I believe Carradee has already summed up the difficulties of counting words. There is no iron-clad rule for word counting, and nearly every program does it slightly differently. These small discrepancies can lead to larger ones in long texts.

Scrivener can include annotations or footnotes in the count, but this is optional. By default annotations are not counted in Project Statistics, but footnotes are. This behaviour can be modified in the Options tab of this sheet.

Thanks, Carradee and AmberV. I’ll try to get more accustomed to the Outliner – it seems like I would still need to individually check/uncheck “Include in Draft,” unless I misunderstood that.

Per Word Count, I don’t have annotations in the document, but perhaps things like hyphens and section breaks (currently “******”) account for the discrepancies. Unfortunately, to stay consistent with the document I’m whittling it down from (a Word document), I’m going to have to keep Compiling Draft each time I count. Oh well.

Thanks for your help though, I appreciate it. I’m sure I’ll be back with other questions!

All the best,

Well, like I say, you can hold down the Option key when clicking on those checkmarks to toggle them all at once, so you needn’t do each at at time.

Ah, thank you. When I tried that last night, it didn’t seem to work, but now I see it worked. It still seems all-or-nothing though – in Outline view, when I use Option-click, all of my documents get either checked or unchecked. I wanted to be able to select, say, half the documents. Perhaps I should move the unwanted items into the Research folder, but then I wouldn’t have this problem, because those items are not included in Compile Draft or Word Count.

Also, in the Outline View, all my documents that have sub-documents are always collapsed, so I have to manually open each one up if I want to specify what to include and what not to include. It seems excessively laborious to do this each time, and odd that Scrivener cannot remember a preferred view, but maybe I’m using a workflow that’s not ideal for Scrivener. I’m still getting used to it.

Thanks for your help.

The Option-click trick works on all visible documents, so yes a part of the strategy is getting the Outliner to display only those documents you want to change. You can use temporary folders to accomplish this pretty easily, if need be. Also, the Option click thing works on the disclosure arrows as well. You can expand or collapse all the way down to the bottom of the hierarchy this way, quickly revealing larger portions of the outline.

Persistence of disclosure preferences will be better in 2.0.

Thanks, AmberV. I tried selecting all my Chapters and Option-Clicked the arrows to open them and display the hierarchy, but it only opened the Chapter I clicked. I don’t think I’ll use the Outliner much.

I’m still getting used to the program. It would be nice if there were an easy way to quickly see (e.g. in the Outliner, if the Outliner had an easily-expandable Chapter view) which Documents had associated Notes in the Inspector, so that one could see which Documents have outstanding issues associated with them. (Perhaps this exists, I just haven’t found it yet.)

Thanks again for the assistance. Sorry for the newbie questions.


There is also Opt-RightArrow (which will impact all selected items) and Cmd-9, which will expand everything visible as far as it can be expanded, no matter what is selected. :slight_smile:

The ability to see what sort of meta-data a document has is coming in 2.0. There will be a flag beside the Inspector icon for each type that has relevant data. So if a document has References for example, you’ll be able to see that it does even if that pane isn’t open. There isn’t anything like that in the Outliner, though you will be able to view keywords in the Outliner—so maybe you could use keywords to flag documents with issues (I do this already).

Aah, cool, thanks, I wasn’t aware of the Expand/Collapse-All features. That’s what I need. What is Opt-Right Arrow though? I Only see the right-pointing arrows, but when I Opt-Click when more than one Document is selected, it only affects the Document whose arrow I’ve clicked.

By the way, as I’m charting my way around, here’s something that I don’t quite understand: When I do a Find for a word, then click inside one of the documents that results, there is no way of knowing where I am in the Binder hierarchy. So I’ve changed the titles of all my sub-documents to state the Chapter Number before the scene title. It would be nice if the Chapter Number, or whatever the document pathway is, were to appear in the title banner of the document itself, so I’d know where I was. Also, once I have entered the Document and I’ve clicked “x” to exit the Search Window and see the Binder again, the Binder does not highlight the Document I’m now in. It’s a bit strange – I need to navigate around to highlight the Document in the Binder that I’ve already chosen from the Search results. That’s another reason retitling all my sub-Documents was necessary – but it seems counterintuitive of Scrivener, at least from my novice perspective.

Everybody else raves about Scrivener so I hesitate to make criticisms, because I assume I just don’t know the program well enough.

In any event, do you know when Version 2 will be released?


Sorry, what I meant by that was the RightArrow key on your keyboard. By themselves, the left and right arrow keys will do the same as clicking on a single arrow once. Though if you have ten chapters selected, pressing RightArrow will open them all a single level of depth at once. With the Option key though, all ten chapters will open to full depth. In opposite to the aforementioned Cmd-9, Cmd-0 will completely collapse the outline, too.

Incidentally you can also move items around in the outline with Ctrl-Cmd arrow keys. Play around with the four arrow keys to get a feel for how that works, but it can save a lot of drag-and-drop time once you get used to it.

Right now you can use Reveal in Binder (Opt-Cmd-R). This works in a number of places, incidentally, not just the search result list. In 2.0, you’ll also be able to examine the “Path” of an item using the icon in the header bar (next to the title in the editor). This will provide a passive way to examine where something is contextually, without leaving the search result list like Reveal does. It will present this list in a menu, showing the “path” or hierarchy of the displayed item, much in the same way that Cmd-clicking on a window title in nearly any OS X application will show you where it is in the Finder; and also like the Finder if you select any of those path items you’ll jump straight two it in the Binder. To put that into a practical example: say your search result found a document called “Scene 43”, but you have no idea what chapter or even part of the book that is in. If you clicked on the header icon for it, you could examine Path and see “Scene 43 / Chapter 12 / Part II / Draft”, in ascending order like that.

So I’d really avoid hard-coding names into your titles if at all possible. This will reduce the amount of flexibility that Scrivener provides you with. If you change Scene 43 to Chapter 10, you won’t have to edit its title to keep it up to date.

The reason why path is put in a menu instead of in the title area is due to space. It would just get awfully cramped up there with even short titles, at a reasonable depth. Using a menu means you can express even great depth with very verbose titles in an informative manner.

There are a lot of tricks and methods, no doubt about it. It’s the type of program that uses the recombination of small tools to orchestrate workflows, rather than providing set structures that reduce flexibility. This way a novelist can use Scrivener and call things “Manuscript” and “Chapter”, and a journalist can just as easily write a series of articles using the same tools in a different fashion. But yes, it does mean there is more of a learning curve.

Definitely work through the interactive tutorial in the Help menu if you get a chance. It will help you out a lot in getting a grasp on some of these fundamentals and formulating your own strategies.

Late October.

Everyone raves about Midnight’s Children, but I found it turgid and patronising. :slight_smile: Everyone’s different. I built Scrivener the way I want it to work, and it works very nicely for lots of people (and 2.0 is much improved), but I have never claimed it will suit everyone out there.


You can also click on the document icon beside the document name (on top of the text) to select “Reveal in Binder”.

AmberV – Thanks, I didn’t know that about the arrow keys, that’s great. I only have chapters and sub-chapters now, i.e. only one level, so it works without the Opt too.

Good point re. numbering scenes. I already put in the time, though, so I’ll keep it that way until 2.0 comes out; then I’ll probably remove the repetition of Chapter numbers…

I went through the Tutorial a while back, but back then I was mostly using Scrivener for navigation, not editing, so I didn’t retain it all. I’ll try it again, thanks!

Keith – I’m sure it’ll be good for me, I’m just somewhat bad at mastering “learning curves.” But yes, it’s something I need to do. In the past I’ve mainly used Scrivener to navigate my long text – the Binder is excellent – and only now am I tiptoeing into the editing functions (and no, I have not yet dared to actually edit scrivenings. Baby steps…) I’ll definitely upgrade to Version 2 once it’s released though.

Carradee – Thanks, that’s a cool tip, I didn’t know that.

Thanks everybody for your help!

One nice thing about 2.0 is that it will be possible to completely overwrite the Binder titles with procedural generic titles when you compile. This means you can feel free to use descriptive titles that are useful to you as the author, but then export something like “Chapter <$w>” (which will create an automatic numbered sequence when you compile). This may or may not work for everyone, some books use actual chapter titles effectively, but it will be an option and for some, further reason to remain sloppy about things while writing rather than spend so much time worrying about what it will look like in final format.

Same here