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Track Statistics and Targets in Your Scrivener Projects

Scrivener can provide detailed statistics about your projects, and allow you to set targets for texts and the entire project.

No book or long-form writing project can be open-ended; there is always a limit to the word count of your work. Whether it's because you're being paid for a specific word count for an article, or whether a publisher has a limit on the length of a book because of the cost of printing, you're almost always faced with hard limits to how much you write.

Scrivener can help by providing detailed statistics about your projects, and allowing you to set targets for texts and the entire project. You can keep track of your word count as you write, and even get notifications when you hit your target.

Here's how to track statistics and targets in Scrivener.

See your word count

Scrivener shows statistics in a number of ways, and in various locations. Often the most important word count is that for a text you are working on. If your project has one text per chapter, for example, you may want your chapters to be around a certain length. If so, just look at the footer while you're writing; Scrivener shows the current word count. (If you don't see this, choose View > Editor Layout > Show Footer View.)

If you select multiple texts in the Binder, then the word count displayed will be the total of those texts. So, for example, if you have chapters broken up into scenes, and each chapter is in a folder, you can select all the scenes in a folder, or just select the folder itself, to get their total word count.

And if you want to see the current total for your project - this includes everything in your Draft or Manuscript folder, but not any text in your Research folder - just hover your cursor over the Quick Search box in the toolbar; on the left is the total word count for the project.

Finally, if you want more detailed statistics, choose Project > Statistics to display this window:

As you can see, this tells you how many words, characters, and characters without spaces are in your project. It also gives you more information, such as the number of sentences, paragraphs, documents, etc. If you have one or more texts selected in the Binder, click the Selected Documents tab for detailed statistics about your selection.

Scrivener offers some options as to how statistics are calculated. Click the Options tab in the Statistics window to see these:

You can choose to include or exclude certain documents, include footnotes or not, and more.

Set session, document, and project targets

Some writers have a goal to write a certain number of words each day, and stop writing when they reach that goal. Scrivener lets you set session targets, along with targets for documents and projects. These let you see, at a glance, how close you are to your goal or limit.

If you choose Project > Show Project Targets, a small window lets you set targets for the project, and for each session. To set targets, click the number to the left of Words and enter your target. When you view the window, you'll see blue lines going from left to right, showing how close you are to your target.

But you don't need to open this window to see these graphs: just look in the Scrivener toolbar. Above and below the Quick Search field are two lines, which correspond to your progress toward your project (top) and session (bottom) targets.

You can also set targets for each of the texts in the Binder. Click the bulls-eye icon in the footer view; if you don't see this, choose View > Editor Layout > Show Footer View. This displays a window where you can set a target for that document.

The footer view will then show a blue line, as in the Project Targets window above.

And if you check Show Target Notifications in the Project Targets window, you'll get notifications when you reach your target. 

Statistics and targets can help keep you on track as you're writing. Take advantage of these features so you easily know where you stand in your projects.


Kirk McElhearn is a writer, podcaster, and photographer. He is the author of Take Control of Scrivener, and host of the forthcoming podcast Write Now with Scrivener.



anuwrites  /  27 SEPTEMBER 2021

Hi! I was wondering if there is a way to make the blue progress bars be the red to green color changing progress bars from previous versions?


DMJ  /  19 OCTOBER 2021

Hi. Please go to 'Scrivener > Preferences... > Appearance > Targets > Colors'. 'File > Options...' if you're using Scrivener 3 on Windows. :-)
All the best, David.


emessee  /  03 NOVEMBER 2021

I've bucketed scenes into a folder that I'm using as a chapter. I'd love to see the word count for all documents in that folder in the outliner view but it just says 0 until you expand and see the count for each document within the folder. Is there a way to have them add up? Thanks.


Vidyut  /  06 NOVEMBER 2021

It would be really good if we could get yWriter style word counts in the binder itself for chapters and scenes. Makes it really easy to see if chapters are too long or too short, etc.


- Chapter 1 (834/2100)
-- Scene 1 (500/700
-- Scene 2 (34/700)
-- Scene 3 (300/700)
-Chapter 2 (87/2100)
-- etc

And an ability to set default word counts for chapters and scenes. I am still new to using this, but word count is a big deal for me, as I tend to structure my novels, so specific parts of the story have to fit in a certain word count and if they don't, it can involve restructuring or leaving out things if needed. and so far what I find seems counterintuitive and tedious.

Some scenes are important enough to overshoot if need be. Others can be shortened to make space for something important. I am still new at using the software, but so far I seem to be spending a lot of time doing calculations or clicking around for data that are simply there as layout in yWriter.

The micromanager in me likes the greater flexibility of Scrivener, but honestly, I don't need a lot more than the basics. But word count is beyond basic. There has to be a way to have a birds-eye view of where they are going.

The footer is fine for wordcount of the document you are editing, but so far I haven't found anything that makes it easy to see the distribution of the words in the novel.


Vidyut  /  07 NOVEMBER 2021

You may delete the duplicate comments. I think I found a solution - the outliner view seems to list those columns. It isn't as handy as I'd wished, but it is better than nothing.


Edward Rock  /  15 NOVEMBER 2021

A lot of what you are saying there does not apply to my Scriviner. I just uptaded it thinking perhaps it was a matter of version but it didn't work. For example, when I select a chapter folder the footnote view bar does not show the word count. If I select multiple scenes it does not show the word count. There is no blue progress bar on the footnote bar either. I can NOT set targets for each of the texts in the Binders either since there is NO bulls-eye icon anywhere to be found. Help?


iainb  /  08 DECEMBER 2021

Absolutely agree with Vidyut's comment/suggestion. Scrivener is so powerful and offers so many options in other places, this is a bit surprising. It's fine to have an overall project target of, say, 80,000 words. But then it's really useful to see and balance up content and structure in the outliner - and set targets there for individual sections.

These should sub-total automatically and be reflected as a sum per chapter while the whole target column should show a running overall target based on what you have entered as individual section targets.

Collapsing and expanding the folder triangles should maintain the sum to view of the enclosed sections and documents.

The 'Project targets' window should show the overall manuscript target, but also a running total which is the sum of all your section targets.

At the moment I have a good structural map in the Outliner but no way of telling if all the section and document targets add up to anything like the manuscript target - without adding them up by hand.

Also - why do things post multiple times in these blog comments?

Happy writing!


iainb  /  08 DECEMBER 2021

Answer to last question: because the screen and window does absolutely nothing after you hit 'Post' - hence the temptation to hit it more than once.
But it does work first time! Refresh and you will see.

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