Word count to cursor with multiple documents selected?

Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:47 am
Platform: Mac

Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:15 pm Post

Hi everyone. I'm hoping to get some advice on a situation I've been working around lately. I use Scrivener every day for writing books, and I work by separating my document into chapters that are labelled by number. For instance, in my Draft folder, I might have dozens of documents labelled one through seventy, or however many I have written. All of these documents together make up the whole book.

What I would like to do is be able to see at a glance where I am in the manuscript in terms of word count. If I'm revising a 170,000 word manuscript, I constantly need to know my current position in the manuscript in terms of either word count or percentage, anywhere within these 70 documents in the draft folder. I have been doing it by selecting multiple numbered chapters from the beginning and seeing the total word count at the bottom, but this is awkward, and requires that I perform the selecting action over and over again in a single session so I can see the word count or percentage point of multiple different places in the manuscript. I have taken to writing these "manuscript position" word counts in the names of the chapters themselves (i.e. Chapter 30 - 53,000 words, Chapter 40 - 74,000 words, etc.), but this is obviously not ideal, and it changes during the revision.

I know we can get a word count to the cursor position of a SINGLE document by right clicking (or control clicking) in the document and looking at the "writing tools" section, where the cursor position in terms of word count will be displayed as a part of the whole, like
Words: 4,234 of 4,760
I was hoping that if I selected multiple documents (by selecting the document container, the Draft folder itself), this would also work. But it doesn't work with multiple documents selected.

Am I missing anything here that would help me see at a glance what my word count position is within the entire manuscript?


Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:29 pm
Platform: Mac

Sat Nov 02, 2019 3:00 pm Post

The fact that this has gone unanswered since October 20th is a bit concerning.

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Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2016 6:55 pm
Platform: Mac + iOS

Sat Nov 02, 2019 3:32 pm Post

Try the options at Project menu > Statistics....

Reference material at Help menu > Scrivener Manual > Section 20.1–– Goals and Statistics Tracking Tools––to its end, 20.1.4.
I'm a Scrivener user, not an L&L employee.

Posts: 1589
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2014 2:06 pm
Platform: Win + iOS

Sat Nov 02, 2019 4:35 pm Post

Hi Kallaste,

It sounds like you want to know the cumulative word count at any point in the project.

I don't know of any way in Scriv to accomplish that precisely, besides the method you're already using: selecting the first doc and shift-selecting the ending doc, at the location where you want to know the cumulative count. (I'm on Windows Beta, and I assume that shift-select also works on the Mac.)

Another method you might try is to place your documents in a few folders in strategic places, and sum the word counts for the folders. You'll need to be in the Outliner mode for this to work. Again, I'm on Windows Beta, so you'll need to use the equivalent Mac shortcuts for this.

Start Outliner Mode.

Add column Total Words to the Outliner. (View > Outliner Options > Total Words)

In the Outliner, you should see the word count for each doc in the Total Words column. Drag & drop the Total Words column where you'd like to see it.

Create a new folder at the top of the Outliner, above all your docs. Total Words for the folder should be zero.

Move the first doc into the folder. (Select the first doc > Edit > Move > Move Right)

Total Words for the folder should now equal Totals Words for the first doc.

Continue adding docs into the folder until Total Words in the folder is a nice round number for you, say around 50k.

Then create a second folder, and add docs to that one until it reaches 50k. And so on.

When you're done, you'll have broken your 170k MS into three 50k-ish folders and a fourth folder with the leftover 20k.

This won't provide a cumulative count, you'll have to add the word counts for the folders yourself, so not a perfect approach by any means, but you'll have a better idea where in the MS you are as you're writing, and the word counts will automatically update as you revise your MS.

When you're down with revisions and the time comes to compile your draft, you can always move the docs out of the folders and then delete the folders.

Perhaps someone will suggest a better idea than that.

ETA: Sorry, I just saw scshrugged's suggestion. If that gives you what you want, please ignore mine! :D

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Posts: 498
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2016 6:55 pm
Platform: Mac + iOS

Mon Nov 04, 2019 2:47 pm Post

Thanks, Jim. I've not looked at the Outliner in that way.

In addition, now that I have a bit more time to expand on my post––a quick way that I use. If I'm understanding the OP, I think it'll be useful for them. It involves the aforementioned statistic tools and Inline Annotations*.

Create a test project and within it create a few documents. Paste N amount of words in each of them.

In each document respectively, select n amount of words and convert them into Inline Annotations either via the menu item Insert > Inline Annotation or the key command Shift-Command-A.

Select one or more of the docs** in the Binder, then go to Project > Statistics.... In the statistics panel that appears go to Options > Selection Statistics Options. Tick the box for Exclude comments and Annotations. Still in the statistics panel, go to Selected Documents. The Words: entry (and others) will print the amount based upon the choice(s) made in Options > Selection Statistics Options.

Concerning the Editor footer word count for individual docs and Inline Annotations––if you click it a mini statistics panel appears where you're able to in/exclude comments and annotations.

*The Inline Annotation command is a toggle so you're free to add or remove it wherever and whenever, as needed. Very useful for this purpose among other uses, such as *tagging* something or someone. I use it in place of Keywords, for instance, so that if I transfer the project for editing at iOS, I'm able to use *search* to find things. I maintain a folder placed outside the Draft folder for logging unique tagging conventions.

**The selection can also be a container(s).
I'm a Scrivener user, not an L&L employee.

Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:29 pm
Platform: Mac

Mon Nov 04, 2019 2:58 pm Post

FWIW - as a relatively new novel writer (pending...) and a relatively new user of Scrivener, I think this should be a much simpler process - there is a lot of flexibility in the program, so I'm surprise that a running word count based on content type isn't always available as an in-window or pop-out statistic.

So, for example, you might be able to keep track of words by whether it's body content, forward, footnotes...