How to Use the Document Word Counter in Scrivener

(This post assumes you’re already using Scrivener. If you haven’t made the leap yet, check out my post “5 Reasons You Should Be Using Scrivener.”) 

In Scrivener, there are two ways that I know of to keep track of how many words you’ve written on a project.

Session Word Counter

The first way to track your progress is the Session Word Counter, or as I like to call it – the daily word counter. I wrote a post about that one last year. The Session Word Counter is great when you’re trying to track how much you’ve written overall in a day, and track progress toward a certain goal, like 50,000 words in a month (ahem, NaNoWriMo).

The super cool part about this function is that if you skip a day it automatically recalculates so you know how many words you have write on your remaining days to hit your goal. It also allows you to schedule days off. This is one of my favorite Scrivener functions. Check it out.

Document Word Counter

I’ve only just become aware that there is another way to track your word count in Scrivener. It’s much more specific, and independent of a time frame. It’s called the Document Word Count. You’ve probably seen the little icon for it at the bottom of the page there.

If you click on that icon, you’ll get this pop-up window:

This is where you enter your target word count for THIS PARTICULAR section of your project. See the band at the left of the image? the one the color of mushroom soup? That is the section for which I am setting my goal of 5,000 words. It won’t apply to anything else in the project and it has no timeframe associated with it.

Once you enter your word count goal and click ok, that information at the bottom of the screen will change.

Notice that now, instead of just a word count at the bottom of the screen, you have a readout of where you are in relationship to your word count goal. Here it’s 3,550 words out of 5,000.

We’ve also gained a progress bar next to our little target icon. That bar starts out red when you only have a few words, then shifts to orange, yellow, then yellow-green, to bright green when you hit your target. Here’s what it looks like with the goal met:

If you’re working on a particular section and could use a little motivation, this little colored bar can be a fun way to see your progress.

Check out the links below for more Scrivener tricks.

Also, I can’t pass up the opportunity to share that I’ll be teaching a session on Scrivener at the upcoming Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Conference in Pasadena this October. Click the image below to sign up and let me know you’re coming!


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5 Responses to How to Use the Document Word Counter in Scrivener

  1. Bryan Fagan September 22, 2017 at 6:02 am #

    The more you talk about Scrivener the more I am tempted to ditch my 2013 Word program. Stop tempting me!

    • April September 22, 2017 at 9:00 am #

      You will never look back. Best $45 you will ever spend on your writing. (Oh, wait, you said STOP tempting you… sorry)

      • Bryan Fagan September 22, 2017 at 1:40 pm #

        You’re mean…. 😉

  2. Dee Blaregold September 20, 2017 at 10:48 pm #

    Thanks for the info!

    • April September 22, 2017 at 8:59 am #

      Any time!

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