Project Targets

This lesson focuses on setting Project Targets, which seems to be

apropos considering it’s almost the start of a new month and the summer. If you’re like many writers, you probably have a set writing routine with a fixed number of words to write daily, but what if you need to know how close you are to completing your project or how many words you’ve subtracted during a revision process?

Scrivener provides a chockfull of features that allows you to set targets and monitor your progress. So let’s take a look at working with Project Targets. Whether you’re working on an article that can’t be more than 700 words or whether you’ve embarked on writing a novel that’s 100,000 words, project targets can help keep you on track, but also provide a visual feedback or incentive.

Let’s first define a few terms that might be obvious. A draft target is theword count goal for the entire project. A session target is for that current writing session, in other words the chapter/scene you’re working on. Sessions, by default, reset at midnight, but Scrivener provides you with the option to reset it wherein a session can last more than one day. A few things to note: project targets only work in the draft section. Scrivener counts only those words toward your target, and if you’re importing text into the Binder it doesn’t increase the word count within the session. Conversely, if you remove text files it doesn’t decrease the word count, BUT it does affect it the draft total.

To set a draft or session target, go to Project->Show Project Targets (Windows users, Project->Project Targets). A window will open and you’ll see that it’s divided in two sections, for this example, I have it as A Pig Named Moe (yes, I abandoned Under the Hazelnut Tree) and Session Target:

Project Targets

Project Targets

The bars below are progress meters that will fill in with color as youprogress towards that word count goal (red for nil words and green for completing the goal).

To set your project goal follow these steps:

1. Click the goal number to activate your text box. Type in the number.(Mac users, Edit will change to Apply).

2. From the Words drop down menu in the Project Draft Target, you can decide whether you want Scrivener to count words, characters, or pages (Page count not offered in the Windows version).

3. To view your progress, open the Targets Project window. You can also read just the target session at any time by following the steps from above.

Scrivener offers options that allows you to modify the way the program calculates progress the manuscript and session target. Click on Options, and the Project Targets Option window opens. Note: These are not yet offered in the Windows version.

Project Target Options

Project Target Options


The first section focuses on Draft targets and what to include when you’re compiling and creating a deadline date. The rest is session targets. Let’s take a look at one-by-one.

• Count Documents in Compile Only: If this option is selected only words added to the text files that are marked to Include in Compile count toward target progress.

• Target Applies to Current Compile Group Only: If this option is checked off, only those text files currently listed in the Compile window’s Contents pane count toward the goal. (We’ll get in more detail when we discuss Compile and what this all means.)

• Deadline: You can set a deadline for your project, which can be used to calculate your daily writing goals.

• Reset Session Count: Click on this drop down menu and you have the option to reset it back to zero on project close, next day when the session is opened, the default at midnight or never to automatically reset counts.

• Count Text Written Anywhere in the Project: This could be notes written document notes or in the research folder. But words written outside the draft folder don’t count toward the overall manuscript target progress.

• Allow Negatives: Selecting this allows the session to go below zero.If you unselect it, the count doesn’t go negative even if you deleted more words than you added.

• Automatically Calculate from Draft Deadline: This calculates the deadline date to determine the daily word count target to meet the deadline.

• Writing Days: You can select which days you’d like to write so that Scrivener can calculate your daily session target.

• Allow Writing on Day of Deadline: If this isn’t selected, Scrivener doesn’t include it in its calculations.

• Show Target Notification: Mac only Notification that applies to both target types. You can download Growl to your computer and it notifies you when you’ve reached your goal or fall below a target.

Once I’ve made my selections, my targets look like this:

Project Target with Deadline

Project Target with Deadline

  24 comments for “Project Targets

  1. Ausyeda
    February 24, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    What if you’re interested in a page goal (writing 6 pages) opposed to a specific word count (600 words)?

  2. February 24, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Ausyeda Instead of selecting words, you can select pages.

  3. utinam
    July 26, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    Hi! I’m trying to use Scrivener’s session target but am coming across a curious problem. My drafts are full of notes that guide my progress, idle bits of dialogue and things like that, and as I write the scene, I delete the notes. This deleted text, Scrivener counts as a negative towards my daily goal, which has me fighting a losing battle for ACTUAL new text added.

    Case in point: last night, I thought I failed to meet my goal, because my session target said I still had another 200 words to go, only to find out after selecting all of the text that I’d written that I’d exceeded the target nearly TWICE over.

    Is there any way to tell the session target calculator to ignore deletions of text that was already present at the start of a session?? Or should I bring this up with the Scrivener people instead?

  4. July 27, 2015 at 8:23 am

    utinam  In Project Targets go to options. You’ll see two boxes that need to be unchecked: allow negatives and oount text written anywhere. See if that works.

  5. utinam
    July 27, 2015 at 8:29 am

    RebecaSchiller utinam I’m not at my mac right now, and my windows copy doesn’t have those options *shakes fist* but I’m fairly certain they’re already unchecked, unfortunately.

  6. meghanparsonscell
    August 18, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    Any idea when the Project Targets Option will be added to the Windows Version? 🙂


  7. August 19, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    meghanparsonscell  I was under the impression that the Windows version would be all caught up by the end of the year, but I read somewhere else that the folks at Literature and Latte are being very closed mouth about updates.

  8. JaneLebak
    November 6, 2015 at 8:52 am

    I love the project targets and use them constantly. Is there a way to always show project targets? At the moment, whenever I close Scrivener and reopen it again, I have to manually show project targets again. I know this is a minor gripe, but I’d really like it if the project targets just opened up with the project.

  9. November 6, 2015 at 9:02 am

    JaneLebak  Thanks for stopping by. I’m afraid not. You could use the shortcut: Shift+Cmd+T (that’s for the mac version) to make it less of a burden or there might be a way to create some macro to keep it always on, but I don’t know how to do that.

  10. JaneLebak
    November 6, 2015 at 10:15 am

    JaneLebak Thanks for replying so quickly! I’ll just keep using the shortcut — it’s not exactly a burden, but I’m rather spoiled. 🙂

  11. macwilson08
    May 15, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    Would LOVE to be able to do the project deadline setting in the Windows version.

    Will this be happening anytime soon?  Please???

  12. May 15, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    macwilson08  Off-hand, I don’t when it’s happening. That’s something that needs to be asked directly to Lee at Literature and Latte.

  13. SuzanneCascadia
    July 1, 2016 at 12:06 am

    My Tweet option has disappeared.  I don’t even have the option to check or uncheck the “Show Twitter Button”.  What happened?

  14. July 1, 2016 at 10:17 am

    SuzanneCascadia  It appears in the recent update, they took out the Tweet option.

  15. PaulBurnett007
    August 6, 2016 at 3:30 am

    Hi…my project target used to work and now it doesn’t. For some reason it is not calculating the number of days until deadline. It shows the number of days until deadline as 0 rather than 300+ days that it should be according to the date that I have put down. What am I doing wrong

  16. August 6, 2016 at 7:48 am

    PaulBurnett007  Did you go into options and change the year? If that doesn’t work, you might have a bug. I would report it to the folks at Literature and Latte.

  17. nkduk04
    September 22, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    is there any way that session target progress bar could be integrated on to the main panel somewhere, eg. in the status bar under your document, intead of as a floating child window?

  18. September 22, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    nkduk04 Unfortunately, at this time no, but this should be addressed in the forums at Literature and Latte because it is a question of design.

  19. cpbrockw
    October 14, 2016 at 9:45 am

    Hi, sorry to bother you. Could you help me with a question please? I enabled my Project Targets, but I’m now into the editing phase, so the targets aren’t really applicable. I can’t see how to turn the feature off, but would very much like to. It can be annoying, with the pop-up appearing again and again, telling me that I’m under my daily target, then over it, then under, etc, as I edit, adding and deleting text….

  20. jimmy2herbst
    February 14, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Thank you for the lesson! Targets is a really important thing! I suppose you may be interested in the resource where you can order any thesis paper, dissertation or book review. Essays and others writing works are needed everywhere. Here you can order a work with guaranteed confidentiality of all information and a perfect result. I have never regret when I order something here. It always unique and well written.

  21. MarianaSaavedra
    February 14, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    My session target adds words but my project target doesn’t. What am I doing wrong?

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