Enabling the "Update NaNoWriMo Word Count" Feature in Scrivener

If you're participating in NaNoWriMo (or Camp NaNoWriMo), there's no need to update your word count on the NaNoWriMo website—you can update your word count right from within Scrivener. Here's how.

1. Using the NaNoWriMo Project Template

The easiest way is by using the special NaNoWriMo project template that we make available for each NaNo event.

  • If you don't own Scrivener yet and are using the NaNoWriMo trial version, simply go to File > New Project... in Scrivener to bring up the project templates chooser, and then choose "Novel (NaNoWriMo)" from the "Fiction" templates. (The trial version can be found here during NaNoWriMo events.)

  • If you already own Scrivener and so are not using the special trial version, download the NaNoWriMo project template from this page (the page provides instructions on how to install the template).

Once you've created a project from the "Novel (NaNoWriMo)" template, you will find a new menu item at the bottom of the "Project" menu: "Update NaNoWriMo Word Count". (Note that this menu item only ever appears when the NaNoWriMo project is open and focussed—it is not available for other projects.)

The first time you choose to update your word count, you'll be prompted for your NaNo login details. (Scrivener does not store these details; your login remains private and is used solely to connect with the NaNo website.) Once you're logged in, you'll be asked to confirm you want to update the word count.

Note that you must have set up a project on nanowrimo.org before you can update your word count, and you can only update your word count when a NaNo event is active (not before or afterwards).

The word count sent to NaNoWriMo will be the same one that appears in Project Targets.

2. Using Other Templates for NaNoWriMo

If you don't want to use the "Novel (NaNoWriMo)" template during NaNo, you can still enable the word count update feature, but you'll need to do so manually, by editing your project's data. This isn't difficult—all you need is a plain text editor. Here's how:

  1. Make sure the project you want to use is closed. If it's not, the changes you make below won't stick.

  2. Find the .scriv project you want to use for NaNoWriMo in the Finder (Mac) or File Explorer (Windows).

  3. If you're on a Mac, Ctrl-click on the .scriv file and select "Show Package Contents". This will show you the contents of the .scriv project (.scriv files are really just folders that look like regular files). If you're on Windows, a .scriv file just looks like a regular folder, so just drill down into it.

  4. Locate the file with a .scrivx file extension. This file normally has the same name as the .scriv folder. (E.g. If your .scriv package is called MyNovel.scriv, then this file will most likely be called MyNovel.scrivx.)

  5. Open the .scrivx file in a plain text editor, such as TextEdit (on the Mac) or Notepad (on Windows).

  6. Make sure smart quotes are turned off in whichever text editor you use—this won't work if you don't use straight quotes.

  7. The first or second line of the text will start:

    <Scrivener Project ...>
    

    Edit this to add the following:

    <Scrivener Project NaNo="Yes" ...>
    

    Make sure you don't delete anything—there's lots of other text in the angled brackets after "ScrivenerProject", and you want to keep it all. You just need to add NaNo="Yes".

  8. Save your changes to the .scrivx file.

  9. Now open the project in Scrivener again. If all has gone well, you'll find "Update NaNoWriMo Word Count" at the bottom of the "Project" menu when your project is open and has the focus.

Note: Be sure to update to the latest version of Scrivener to ensure this feature is available. This feature is currently only available in Scrivener for macOS and Windows.