Knowing the word count of a document is essential for writers and students with assignments that have strict length requirements. Microsoft Word makes it easy to check and monitor the word count of documents through several methods.
View Word Count on the Status Bar
The easiest way to check the word count is through the status bar at the bottom of the Word window. By default, Word displays the number of pages and words there dynamically as you type.
To enable the word count on the status bar:
- Right-click the status bar
- Select Word Count from the menu
Once enabled, the word count will display next to the page count.
Open the Word Count Dialog Box
For more detailed statistics, you can open the Word Count dialog box through the ribbon or a keyboard shortcut:
Using the ribbon:
- Go to the Review tab
- Click Word Count in the Proofing section
Using a keyboard shortcut:
- Press Ctrl + Shift + G
The dialog box shows count statistics for:
- Characters (with and without spaces)
It also lets you choose whether to include text from text boxes, footnotes, and endnotes.
View Count for Selections
To view the word count for only a portion of text:
- Select the text
- Check the status bar
It will show the count for the selection and total document, e.g.
Insert Word Count Into Documents
You can insert the live word count into the body text of documents:
- Place cursor where you want the count
- Go to Insert > Quick Parts > Field
- Select NumWords
- Click OK
The number will update automatically as the word count changes.
Tips for Accurate Word Counts
When working with strict word counts, keep these tips in mind:
- Update fields before printing – This ensures an accurate count
- Show formatting symbols – Reveals hidden returns and spaces
- Paste text without formatting – Prevents extra returns from other sources
- Use draft view – Removes visual formatting that may add length
Accurately tracking word count in Word is vital for meeting assignment requirements. By using the built-in Word Count tool and following best practices, you can easily monitor document length.
Frequently Asked Questions About Word Count
Here are answers to common questions about checking word count:
How do I count words in just part of my document?
Select the text you want to count. The status bar will show the count for only the selected text.
Can I exclude text boxes or footnotes from the count?
Yes, the Word Count dialog box has an option to exclude those elements. Simply uncheck the box next to “Include textboxes, footnotes and endnotes”.
Why does my word count change when I print?
Word updates fields like the word count before printing. To get an accurate count beforehand, right-click the number and select Update Field.
Do images and captions count towards the word total?
No, images, captions, and other non-text elements are not included in the word count. Only text contributes to the total.
Can I add the word count to my header or footer?
Yes, you can insert the word count field code into headers/footers the same way you would in the main text. The number will update automatically.
Accurately tracking length is vital for assignments and writing projects. By mastering Word’s word count tool, you can easily monitor document size and ensure you meet requirements.