How to Count Characters in Microsoft Word 2013

846359 How to Count Characters in Microsoft Word 2013

Microsoft Word 2013 provides several easy ways to count the number of characters in your documents. Whether you need to adhere to a character limit or simply want to know statistics about your document, Word’s built-in tools can help.

View Character Count in the Status Bar

The quickest way to see the character count is in the status bar at the bottom of the Word window:

  1. The default status bar displays the word count while you type.
  2. To enable the character count, right-click anywhere on the status bar and select Character Count from the popup menu.

Once enabled, the status bar will display the number of characters with and without spaces as you type or edit your document.

Use the Word Count Tool

For more detailed statistics, use the Word Count tool:

  1. Go to the Review tab.
  2. Click Word Count in the Proofing section.

A dialog box will open displaying:

  • Pages
  • Words
  • Characters (with spaces)
  • Characters (without spaces)
  • Paragraphs
  • Lines

The Word Count tool instantly updates as you add or remove text, so you can keep track of your document length as you write.

Count Characters in Selected Text

To quickly count characters in a section of your document:

  1. Highlight the desired text.
  2. Check the status bar.

The status bar will display the character count for only the selected text, allowing you to analyze specific sections.

Tips for Counting Characters

  • The Word Count tool includes spaces as “characters.” Be aware of this when counting characters against tight limits.
  • Use the Word Count window to display paragraphs, words, lines and other statistics.
  • Enable the status bar character count to get an instant update as you type.
  • Analyze specific sections by selecting text first.
  • All Word Count tools update automatically when text is added/removed.

Set a Character Limit

If you need to actively restrict the number of characters users can enter in a section:

  1. Select the desired text box or section.
  2. Under Text Box Tools, select the Format tab.
  3. Click Text Box Properties.
  4. On the Text Box tab, check the box for Limit text to.
  5. Enter the specific character limit allowed.

This will prevent users from entering more than your defined number of characters in that text box or section.

Count Characters in Other Office Apps

The steps above apply specifically to Microsoft Word, but you can also count characters in other Office apps:

  • Excel: The status bar displays character and word count.
  • Outlook: Add-ins like Word Count Tool display detailed statistics.
  • PowerPoint: Status bar shows word count, review tab has basic statistics.

While the process differs slightly, all Office apps contain tools to count characters and words in documents and files.


Counting characters in Word 2013 is easy using built-in status bar indicators, the Word Count dialog, or text selection. Understanding the various methods makes it simple to analyze documents and stay within character limits.

Enable status bar character counters for quick updates, use the Word Count tool for detailed statistics, and leverage text selection to evaluate specific passages. Whether writing an email, online form, or formal article, Word 2013 has the necessary tools to count and analyze document characters.

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