How to Display the Word Count While Typing in Google Docs

958720 How to Display the Word Count While Typing in Google Docs

Knowing your word count while typing in Google Docs can be very useful, especially when writing documents with specific length requirements. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to display the word count in real time as you type in Google Docs.

Enable the Word Count Display

  1. Open the Google Docs document you want to write in.
  2. Click Tools > Word count. This will open up a pop-up window.
  3. Check the box next to Display word count while typing.
  4. Click OK to save the settings.

A small text box showing the number of words will now appear in the bottom left corner of the document. This will update automatically as you continue typing.

Customize the Word Count Display

By default, the word count box shows the number of words. You can click on the box to change what’s displayed:

  • Words
  • Characters
  • Characters (no spaces)

You can toggle between these options to show what makes the most sense for your needs.

Temporarily Hide the Word Count

If you want to temporarily hide the word count display:

  1. Click on the word count text box.
  2. Select Hide word count.

The box will disappear but the word count feature stays enabled. To show it again:

  1. Click Tools > Word count.
  2. Make sure Display word count while typing is still checked.
  3. Click OK.

The word count box will reappear.

Keyboard Shortcuts

There are keyboard shortcuts you can use to enable the word count without navigating the menus:

  • Ctrl + Shift + C (Windows)
  • Command + Shift + C (Mac)

Use the same shortcuts to hide the word count box again.

Count Words in Selections

To count the words in a portion of text rather than the whole document:

  1. Highlight the text you want to count.
  2. Click Tools > Word count.

The pop-up will show the word count just for the selected text.

You can also display the number of words selected at the bottom of the window without opening the pop-up.

Word Count on Mobile

The Google Docs mobile app also lets you view word count:


  1. Tap the More menu (3 dots at top right).
  2. Choose Word count.


  1. Tap the More menu (3 lines at top right).
  2. Choose Word count.

This will display the number of words, characters, and characters without spaces.

Compare Word Counts Between Apps

The word count in Google Docs might differ from word counts in other writing apps like Microsoft Word. Here’s why:

  • Headers, footers and footnotes – These don’t get included in the Google Docs word count.
  • Links and URLs – Each part of a hyperlink counts as one word in Google Docs. Other apps may count the full link as just one word.
  • Punctuation and spaces – The rules for counting these can vary across apps.

So if you’re working between Google Docs and other writing platforms, expect to see slightly different totals. But at least within Google Docs, you can display and track word count accurately in real time.

Tips for Hitting Word Counts

Here are some tips to make sure your documents meet the required word counts:

Minimum Word Counts

If your document needs to be a certain length, display the word count to monitor your progress. Some strategies include:

  • Outline first – Create a detailed outline to understand how much content you need to write to hit the target.
  • Set a goal per section – Determine how many words you want to write for each part of the outline to reach the total count.
  • Use examples – Illustrate concepts with real-world examples and anecdotes to add more words.
  • Define terms – Take time to thoroughly explain key terminology and concepts.

Maximum Word Limits

For documents with strict maximums:

  • Set a limit per section – Allocate maximum words for each section as you outline.
  • Remove filler words – Delete unnecessary “filler” words like “really” and “very.”
  • Shorten phrases – Break long phrases into shorter sentences with clearer points.
  • Cut redundant sections – Remove or combine any repetitive ideas or text.
  • Use abbreviations – Substitute abbreviations for frequently used long terms.


The ability to view word count while typing in Google Docs makes it easy to track progress and meet length goals. By enabling the display, customizing settings, using shortcuts, and following word count tips, you can optimize your documents to contain just the right number of words. This simple tool can improve writing productivity and ensure your work always meets the required lengths.

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