Tip: Quick word count in Word

Word count is a critical issue for some of us — it certainly is for me. Fortunately, it's easy to get a word count for the entire document or even a selection of text:

  • With nothing selected, choose Word Count from the Tools menu to get a word count for the entire document.
  • Select text and repeat the above steps to learn the number of words in the selection.

At one point, I considered writing a macro to display the constantly changing word count in a field. I considered doing so only until I discovered the Word Count toolbar. This toolbar works essentially the same as the Word Count command, but from a toolbar. Simply click the Recount button to get the current word count of the entire document or selected text.

Display the Word Count toolbar the same way you would any toolbar: Right-click the background of any toolbar or menu and select Word Count or choose Toolbars from the View menu.

Now, this method is only one click shorter than the menu command route. It doesn't seem like a big deal unless you need frequent updates, as I do. As long as the toolbar's visible, I'm only one click or two keystrokes (Alt+C) away from knowing the current word count. It beats the heck out of developing a complex macro. :)

This count doesn't include footnotes and endnotes. If you need to consider those, use the menu command and check the Include Footnotes And Endnotes options at the bottom of the Word Count dialog box.


Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

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