Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Inserting a Dynamic Word Count in Your Document.

Inserting a Dynamic Word Count in Your Document

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated March 4, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Word keeps track of summary information for a document. You can see the information maintained by Word simply by displaying the Properties dialog box for your document. One of the pieces of information maintained is the number of words in the document. This information is updated whenever the document is saved or printed. Word allows you to insert this bit of summary information in your document by following these steps:

  1. Position the insertion point where you want the number of words to appear.
  2. Choose Field from the Insert menu. Word displays the Field dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Field dialog box.

  4. Choose Document Information as the field category. Word updates the choices in the Field Names list (at the right side of the dialog box).
  5. Select NumWords from the Field Names list.
  6. Click on OK to close the dialog box and insert the field.

If you prefer to not use the Field dialog box (for whatever reason), you can insert the number of words into your document by following these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl+F9. This inserts a pair of field braces within your document.
  2. Type "NumWords" (without the quote marks).
  3. Press F9 to collapse the field and display the field's results (the number of words in the document).

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (556) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Inserting a Dynamic Word Count in Your Document.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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