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: Counting Words the Old Fashioned Way.

Counting Words the Old Fashioned Way

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 30, 2017)

You probably already knew that Word provides a way to determine the number of words in a selection or in your entire document. Word has its own internal algorithms to figure out the proper count. This is great, if you need to know actual word counts.

Before the days of actual word counts, however, typists figured out the number of average words in a document. This was done by figuring out the number of characters typed, and then dividing that figure by five. For some purposes you may still need to figure word counts using this old-fashioned approach. This can be done with a simple macro, as follows:

Sub WordCount()
    Dim Title As String
    Dim WordCount As Integer
    Dim Message As String

    Title = "WordCount"
    WordCount = Int((Len(Selection) / 5) + 0.5)
    Message = LTrim(Str(WordCount)) + " word"
    If WordCount <> 1 Then Message = Message + "s"
    MsgBox Message, vbOKOnly, Title
End Sub

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (757) 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: Counting Words the Old Fashioned Way.

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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