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 June 26, 2018)

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

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Changing the Context (Shortcut) Menus

A shortcut menu is a great way to quickly access the commands you regularly use. If you want to modify how Context menus ...

Discover More

Determining the Current Directory

When you use a macro to do file operations, it works (by default) within the current directory. If you want to know which ...

Discover More

How Word Applies Styles

Styles are a great boon for applying styles in a powerfully consistent manner. How Word applies styles, however, depends ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (menu)

Generating a Count of Word Occurrences

Do you need to know the frequency with which certain words occur in your documents? There is no built-in way to derive ...

Discover More

Word Count in Multiple Selections

Getting a word count for an entire document is easy. What you may not know is that some versions of Word can also provide ...

Discover More

Word Count for a Section

Dynamic word counts for your entire document are easy to get when you use using fields. There is no built-in method to ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 5 + 2?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.