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: A Quick-and-Dirty Word Count.

A Quick-and-Dirty Word Count

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 19, 2021)

In other issues of WordTips you learn how you can use one of Word's fields to insert a word count in your document. Many authors, editors, and publishers adhere to the rule that you determine word count by dividing the number of characters in your document by an average word size, such as 5. Thus, if there were 24,317 characters in your document, there would be 4,863 words. You can use fields to insert this type of word count in your document in the following manner:

  1. Position the insertion point where you want the word count placed.
  2. Press Ctrl+F9 to insert a set of field braces. Make sure the insertion point remains between the braces.
  3. Press the equal sign (=).
  4. Press Ctrl+F9 to insert another set of field braces. Make sure the insertion point remains between the new braces.
  5. Type numchars.
  6. Press the right arrow twice. The insertion point should be between the two right braces.
  7. Type /5 (divided by 5). Your compound field should now look like this:
  8.      { ={ numchars }/5 }
    
  9. Press F9 to update the field.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1111) 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: A Quick-and-Dirty Word Count.

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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