Running Word Counts

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 2, 2013)

Word provides a built-in tool that allows you to get a count of the number of words in your document. However, some people prefer to have a constantly updated count of words in their document. In that way, they can keep an eye on the word counter and stop writing when they have reached the desired number of words in their document.

Unfortunately, Word does not provide a built-in running word count that you can turn on or off. You can, however, create a macro that will provide the necessary information for you. The following nifty macro will display a constantly updating word count at the end of the formatting toolbar:

Sub WordCounter()
    Set myBar = CommandBars("Formatting")
    Set myControls = myBar.Controls
    NumButtons = myControls.Count

    ButtonLoc = 0
    For J = 1 To NumButtons
        If myControls(J).Type = msoControlButton Then
            ButtonName$ = myControls(J).OnAction
            If ButtonName$ = "WordCounter" Then ButtonLoc = J
        End If
    Next J

    If ButtonLoc = 0 Then
        ButtonLoc = NumButtons + 1
        Set newControl = myControls.Add(Type:=msoControlButton)
        newControl.OnAction = "WordCounter"
        newControl.Style = msoButtonCaption
    End If

    Set myRange = ActiveDocument.Content
    WdCount = myRange.ReadabilityStatistics(1).Value
    With myControls(ButtonLoc)
        .Caption = WdCount
    End With

    Application.OnTime When:=Now + TimeSerial(0, 0, 5), _
      Name:="WordCounter"
End Sub

Note that this macro adds the word count at the end of the formatting toolbar when it first runs. The toolbar button stays there from then on. If you later modify your toolbar so the button is not at the end of the toolbar, the macro will find it and act accordingly.

When you first start Word (after having run this macro), you will need to click on the toolbar button to start the macro. Of course, you can create a separate AutoStart macro that would run WordCounter when you first begin Word.

One thing to note about the macro is that it reruns every five seconds. If this is too often, you can change the value (5) in the TimeSerial function near the end of the macro. Depending on the speed of your system, you may note a slight disturbing screen flicker every time the macro runs, but you will definitely have an updated word count. If you instead want the word count only when you click on the button on the toolbar, simply remove the Application.OnTime line near the end of the macro.

If you want to remove the macro so it does not run any more, you should follow these three simple steps:

  1. Exit Word.
  2. Restart Word. The macro is now not running.
  3. Edit your formatting toolbar to remove the WordCounter button.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1745) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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

Stopping Enter from being Pressed In a Form

If you create a form using Word, chances are good that you don't want a user to mess up the layout of the form by pressing ...

Discover More

Arranging Paragraphs

Need to move a few paragraphs around in your document? Word provides a couple of handy shortcuts that make it very easy to ...

Discover More

Detecting an Open Dialog Box

Macros can be used to perform all sorts of tasks within Word. Some tasks can even occur at whatever time interval you desire. ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

MORE WORDTIPS (MENU)

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 get a ...

Discover More

Word Count is Zero

If you use the Word Count tool and are surprised that it returns a count of 0, it could be because of what you selected prior ...

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
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 for this tip:

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.

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.

Links and Sharing
Share