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 the Total Number of Characters in Your Document.

Inserting the Total Number of Characters in Your Document

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated May 28, 2022)
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 choosing Properties from the File menu. One of the pieces of information maintained is the number of characters in the document. This information is updated whenever the document is saved or printed. You can insert this summary information into your document by following these steps:

  1. Position the insertion point where you want the number of characters to appear.
  2. Choose Field from the Insert menu. Word displays the Field dialog box.
  3. Choose Document Information as the field category. Word updates the choices in the Field Names list. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Field dialog box.

  5. Select NumChars from the Field Names list.
  6. Click on OK to close the dialog box and insert the field.

You should note that the NumChars field returns a different value than what is returned by the FileSize field. The file size is invariably larger, as it includes space consumed by formatting and housekeeping information maintained by Word, whereas NumChars returns only a count of the text characters in your 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 (1810) 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 the Total Number of Characters 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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