Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Inserting the Total Number of Characters in Your Document.

Inserting the Total Number of Characters in Your Document

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 13, 2020)

Word keeps track of summary information for a document. You can see the information maintained by Word simply by displaying the Properties dialog box (File | Info | Properties | Advanced Properties). Make sure the Statistics tab of the Properties dialog box is selected. 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 inserted.
  2. Make sure the Insert tab of the ribbon is selected.
  3. In the Text group, click Quick Parts. You'll see a drop-down menu.
  4. Choose Field. Word displays the Field dialog box.
  5. In the Categories drop-down list, choose Document Information. (See Figure 1.)
  6. Figure 1. The Field dialog box.

  7. In the Field Names list choose NumChars.
  8. Click on OK to close the dialog box and insert your 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 (6002) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word 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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