Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated March 19, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


1

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, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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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What is 4 - 1?

2022-03-21 11:59:46

Steven Van Steenhuyse

In using this field (as well as the NumWords field, I see contradictions between the results returned from the field and the dialog that pops up when you click on the Word Count property on the Status Bar (see attached). What accounts for this difference? In some applications, an accurate count can be very important. Also, it appears that the NumChar field does not account for spaces (which makes sense, since a space is not a character), but the spaces do take up room in the document and knowing how many characters AND spaces could be important. The Word Count dialog does provide a lot of good information, but I can see the utility of a field keeping these counts within the document, so that they can update automatically. The NumChar field doesn't appear to have a switch to include the character and space count. I assume that this is just a Word limitation, about which nothing can be done.

(see Figure 1 below)

Figure 1. 


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