Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. 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: Word and Character Count Information.

Word and Character Count Information

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 23, 2016)

2

Word keeps track of quite a bit of summary information for your documents. One of the pieces of information maintained is the number of characters in your document and another is the number of words. This information is updated whenever the document is saved or printed. Word allows you to insert this summary information into your document by following these steps:

  1. Position the insertion point where you want the number of words to appear.
  2. Make sure the Insert tab of the ribbon is displayed.
  3. Click the Quick Parts tool in the Text group. Word displays a number of choices from which you should choose Field. Word displays the Field dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Field dialog box.

  5. Using the Categories drop-down list, choose Document Information.
  6. If you want to insert the number of characters in your document, select NumChars from the Field Names list.
  7. If you want to insert the number of words in your document, select NumWords from the Field Names list.
  8. Click on OK.

By combining the NumChars and NumWords fields, you can easily calculate the average word length. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Position the insertion point where you want to insert the field.
  2. Press Ctrl+F9 to insert a set of field braces in your document.
  3. Within the braces, type an equal sign, then press Ctrl+F9 again to insert another set of field braces.
  4. Within the new set of field braces, enter the name NumChars.
  5. After the NumChars field, enter a slash (/), and then press Ctrl+F9 again to insert a third set of field braces.
  6. Within the new set of field braces, enter the name NumWords. Your compound field should now look as follows:
  7.      {={NumChars}/{NumWords}}
    
  8. Position the insertion point right before the equal sign and press the F9 key to update the field.

Remember: The {braces} shown in step 6 are not typed in; they are created by pressing Ctrl+F9 in steps 2, 3, and 5.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7124) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Word and Character Count Information.

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

Generating a Count of Word Occurrences

Do you need to know the frequency with which certain words occur in your documents? There is no built-in way to derive ...

Discover More

Inserting Symbols

Using the Character Map to insert symbols in Excel.

Discover More

Comma-Delimited Differences for PC and Mac

When you choose to save worksheet data in CSV format, Excel gives you three choices for file formats. Those choices are ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Date Last Edited

You can insert several dynamic dates into your document. One you may want is to add the date when the last edit was ...

Discover More

Displaying Blanks when Summing to Zero

If you use fields to sum the information in your table columns, you might want to display a blank when the sum is zero. ...

Discover More

Using Continued Lines

You can create a special header and footer page numbering scheme by using nested fields. This tip shows an example of how ...

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

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is seven more than 9?

2013-02-02 10:20:50

awalto

I also tried this, but when I placed the cursor before the = sign inside the first field braces and hit F9 to update, I go a syntax error.


2013-02-02 10:10:16

Upasini

I tried this, but when I add more words to the document, it does not update it even after I have saved. What should I do to update the word count.


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
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.