Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Counting Changed Words.

Counting Changed Words

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 19, 2018)

Steven uses Track Changes in his documents all the time. He needs a way to count only the words that have been changed in a document—those affected by Track Changes.

The answer is that you can sort of get the information you want through the use of the Reviewing Pane. Display the Review tab of the ribbon, then click the Reviewing Pane tool (in the Tracking group). Word displays the Reviewing Pane on-screen, and at the top of the pane is a summary of the revisions made in the document. It shows statistics for the following five changes:

  • Insertions
  • Deletions
  • Moves
  • Formatting changes
  • Comments

These statistics may seem to fit the bill, but you'll remember that I said that they provide "sort of" the information wanted. They fall a bit short if what you really want is a count of changed words. The statistics count changes, not changed words. For instance, if you delete a phrase that consists of multiple words, that edit counts as only a single deletion in the statistics. Similarly, if you add a phrase to your document, that addition counts as a single insertion, even if the insertion contained a complete paragraph.

If you want actual words changed, you are unfortunately out of luck—Word provides no way to get the information desired. You can, however, devise your own macro to determine the desired information. Here's an example:

Sub GetTCStats()
    Dim lInsertsWords As Long
    Dim lInsertsChar As Long
    Dim lDeletesWords As Long
    Dim lDeletesChar As Long
    Dim sTemp As String
    Dim oRevision As Revision
    
    lInsertsWords = 0
    lInsertsChar = 0
    lDeletesWords = 0
    lDeletesChar = 0
    For Each oRevision In ActiveDocument.Revisions
        Select Case oRevision.Type
            Case wdRevisionInsert
                lInsertsChar = lInsertsChar + Len(oRevision.Range.Text)
                lInsertsWords = lInsertsWords + oRevision.Range.Words.Count
            Case wdRevisionDelete
                lDeletesChar = lDeletesChar + Len(oRevision.Range.Text)
                lDeletesWords = lDeletesWords + oRevision.Range.Words.Count
        End Select
    Next oRevision

    sTemp = "Insertions" & vbCrLf
    sTemp = sTemp & "    Words: " & lInsertsWords & vbCrLf
    sTemp = sTemp & "    Characters: " & lInsertsChar & vbCrLf
    sTemp = sTemp & "Deletions" & vbCrLf
    sTemp = sTemp & "    Words: " & lDeletesWords & vbCrLf
    sTemp = sTemp & "    Characters: " & lDeletesChar & vbCrLf
    MsgBox sTemp
End Sub

This macro steps through each change in the current document and separately sums word counts and character counts for both insertions and deletions. The statistics are then presented in a message box. Note that the macro looks at the Words collection for each change in the document. You should understand that the word count, as presented here, is an approximation. This is because of the way that words are counted. For instance, each punctuation mark in an addition is counted as a separate word. This means that a phrase such as "as one can see, this is a great way" would be tallied as ten words instead of nine (the comma counts as a separate word). Further, if the phrase you added included a leading space—which insertions often do—then there would be eleven words tallied for the insertion because of that space.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11484) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Counting Changed Words.

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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