by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 29, 2019)
As a writer, Karl needs the readability statistics as a guide for his work. He has checked the appropriate box under the proofing options ("Show Readability Statistics"). It worked for the first few uses then quit; the readability statistics no longer appear. Karl has unchecked the option, rechecked it, hit OK, and even restarted his computer, but to no avail. He wonders how he can get the readability statistics to reliably appear.
The biggest reason why the readability statistics might not appear is because Word is configured incorrectly. To understand how to configure it correctly, it is best to display the settings:
Figure 1. The Proofing options in the Word Options dialog box.
Based on the options in the dialog box, you might believe that only one of them controls the display of readability statistics: the Show Readability Statistics check box. This is not so if you are using earlier versions of Word. In order for them to appear, you also need to make sure that the Check Grammar with Spelling option is selected.
The reason for this is because readability statistics are calculated only when a grammar check is completed, and a grammar check is completed only when the checking is turned on as described here.
If you are using Word 2019 or Word in Office 365, you will notice that the Check Grammar with Spelling option is no longer available under the Proofing options in the Word Options dialog box (see Step 2 above). (See Figure 2.)
Figure 2. The Proofing options in the Word Options dialog box.
In order to display the Readability Statistics in later versions of Word, make sure the Show Readability Statistics check box is selected under the Proofing options in the Word Options dialog box. You will then need to display the Review tab of the ribbon and click Check Document in the Proofing group. Word displays the Readability Statistics for the document while also displaying the Editor pane. (See Figure 3.)
Figure 3. The Readability Statistics data.
You'll also want to check to make sure that you have spelling and grammar checking turned on in the languages area. Display the Review tab of the ribbon, click Language, then choose Set Proofing Language to display the Language dialog box. (See Figure 4.)
Figure 4. The Language dialog box.
If the Do Not Check Spelling or Grammar check box is selected, then a grammar check is never done, and the readability statistics never computed.
Note, too, that the language settings apply to selected text (whatever is selected when you display the Language dialog box), but they can also apply to styles. You may need to check your styles to make sure that spelling and grammar checking is not turned off for the styles you want to check.
There are some additional scenarios under which Word won't compute readability statistics, but those probably don't apply to Karl's situation. You can find more information about those additional scenarios at this Knowledge Base page:
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11554) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365.
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