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 a Particular Word.

Counting a Particular Word

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 5, 2016)


There are times that I need to know how often I've used a particular word in a document, or even in a part of a document. The Word Count tool doesn't allow you to limit a count to a specific word, but there is a neat little workaround you can do.

  1. Select the text you want included in the count if you only want to count in a particular area of your document,. (You can select multiple, non-contiguous areas of text by holding down the Ctrl key as you make your selections with the mouse.)
  2. Press Ctrl+H. Word displays the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  4. In the Find What box, enter the word you want to count.
  5. In the Replace With box, enter the same word.
  6. Click Replace All.

Word replaces all occurrences of the word with itself, so there really are no changes done to your document. However, a dialog box appears that indicates how many changes were performed; this is your word count.

If you are skittish about doing find and replace operations, make sure you save your document before using this workaround.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12038) 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 a Particular Word.

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 nine more than 0?

2016-03-10 11:15:05


To Lee Batchelor - Your thought is correct - if you do NOT choose "Match case", it keeps the case, whether just the first letter is capitalized, or the entire word. HOWEVER, it does not keep "CamelCase" intact (legitimate words such as PowerPoint that have multiple capitals). It removes all but the first, e.g., leaving you with "Powerpoint", which would be incorrect. So, here is a...

WORKAROUND: Peter Wezel's tip (Use ^& for Replace with)leaves everything - including CamelCase - exactly as it was.

Another option for those who use Ctrl+H instead of Find (Ctrl+F), but who are apprehensive about changes (especially in large documents where it would be time-consuming to check out all possible effects):

As soon as the replacement finishes, do a Ctrl+Z. This undoes the entire replacement process.

2016-03-07 02:51:55



2016-03-06 18:29:01

Peter Wezel

When using the Find and Replace box for the purpose of counting, instead of repeating the search string in the Replace field you can enter "^&" in this field (without the quotes), which means: Replace by the same as in the Find field. Each found string will be replaced by the same string and the number of replacements will be shown.

2016-03-06 02:07:01

David Brownstein

The above search needs to be refined, for two reasons.

1) If you want to know how many times you used the word 'go' in all of its forms, the above search will count most forms of the word 'go' - 'going', 'gone' etc. - but will not count 'went'.

2) The above search will also count such words as 'gorilla' and 'ago'.

To avoid 'catching' words you do not want, after Step 4 in the instructions, add the following step:
5. Click More and select the Find whole words only check box.

This will count only the word 'go' itself. To catch all forms of the word (including, for example, plurals), you must run the search once for each separate word you want to count.

2016-03-05 09:10:46


In my experience with Word2010 and above there is a simpler way. Just enter the word in FIND or in the navigation pane. The number of matches will be displayed along with match location in the pane and highlighted in the document if you so choose. I use this when writing to ensure I do not use a word too often.

2016-03-05 09:07:49


Why go to all this trouble when you can see a total count and all occurrences of anything you search using the Navigation Pane and Results listing? It gives a total count at the top and the words searched in context in the listing below. I often use this while editing documents to decide which spelling to choose, such as igniter or ignitor.

2016-03-05 08:18:31

Lee Batchelor

That should still work providing you don't choose, "Match Case." Than you should be safe, correct?

Otherwise, you may accidentally replace "Cars" with "cars". If "Cars" was at the beginning of the sentence, I'm not sure Word would keep it capitalized. Just a thought.

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