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

Counting Words the Old Fashioned Way

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 3, 2018)

You probably already knew that Word provides a way to determine the number of words in a selection or in your entire document. Word has its own internal algorithms to figure out the proper count. This is great, if you need to know actual word counts.

Before the days of actual word counts, however, typists figured out the number of average words in a document. This was done by figuring out the number of characters typed, and then dividing that figure by five. For some purposes you may still need to figure word counts using this old-fashioned approach. This can be done with a simple macro, as follows:

Sub WordCount()
    Dim Title As String
    Dim WordCount As Integer
    Dim Message As String

    Title = "WordCount"
    WordCount = Int((Len(Selection) / 5) + 0.5)
    Message = LTrim(Str(WordCount)) + " word"
    If WordCount <> 1 Then Message = Message + "s"
    MsgBox Message, vbOKOnly, Title
End Sub

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12345) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Counting Words the Old Fashioned Way.

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

Using a Macro to Change the Formatting of All Instances of a Word

If you have a word that you need to make sure is formatted the same way throughout your document, there are several ways ...

Discover More

Clearing All Tab Stops

Tab stops allow you to modify the horizontal position at which text is positioned on a line. If you want to get rid of ...

Discover More

Footnote Numbers Missing on Printout

When you add footnotes to a document, you expect the footnote reference numbers to be visible when you print the ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Removing a Macro from a Shortcut Key

Associate a macro with a shortcut key, and at some time you may want to break that association. (Perhaps so the shortcut ...

Discover More

Determining the Number of Fonts Available

When creating a macro, you may need to figure out how many fonts are available to Word. You can do this using the ...

Discover More

Defining a Shortcut for a Macro

You can make running macros very easy if you assign a shortcut key to the macro. This tip demonstrates how easy it is to ...

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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 eight more than 6?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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.