How Do I Count Words and Characters in Microsoft Word?

By Sue Aveyard

Your Word 2013 document will usually display the word count on the status bar at the bottom left of the document window, updating as you type. If the word count is not displayed, right click on the Status bar, find “Word Count” and make sure it's checked off on the menu. You can also highlight any area within the document and the word count on the Status bar will show the number of words for the highlighted section.

Character Count and Other Details

To view more information such as character count, number of paragraphs and lines, click on the word count in the Status bar and a dialog box will show this and other detailed information.

Inserting the Count

To insert the word count into your document, place the cursor where you would like the word count to display, click on the Insert tab, then click on the down arrow next to “Quick Parts” in the Text group. Click on “Field…” in the drop-down list and then, in the “Field Names:” list box, scroll down to and select “NumWords” and click “OK.” Use the same process to display the number of characters, but choose “NumChars” and instead of "NumWords."

Updating the Count

If you make changes after you have inserted the word or character count into your document, the count does not update automatically. To update it, right-click on the number displayed and choose “Update Field.”