How to Check a Word Count in Microsoft Word

When learning to write a document in Microsoft Word, you will find an abundance of useful features. Spell check, grammar help, and a find-and-replace-keyword option, that makes this popular word processing software the industry standard at home or in the office. One feature the program offers is the Microsoft Word Count. Using Microsoft Word Count can help your project stay on track by counting words, paragraphs, and characters. The basic function of this feature is the ability to check a word count, which is important when specific guidelines require you to write within a certain limit. If you want to know how to check a word count in the various versions of Microsoft Word, read the following instructions.


  1. Image titled Check a Word Count in Microsoft Word Step 1
    Launch the Microsoft Word program. Open a new document by selecting "New" at the top left of the page in the toolbar. Typically, Word Count is set up to run automatically. Look at the status bar at the bottom of the work space. Next to the page counter, you should see the word counter. It should read "Words: 0 of 0," or "0/0," depending on your version of Microsoft Word.
  2. Image titled Check a Word Count in Microsoft Word Step 2
    Type a word in the document. Look down at the word count and you'll notice that it counted the word you just wrote. It should now say "Words: 1 of 1" or "Words: 1" depending on your version of Microsoft Word. Write a few more words. Now you should notice those words have been counted as well. If you stopped at 10 words, for example, Word Count should now say "Words: 10 of 10" or "Words: 10."
    • Continue typing to add words to the document, frequently checking the word count status. With each new word, the word count should rise.
  3. Image titled Check a Word Count in Microsoft Word Step 3
    Find a word's numerical placement. Place the mouse cursor over a word somewhere in the document. Highlight the word by clicking on it to determine its numerical position in relation to the others. Microsoft Word Count will display a word count such as, "Words: 58 of 161," for example. The number 161 represents the total word count and 58 is the word that you highlighted.
  4. Image titled Check a Word Count in Microsoft Word Step 4
    Open the Microsoft Word Count pop up box in "Review." You should see a list of statistics. You have the option of checking the "include footnotes and endnotes" preference in the box, which counts all the words in your document. Uncheck this box if you only want to count the body text of your Microsoft Word document.
    • Refer to the Word Count box when you need to know the amount of sentences, paragraphs, characters, or pages.


  • Make sure the Microsoft Word window is fully maximized. Otherwise, the window can be moved within your viewable area, and the Word Count in the lower portion of the document could be hidden.
  • In Word 2013, longer documents that have lots of sections, tables, and so on, will often have a completely incorrect word count in the status bar. In these cases it is often better to get the word count from the tool in the "review" ribbon.
  • Due to varying nuances in different versions of Microsoft Word over the years, you should become more familiar with your version by referring to the "Help" menu, if you still need assistance.

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Categories: Microsoft Word