How to count the number of characters in a Word document

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Knowing the number of characters counts of a Word document is essential for most business owners. For example, writing agencies have specific character counts they want from their freelance writers. Other purposes limited to a maximum word count include essays and online articles. You need a reliable character count tool to stay within the necessary word limits.

One of the most frequently used word processing programs is Microsoft Word. As you would expect, it has a simple feature to count the words in a document, including the ability to count the number of characters.

In addition to words and characters, Microsoft Word also keeps track of other statistics for you, such as the total number of paragraphs, pages, and lines.

Character count in Word via Review tab

Counting the number of characters in a Word document is precisely the same way you count the number of words in it. You can access the Word count tool by going to the Review tab of the ribbon or via the status bar at the bottom of the page. The process is the same whether you are using Mac or Windows.

Step 1

Open the Word document that you want to count the characters in. Select the section of the text you want to count. If you want the character count of the whole document, make sure no text is selected.

Step 2

Click the “Review” tab in the ribbon.

Step 3

Click “Word Count.”

Step 4

The Word Count dialog window will open and displays the characters count in the document with and without spaces. On the dialog window, you can choose to accept whether Word should include extra elements such as footnotes, endnotes, and textboxes in its count. To remove those from the count, tick the checkbox.

Character count in Word in one click via Quick Access Toolbar

Another way to count the number of characters in a Word document is to add Word Count to Word’s Quick Access toolbar (the row of icons at the top left of the title bar). Once you add it, you can get the word and character count by clicking the icon without going to the review tab.

For Mac:

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Step 1

Click the downward arrow at the right of the Quick Access Toolbar in the Word title bar.

Step 2

Choose “More Commands…”

Step 3

In the Ribbon & Toolbar dialog window, click the “Choose Commands From menu” and select “Review.”

Step 4

Scroll to the bottom and click “Word Count…”

Step 5

Click the right arrow to move it to the Customize Quick Access Toolbar list. Click “Save” to complete the process.

For Windows:

Step 1

Click the “Review” tab and right-click “Word Count.”

Step 2

In the menu that appears, click “Add to Quick Access Toolbar.”

Other Word Processors

Most other word processing programs have a word count and character count tool already incorporated as standard. For example, to access word count on Google Docs, click the “Tools” menu at the top of the screen and then choose “Word Count” from the list of options. Alternatively, press “Control + Shift + C” simultaneously to bring up the dialogue directly.

It’s the same process for other word processors, including LibreOffice, OpenOffice, WordPerfect, and AbiWord. Similar to Google Docs, just click “Tools” and then select “Word Count” from the options to bring up the information.

Online character and word count tools

If you are typing on a basic word processor with no built-in features for a character or word count, such as a Notepad or Wordpad, or if you ever need to do a quick check for a character or word count on any document. Fortunately, cause there are plenty of websites with free access to get the character count for any section of text.

One of the most popular is wordcounter; it’s a basic website with a big empty text field where you can paste your text. Above the text window are heading details such as words, characters, sentences, paragraphs, and pages. You also get to see all of your most used keywords within the texts. Note that the total number of characters includes spaces.

Character Count vs. Word Count

The process for checking the word count and character count in a Word document is pretty much the same, because both tools can be accessed in the same way. You don’t have to click anything to get the word count in Microsoft Word because it’s clearly visible in the bottom left corner of the screen.

The difference between word and character count is straightforward: the word microsoft comprises nine individual characters, but together one word. Similarly, microsoft office contains 16 characters (including the space) but form two words.

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