How to count words and characters in MS Word

If you see the signs of the times, count the words and characters in MS Word. Because that’s what’s needed, to keep within the maximum character length of a tweet on Twitter, a title for Google, a classified ad, or an article in a trade journal.

how to count words and characters

Word also offers a keyboard shortcut for quick access for frequent counting of the number of characters. And with a trick, you can also count the frequency of certain words or word groups in Word. This is important for search engine optimization, among other things, so that a keyword does not occur too often, but also not too rarely.

Count words andcharacters

Step 1: Count words and characters in Word

Mark with the cursor the text passage or the text body in which Word should count the words and characters. If you want count the entire text, simply press the key combination → Ctrl + A.

Then click on the Review → Check and then in the menu area after Spelling & Grammar on the far left on the button → click on Word Count.

count words and characters
Words and characters count in Word

Step 2: Key combination in Word for counting characters and words.

Microsoft has also set up a keyboard shortcut with quick access to count word characters. Then you save yourself the trouble of navigating through the tabs and the menu bar – and you stay in the writing flow!

To do this, simply press the key combination → Shift + Ctrl + I, then the Count Words dialog box will open in Word. And the selected text characters will be counted automatically.

Step 3: Count the frequency of certain words in Word

You can only do this via a small detour: you must replace the Word, group of words, or string in question with itself (→ Replace). Word then shows you how often this has been done in the text document.

This does not result in any textual changes. But, you will immediately receive a count of the number of specific words or strings in the Word text.

To do this, click on the tab → Home and then the ribbon on the far-right within the “Edit” button on the command → Replace.

In the Find and Replace dialog box, enter the word or words to be counted in both lines. You can select further formatting for the replacement using the command Expand. Such as bold print, font color, font size, etc.

Finally, click on → Replace all. Word then shows you how often the Word in question has been replaced by itself in this text, i.e., how often it occurs in total.

count frequency of certain words
Count the frequency of certain words in Word

Enjoying this guide on count characters and words? You might also interested to read how to insert X across in MS Word equation.

How long can it be?

Anyone who works a lot with social media knows that every platform has its own rules. This also applies to the maximum number of characters for certain publication forms and types. Here’s a quick overview, so you know what’s allowed and how long in your Word template.

Maximum character length in social media

Maximum number of characters for a title: The title for the preview result (snippet) on the search engine results pages may be around 70 characters long. However, Google calculates the space requirement according to the real pixel width of the individual letters.

So, if you use a lot of wide letters (e.g., W and O) instead of narrow ones (like i and l), you should rather stay a few characters below this maximum value.

Maximum number of characters for a meta description: A short description for the preview results pages of the search engines. That was previously allowed to be a maximum of 150-160 characters long. Depending on the actual pixel space required by the letters used.

Since December 2017, however, Google has also sighted 320-350 characters, i.e., 3- and 4-line descriptions. However, until Google issues an official statement on its beta tests with the description length, the previous character length should be adhered to. Just to be on the safe side.

Maximum number of characters on Twitter: Since the end of 2017, a tweet maybe 280 characters long instead of 140 characters. However, a link alone requires around 24 characters and a link + image together 46 characters.

Maximum length of a headline on Google+: The headline for a post on Google+ cannot be longer than 60 characters.

Length of a status update on Facebook: Out of a “nerdy” numbers game (according to the ironic self-criticism), Facebook limits the length of a status update to exactly 63,206 characters.

Maximum number of characters on Instagram: Here, one’s own profile description may be a maximum of 150 characters long. While the description for a picture maybe a whole 2,200 characters long.

Conclusion on count words and characters

Word is a very versatile word processor that can do much more than just counting characters. For example, you can automatically create a table of contents or save a lot of time with keyboard shortcuts for symbols and special characters.

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