Google Docs is a free online word-processing application to create and edit documents, collaborate with others, and access your files from anywhere. One of the features that Google Docs offers is the ability to see the word count of your documents or selected text. This article will show you how to check word count in Google Docs on desktop and mobile.
The word count is essential to ensure you meet the word limit for an assignment, a report, or an article. Additionally, you may want to check the readability and clarity of your writing by analyzing the average words per sentence, characters per word, or syllables per word. Knowing the word count can help you achieve your writing goals and improve your writing skills.
To see the word count on Google Docs, you can use the built-in tool, the keyboard shortcut, or the add-ons or extensions. We will explain each of these methods in detail, but before that, let’s compare word counts on Google Docs and Microsoft Word.
Differences Between Word Counts on Microsoft Word and Google Docs
Irrespective of whether you are using Google Docs or Microsoft Word, one common task that users may need to perform is to check the word count of their documents or selected text. However, there are some key operational differences between the two word-processing applications.
- One difference is that Google Docs does not include headers, footers, and footnotes in the word count, while Microsoft Word does. This means that if you have text in these areas, it will not be counted by Google Docs, but Microsoft Word will.
- Another difference is that Google Docs allows you to display the word count while typing, while Microsoft Word does not. This feature can be helpful if you want to track the word count as you write.
If you want to know more, check our in-depth article on Google Docs vs. Microsoft Word Online. Let’s begin with the steps to initiate word count tracking on Google Docs.
How to See Word Count in Google Docs on Desktop
Tracking document word count on the desktop is pretty straightforward. Besides, there are multiple ways to do so. Let’s check them all.
1. Using the Menu Bar
This is one of the most common ways to enable word count on Google Docs. Follow the steps below.
Step 1: Open Google Docs on your preferred browser and navigate to your document.
Note: If you have Google Docs installed as a web app or are on ChromeOS, launch it, go to the doc file, and open it.
Step 2: Once the document opens, click on the Tools menu in the toolbar.
Step 3: From the drop-down menu, choose Word count.
You will see a pop-up displaying details such as the current count of pages, words, characters, and ‘Characters excluding pages.’
Step 4: [Optional] If you want to see the word count while typing, check the box that says ‘Display word count while typing.’
Step 5: Click OK.
That’s it. You now know the character count of the document you are working on.
2. Using Shortcut Keys
As the name suggests, this method is no different than the above ones, but you skip the part of clicking the toolbar and selecting the options. Here’s how:
Step 1: Go to Google Docs from your preferred browser and navigate to the relevant document.
Step 2: Once you land on the document, press the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl + Shift + C on Windows or Command + Shift + C on Mac.
There you go. You have enabled document word counts on your desktop. If counting words isn’t enough, you can use add-ons or extensions to enhance the functionality.
3. Using Add-Ons
There are many add-ons available on Google Workspace Marketplace; the one we recommend is Word Counter Max. This add-on lets you track your word count on a document and the number of words you put down in a day or set a word count target for your writing.
Moreover, you can also customize it and specify the types of words to be excluded from the count. We already have a guide on using add-ons in Google Docs; you can refer to it and use this add-on.
Moreover, check out some cool writer-friendly add-ons in Google Docs if you are a writer.
4. Using Chrome Extensions
Much like add-ons, many extensions are available to keep track of words in a document, namely Reverse Word Count, Word Counter Plus, Counting Characters, and so on.
One of the extensions we recommend is Reverse Word Count. As the name suggests, this extension sets a target word count before you begin working on a document and displays the number of words left until you finish the document, basically the reverse of what the built-in option does.
Additionally, the word counter sits nicely in place of the built-in Google word counter for easy access and operability. This extension is handy if you are a writer or working with a tight word limit.
How to Find Word Count in Google Docs on Android or iOS
The word count is also available on a mobile device, like on the desktop. The steps are the same for both Android and iOS. For demonstration, we are going with Android. Follow along.
Step 1: Launch the Google Docs app and go to the document where you want to see the word counter.
Step 2: Once the document opens, tap on the floating pencil (edit) icon.
Step 3: In Edit mode, tap on the three-dot icon in the top right corner.
Step 4: From the drop-down menu, choose Word count.
A pop-up in the upper right corner displays details such as Words, Characters, and ‘Characters excluding spaces.’
There you go. You now know the character count of your document in Google Docs. If it is not the whole document you want to know the word count of but a portion of it, continue reading.
How to Find Word Count for Specific Text in Google Docs
Counting a portion of a word in Google Docs is simple and falls (almost) on a similar line to checking the overall count. Let’s begin with the steps.
Step 1: Open Google Docs and navigate to the document you want to check the word count.
Step 2: Select the text by clicking and dragging the cursor.
You should see the word count of the selected portion of the document in the bottom left corner. If the word count isn’t visible, go through the above-mentioned steps and enable the word count option.
On Google Docs Mobile App
Step 1: Launch the Google Docs app on your smartphone and go to the document you want to check the word count for.
Step 2: Tap the floating pencil icon and enter the Edit mode.
Step 3: In Edit mode, highlight the text you want to check the word count of and tap on the three-dot icon.
Step 4: Now, choose Word count from the drop-down menu.
You will see a pop-up in the upper right corner displaying details such as Words, Characters, and ‘Characters excluding spaces.’
That’s about it. You know the word count of the selected portion of the document in Google Docs. If you have more queries, move on to the next section.
FAQs on Checking Word Count in Google Docs
Google Sheets and Google Slides do not offer a word count feature. However, there are some workarounds. One of the easiest ways is to download an extension such as Word Count for Chrome to see the word count. The other way is to download the presentation as a plain text file, copy and paste the text, and check for word count.
Yes, the word count feature works offline in Google Docs. You can follow the steps or methods mentioned in the article to enable the option and track the word count.
Watch Your Words
Knowing how to check word count in Google Docs comes in handy. We hope this guide helped you check the word count for your documents. You can also read how to edit and fill PDFs in Google Docs.
Last updated on 23 August, 2023
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