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Google Docs has long provided a fairly simple word counting tool. The G Suite editing application will soon have a counter always visible in the lower left corner of your screen on the web.
Displaying this information is useful for users working on documents that require a minimum or maximum number of words. This feature is best suited for shorter documents, such as newspaper articles or school essays. For longer documents, such as novels or screenplays, we recommend displaying the word count under Tools > Word Count.
By clicking on the “Number of words” field, you can also display other information such as page number, number of characters (with and without spaces). To see the number of words in a specific section of text, simply highlight that section in your document.
There are many reasons why you might want to know the number of words or characters in a written work, including the following:
- If you are a student writing a five-page document but have not yet formatted your paper, the word count can tell you how close you are to the end.
- If you are a professional creating a slide presentation and want to stay within a certain word limit – not too many to overwhelm the audience, but enough to convey the essential information.
- If you are writing an essay for an application that requires a minimum and maximum word count. Letters of recommendation and cover letters also follow a standard for word count.
- If you agree to write a certain number of words per day. Famous authors have often done the same; Ernest Hemingway = 500 / day, Barbara Kingsolver = 1,000 / day, Stephen King = 2,000 / day, Anne Rice = 3,000 / day.
How to always display the number of words in Google Docs
- First, go to Google Docs on your computer and open an existing document or create a new document.
- Next, go to the menu bar and click on “Tools”, then click on “Number of words” in the drop-down menu.
- A menu should now appear on the screen that displays word count statistics. Check the box next to the option “Display word count as you type”.
A live word count window will appear in the lower left corner of the document. It will automatically count the words as you type. Very handy.
Now you officially no longer have an excuse to go over (or under) your goal. Editors around the world are thrilled!
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