Guest Author - Chris Curtis
Students who write papers for school projects, academics who write scholarly papers, editors who write articles and authors who write manuscripts can benefit from understanding how to use MS Word’s word count feature. It is particularly usesful when your assignment restricts you to a specific number of words, paragraphs or pages. Specifically, it is a fairly simple toolbar that you can leave open your desk top, or a dialog box in which you can view a snap shot of all the counts. The feature allows you to look at:
• Number of words
• Characters with no spaces counted
• Characters with spaces counted
• Number of Lines
• Number of Pages
• Number of Paragraphs
There are two methods you can use to open the word count tool bar as follows:
• Click on View | Toolbars | Word Count
• Right click in the grey area of the tool bar section of the window
• Select Word Count from the shortcut menu displayed
To view the dialog with all the counts displayed:
• Click on Tools | Word Count
The toolbar is particularly helpful because you can call for a recount at any time with one click on the recount button. The count default is the number of words. To change the count type to any of the above choices, click on the drop down on the tool bar view field and select the count type. Each subsequent recount will remain on the type you selected. When you call for a recount, if you want to know any other count statistic, you can click on the drop down and the counts will be displayed for all types.
Another useful technique is when you want a count of a certain section or paragraph of your paper, you can select that specific section of your document and then use the recount button to obtain a count on only that which is selected.
As I was studying for my MBA, I found having this tool bar permanently displayed at the top of my Word window was very useful to staying on track with the professors specific requirements. I also use it extensively in preparing my articles for Desk Top Publishing. Go ahead and give it a try. I think you will find it quite useful for a number of projects.