If you’re writing a big document in Google Docs, it can be easy to lose track of how many words you’ve written and where you are in the document in relation to your word count goal. With this quick tip, you can quickly check how much space you have left to work with or how far along you are so far. Here’s how!
Highlight the text you want to count
To check your word count in Google Docs, simply highlight the text you want to count. The word count will appear at the bottom of the page, next to the number of characters. You can also find your total word count by going to Tools > Word Count. In the Word Count box that pops up, choose Document and hit Okay.
A warning box may pop up asking if you want to change the formatting of your document before continuing. Choose No and then click Okay.
Your total word count will be listed on a new line under Total Characters (at the top). The sidebar on the left lists how many words are in each paragraph so you can see where most of your words are being used. If there is no sidebar, go to View > Sidebar or View > Sidebar Toggle. Under Formatting Options, select Show First Line Only for Paragraph Style.
In the top menu bar, click Review. In the drop-down menu, hover your mouse over Word count. A small box will appear with the number of words in your document. If you want more detailed information, click Show word count at the bottom of the box.
This will open a side panel with even more information, including character count and reading level. For example, it will tell you if your text is appropriate for children. You can also see where your sentences are too long or too short, which helps when editing them. It’s very easy to scroll through your document while this is on so you can make sure everything’s uniform.
If you want to check on just one sentence, type in Command+Enter on MacOS or Control+Enter on Windows into the sentence and then hit Enter again. The word count will show up below your cursor so that you know exactly how many words are in that sentence.
In the pop-up click Show readout
There are a few ways to check your word count in Google Docs. The first is to simply look at the bottom left-hand corner of your screen. The second is to open up the Tools menu and select Word Count. And the third is to use a keyboard shortcut: on a PC, press Ctrl+Shift+C; on a Mac, press Command+Shift+C. If you want to do this last method repeatedly, consider adding it as a custom keyboard shortcut by following these steps:
- Go to your Tools menu
- Select Preferences
- In the General tab
- Click Keyboard shortcuts
- In the Shortcuts for editing text area
- Press New button
- Type in Ctrl+Shift+C
- Click Save
- Give it an easily memorable name
- Click OK
- Repeat the process with another key
- Now you can quickly add words or letters to be counted
- For example: type ‘l’
- It will automatically count words when typed
- Do not include spaces or punctuation
- Add a number if you want that function too 17. You can now click Ctrl+Shift+L
The number of words is right there on your screen
There’s no need to go into the File menu or even open a new window. Just look at the bottom left-hand corner of your screen and you’ll see the word count for your whole document. If you want to see the word count for just a selection of text, highlight the relevant section and take a look at the same spot on your screen. The word count will be different because it is only counting the words in that specific area.
It’s also worth noting that this feature is not available when editing a Google Doc from mobile devices. To get the word count on your phone, you have to upload the document first and then look at the stats there. You can upload a Google Doc by clicking File in the top right-hand corner of any editable doc and selecting Share.
From there, click Get shareable link and choose where you want to save it (e.g., Gmail). When you’re ready to share with someone else (or download again), click File then Download as.