I know what you’re thinking: “What’s there to learn about the word count in Microsoft Word? The number is right there at the bottom of the screen!” And that is true. Unless you’ve changed your default settings, the count always appears in the left-hand side of the status bar below your document. But Word’s word count tool can do more than provide the total number of words.
This tutorial shows you (1) how to count words in specific sections and (2) how to open the Word Count dialog box to see additional statistics such as character counts with and without spaces, as well as how to exclude textboxes, footnotes, and endnotes from the count.
And don’t miss the bonus section featuring keyboard shortcuts for selecting text in Word and other Windows applications.
This tutorial is available as a YouTube video showing all the steps in real time.
Watch more than 150 other writing-related software tutorials on my YouTube channel.
The images below are from Word for Microsoft 365. These steps also apply to Word 2021, Word 2019, Word 2016, Word 2013, Word 2010, and most earlier versions of Word. However, your interface may look slightly different in older versions.
How to View the Word Count for Specific Sections
To view the number of words in a specific sentence, paragraph, page, or section, select only that text. (See the bonus section below featuring Windows keyboard shortcuts for selecting text.)
The word count in the status bar at the bottom left-hand corner of your screen will then update to say “[#] of [#] words.” Once you deselect the text, the count will return to the total for the entire document.
Text Selection Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows
If you want to select multiple sections of text in different locations in the document, press Ctrl as you make the selections. While pressing Ctrl, the text in between your selections shouldn’t be selected.
Here are six Windows keyboard shortcuts that make automatic selections:
Select everything from the cursor to the end of the paragraph:
Ctrl + Shift + Down Arrow
Select everything from the cursor to the beginning of the paragraph:
Ctrl + Shift + Up Arrow
Select everything from the cursor to the end of the screen:
Ctrl +Shift + Alt + PgDn (Page Down)
Select everything from the cursor to the beginning of the screen:
Ctrl + Shift + Alt + PgUp (Page Up)
Select everything from the cursor to the end of the document:
Ctrl + Shift + End
Select everything from the cursor to the beginning of the document:
Ctrl + Shift + Home
How to View the Word Count Dialog Box and Exclude Textboxes, Footnotes, and Endnotes
To open the Word Count dialog box, select the word count in the status bar or press Ctrl + Shift + G on your keyboard.
The Word Count dialog box shows the number of pages, words, characters with and without spaces, paragraphs, and lines in your document.
Note that the lines statistic in the Word Count dialog box represents the number of individual lines with letters or numbers in them, not the number of sentences. The number of lines in your document will be affected by your font size (i.e., the bigger the font, the more lines you will have.)
Uncheck “Include textboxes, footnotes and endnotes” if you want to exclude everything in those sections from the word count. The count will update immediately.
Further Reading: How to Delete Extra Spaces in Microsoft Word
Updated February 25, 2022