How to Check Word Count on Google Docs

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If you’re working on a piece in Google Docs, you might need a word count to check its length (or duration). Google Docs doesn’t make this obvious – there’s no native word counter or quick check like other text editing options offer, at least not with the original Docs settings. Luckily, you can still get a word count whenever you need it. Here’s what to do if you want a unique word count for a particular section or need a consistent word count for long-running Docs projects.

How to See Word Count on Google Docs

Step 1: Open your Docs file if necessary. From the top menu, select Tools.

2nd step: Select Number of words. A window will appear showing the number of pages, words and characters.

Select Word Count in Google Docs.

Step 3: If you don’t plan to count words very often, this should suffice. But if you want a continuous word count for all your Google Docs, you should select the box that says Show word count as you type. This will create a small counter at the bottom of Docs that will always keep track of the total number of words in the document.

Word count in Google Docs.

Step 4: Often you will want to find the word count for a specific section, not for the entire document. The Google Docs word counter you’ve enabled in the corner of the document is smart enough to work with you: highlight the section you want to count, and the counter will switch to counting only the words you’ve highlighted. Stop highlighting the text and it will return to the full document.

Word counter enabled in Google Docs.

Step 5: You can remove the word counter at any time by selecting the drop-down arrow on the counter and choosing Hide word count.

Using the Word Counter Max extension.

Install a word counter extension

The Docs word counter is handy, but you have a choice of other word counters thanks to Google extensions compatible with Docs. These extensions may have additional functionality or a different type of formatting that you prefer. Max Word Count is a popular option that is packed with additional features and customization options. word counter is a simpler version that gives you word count milestones and execution tracking on the side of the document.

Does it also work on Mac?

Yes. The cloud-based nature of Google Docs means you generally don’t have to worry about compatibility issues, and all features will still be usable. Chrome extensions for word counting work right in your Chrome browser, so MacOS presents no obstacles either.

How to Check Word Count on Google Docs on Mobile

You’ll want to select the three-dot settings menu in the upper-right corner of the document, then select Number of words proceed. The catch is that you won’t have the option to enable a running word counter in the Docs mobile app.

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