We’ve all been there: your group is collaborating on a project in Google Docs and your document must be at least 500 words. How do you know you’ve hit your target? Do you count each word one by one? Do you guess an average for each row, then count the rows? Certainly not! Luckily, Google Docs makes it easy to see how many words you’ve typed.
A keyboard shortcut is the easiest way to open word count in Google Docs on your browser. If you’re using a Mac, press ⌘+Shift+C; if you are using Windows, press Ctrl+Shift+C. These commands will open a pop-up window that displays the number of pages, words, characters, and characters excluding spaces in your document.
You can access the word count through the menu if you don’t want to remember keyboard shortcuts (or if you have enough noise in your head already).
- Navigate to menu bar at the top of your Google Doc.
- Select the Tools option.
- Click on Word count.
If you want to keep track of your words as you type, Google Docs has you covered. Check the box near the lower left corner of the pop-up dialog box that says “Show word count as you type.”
A small box will appear in the lower left corner of the document window with a count of your words. Click the triangle to the right of the word count to get the same number of pages, words, and characters in the pop-up window.
Extensions and complements
You can always fall back on third-party software if that’s not enough for you. These come in two basic flavors: browser extensions and add-ons.
- Word Counter Max – an add-on available on the Workspace Marketplace that allows you to set a word count goal, specify word types to exclude from the count, and generate reports.
- Яeverse Word Count – a Chrome extension that lets you set a target word count and counts down as you approach it.
- Wordcounter – a Chrome extension that displays a typed word count and milestone markers on your document every 500 words.
Word count is also available on mobile versions of Google Docs (Android and iOS). To get there,
- Tap the three-dot menu at the top right of the app.
- Faucet Number of words.
A pop-up window will appear in the upper right corner. The only difference between the mobile app and the browser app is the omission of the page count on mobile.
If you want to count the word count in a paragraph or two, highlight the text you want to count the word count in and open the Word Count dialog again. This trick works on desktop and mobile.
What’s in a word?
So what counts as a word in Google Docs? Google Docs isn’t always intuitive when it comes to word count. Obviously, any group of letters surrounded by a space counts as a word. However, word processors generally count compounds as one word; for example, the phrase “easy to use feature” would count as two words. Groups of letters separated by a period also count as words, so Google Docs counts “AndroidPolice.com” as two words and “1.2 million” as three words. The same goes for letters separated by a plus sign: “Ctrl+Shift+C” matches three words.
Now that you’re an expert at counting words in your Google Doc, I think it’s time you got back to work on that group project. If you need to stay in touch with co-workers, near or far, you might want to try Google Duo.