How to Check Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level in Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

Checking the Flesch-Kincaid grade level in Word is a breeze. It’s a built-in feature that tells you how complex your writing is and what education level someone would need to understand it. Just turn on the feature, run a spell check, and Word will show you the score. It’s that simple.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Check Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level in Word

Before we dive into the steps, let’s clarify what we’re aiming for. By following these steps, you’ll activate a readability statistic feature in Microsoft Word that includes the Flesch-Kincaid grade level. This tells you the grade level of education someone would need to read your document easily.

Step 1: Open Word Document

Open the Word document you want to check.

Once you’ve opened your document in Word, you’re ready to start the process. Make sure you’ve saved your work before proceeding to the next step, as it’s always good practice to do so.

Step 2: Click on ‘File’

Click on the ‘File’ tab in the upper left corner of the screen.

After you click on ‘File,’ you’ll see a list of options on the left-hand side. From here, you’ll be accessing the options to modify your Word settings.

Step 3: Select ‘Options’

Select ‘Options’ at the bottom of the list to open the Word Options dialog box.

When you open the Word Options dialog box, you’re one step closer to accessing the readability statistics. This is where you can customize many settings in your Word program.

Step 4: Click on ‘Proofing’

In the Word Options dialog box, click on ‘Proofing’ on the left-hand side.

The ‘Proofing’ section is where Word keeps all its language and grammar checking tools. This is also where the readability statistics feature is located.

Step 5: Check the Box for Readability Statistics

Scroll down to the section labeled "When correcting spelling and grammar in Word" and check the box next to "Show readability statistics."

By checking this box, you’re telling Word that you want it to display the readability statistics, including the Flesch-Kincaid grade level, after you’ve completed a spelling and grammar check.

Step 6: Run a Spelling and Grammar Check

Click ‘OK’ to close the Word Options dialog box, and then run a spell check by pressing F7 or going to the ‘Review’ tab and clicking on ‘Spelling & Grammar.’

After the spell check is finished, a box will pop up displaying various readability statistics, including the Flesch-Kincaid grade level.

After completing these steps, a box will appear after the spelling and grammar check that includes various readability scores. You will see the Flesch-Kincaid grade level, which tells you the approximate school grade level needed to comprehend the text.

Tips for Checking Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level in Word

  • Keep in mind that the Flesch-Kincaid grade level is just an estimate and may not be accurate for all types of documents.
  • Remember to save your document before running a spelling and grammar check, as you may make changes during the process.
  • The Flesch-Kincaid grade level can be helpful for determining if your writing is appropriate for your intended audience.
  • If the grade level is higher than desired, consider simplifying your language or breaking up complex sentences.
  • You can use this feature regularly to monitor the readability of your documents over time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Flesch-Kincaid grade level?

The Flesch-Kincaid grade level is a readability test designed to indicate how difficult a passage in English is to understand. It is used to assess the clarity of writing and is expressed as a grade level.

Can the Flesch-Kincaid grade level be used for any type of document?

While it can be used for a variety of documents, it’s most accurate for standard types of writing. Documents with a lot of technical language or unconventional structure may not receive an accurate grade level score.

Is a lower or higher grade level better?

It depends on your audience. For general audiences, a lower grade level (around 7th or 8th grade) is typically more accessible. For more specialized or academic audiences, a higher grade level may be appropriate.

Does the Flesch-Kincaid grade level account for document length?

No, the grade level is not affected by the length of the document. It assesses the complexity of the language used, not how much text there is.

Can I improve my document’s grade level score?

Yes, you can lower the grade level by simplifying your language, using shorter sentences, and avoiding complex vocabulary when possible.


  1. Open your Word document.
  2. Click on the ‘File’ tab.
  3. Select ‘Options’ to open the Word Options dialog box.
  4. Click on ‘Proofing’.
  5. Check the box for readability statistics.
  6. Run a spelling and grammar check.


So now you know how to check the Flesch-Kincaid grade level in Word. With these simple steps, you can ensure your writing is hitting the mark for your intended audience. Whether you’re crafting a report for work, writing an essay for school, or just want to make your emails clearer, this tool can help you communicate more effectively. Remember, the key to great writing isn’t just about fancy words or long sentences; it’s about being understood. And now, you’ve got one more tool in your toolkit to help you do just that. Keep writing, keep refining, and always keep your reader in mind.

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