How to Count Characters in Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

Counting characters in a Word document is a simple task that can be accomplished in a few clicks. Whether you’re trying to meet a character limit for a writing assignment or just curious about the length of your document, Word has a built-in feature that can give you the information you need quickly and easily.

Step by Step Tutorial to Count Characters in Word

Before diving into the steps, it’s essential to know that counting characters in Word will give you an insight into the length of your document. This is particularly helpful for those who need to stick to specific character counts for various purposes, such as social media posts, abstracts for academic papers, or even character-limited fields in forms.

Step 1: Open your Word document

Open the Word document you want to count characters in.

Step 2: Click on the ‘Review’ tab

At the top of the Word window, you’ll see a few tabs. Click on the ‘Review’ tab to access the Word count feature.

This tab contains several tools to help you review and edit your document, including spell check, comments, and tracking changes.

Step 3: Click on ‘Word Count’

In the ‘Review’ tab, you will find the ‘Word Count’ button. Click on it to open the Word Count dialog box.

This box will show you not only the number of characters but also the number of words, paragraphs, and pages in your document.

Step 4: Check ‘Characters (with spaces)’ or ‘Characters (no spaces)’

In the Word Count dialog box, you will see two options for character count – one that includes spaces and one that does not. Choose the option that suits your needs.

For most purposes, ‘Characters (with spaces)’ is the more commonly required count, as spaces are typically counted as characters in writing assignments and online character limits.

After completing these steps, you’ll have a precise character count for your Word document, which can be used to ensure you’re meeting any necessary guidelines or restrictions.

Tips for Counting Characters in Word

  • Use the keyboard shortcut ‘Ctrl + Shift + G’ to open the Word Count dialog box quickly.
  • Remember that different places might require different character counts; some might ask for characters with spaces, and others without.
  • The Word Count feature also counts the number of lines and paragraphs, which could be useful for formatting purposes.
  • If you’re working on a document where you need to count characters frequently, keep the Word Count dialog box open as you work.
  • The Word Count feature does not count characters in headers, footers, or text boxes unless you select the text from these areas specifically.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Word Count feature count characters in footnotes?

The Word Count feature does not automatically count characters in footnotes or endnotes. However, if you select the text in the footnotes or endnotes, it will include them in the character count.

Can I count characters in a selected portion of the text?

Yes, you can count characters in a specific part of your document by highlighting the text you want to count before clicking the ‘Word Count’ button.

Does the character count include punctuation?

Yes, the character count includes all punctuation marks as characters.

Will the Word Count feature work on a Mac?

Yes, the Word Count feature works similarly on both Windows and Mac versions of Microsoft Word.

Is there a way to see the character count without opening the Word Count dialog box?

Yes, you can see a brief version of the character count in the status bar at the bottom of the Word window. If it’s not visible, right-click the status bar and select ‘Word Count.’


  1. Open your Word document.
  2. Click on the ‘Review’ tab.
  3. Click on ‘Word Count.’
  4. Check ‘Characters (with spaces)’ or ‘Characters (no spaces)’.


Counting characters in Word is a breeze once you know where to look. Whether you’re a student trying to meet a character limit for an essay, a professional preparing a report, or a social media manager crafting the perfect post, the built-in Word Count feature is an invaluable tool. Not only can you count characters, but you also get insights into the number of words, paragraphs, and pages, making it a versatile feature for various writing needs. Remember to use the tips provided to make the process even smoother, and don’t hesitate to refer back to the frequently asked questions if you run into any issues. With this guide, you’ll be a character-counting whiz in no time, ensuring your documents are always precisely as long as they need to be.

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