Word Count Comparison

Tweet this quote.Different word processing software will give you a different word count in the very same document. I look at some of the variations today, in my How To column at Copyediting.com.

 

I created a very short document to test how the software counted a variety of constructions. Below is a chart showing the actual test contents and how each item was counted by the word processor.

 

Element Counted as
  Word Google Doc Txt Pages LaTeX* PDF*
COUNT 50 54 56 54 64 57
header 0 0 0  
footer 0 0 0
comments 0 0 0
counts — 1 2 1
time-stamp 1 1 2
cat&dog 1 2 2
she’d 1 1 1
3[nonbreaking]F 2 1 2
8–9 2 1 2
8-9 1 1 2
3.14 2 1
teacher–author 2 1 2
dash — spaced 2 3 2
            or—not 2 1 2
slash/unspaced 1 2 2
slash / spaced 2 2 2
http://www.url.ca 1 4 4
—30— 1 1 1
–#– 2 2 0
picture 0 n/a n/a
caption full, including “figure #” tag
symbols © ™ 1@ 1@ 0
math + 10 ÷ 8 ½ 6 6 4
text box 0 0 yes

*Content was exported from the PDF and LaTeX documents because those systems don’t have built-in word counters. Since this is something you might have to do, it  was worth testing it anyway.

 

Link to my columns on Copyediting.com

 photo of colourful numbered bean bags

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