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

Counting characters in Microsoft Word is a breeze. Whether you’re trying to meet a specific character count for a project or just curious about the length of your document, Word has a built-in feature that makes it easy to get the information you need. Simply open your document, click on the “Review” tab, and then click on “Word Count.” A box will pop up displaying not only the character count but also other useful statistics like word, line, and paragraph count.

After completing this action, you’ll have a clear understanding of the character length of your document. This can help you make necessary adjustments to meet any requirements or to keep your content concise and to the point.


Have you ever been in a situation where you needed to keep an eye on the number of characters in your document? Maybe you’re working on a Twitter post and need to stay within that 280-character limit, or you’re writing an essay that needs to be just the right length. Whatever the reason, counting characters is a common task for many of us who use Microsoft Word. And let’s be honest, nobody wants to sit there and count each character one by one – that’s just tedious and a huge waste of time!

Knowing how to quickly and accurately count characters in MS Word is a handy skill that can save you from the frustration of guesswork or manual counting. It’s especially relevant for writers, students, marketers, and anyone who needs to adhere to specific content length requirements. But why is character count so important, and why should you care? Well, it’s all about precision and brevity. In an age where attention spans are short, making your point efficiently is key. Plus, many platforms and submissions have strict character limits, and you don’t want to be caught off-guard! So let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of counting those characters, shall we?

Step by Step Tutorial to Count Characters in MS Word

Before you start counting characters, it’s important to understand that Microsoft Word offers different character count options – with or without spaces. Depending on your needs, you may choose one over the other.

Step 1: Open your document in MS Word

Open the Word document where you want to count the characters.

When you open your document, make sure you’re on the page you want to check the character count for, as Word can provide counts for the whole document or just selections of text.

Step 2: Go to the “Review” tab

Click on the “Review” tab on the Word ribbon.

This tab is located on the top menu of Word. It’s where you can find various tools for reviewing and proofreading your document, including the all-important “Word Count” feature.

Step 3: Click on “Word Count”

Find and click on the “Word Count” button in the “Proofing” group.

After you click on this, a dialog box will appear with various statistics about your document. You’ll find the character count here.

Step 4: View your character count

See your character count in the “Word Count” dialog box.

The dialog box will show two character counts: one that includes spaces and one that does not. Use the count that is most relevant to your needs.


Quick and EasyRather than manually counting characters, which can be time-consuming and error-prone, MS Word’s character count feature is a quick and accurate way to get the information you need.
AccuracyThe character count tool is precise, giving you an exact number of characters with or without spaces, so you can be sure you’re meeting the requirements for your project.
ConvenienceThe feature is built into MS Word, so there’s no need to use external tools or software to count characters – it’s all there at your fingertips!


Not Always VisibleThe character count isn’t always displayed automatically, and some users may not know where to find the feature in the menu.
No CustomizationThe feature doesn’t allow for customization, such as excluding certain parts of the text from the count.
Can Slow Down WorkflowFor large documents, navigating to the “Word Count” feature can disrupt the writing flow and productivity if you need to check the count frequently.

Additional Information

When it comes to counting characters in MS Word, there are a few extra tips and tricks that can make your life even easier. For instance, did you know that you can also count characters in a specific section of your document? All you need to do is highlight the text you want to count, and then follow the same steps to get the character count for that selection. Additionally, if you find yourself needing to check the character count often, you can add the “Word Count” feature to your Quick Access Toolbar. This way, it’s always just one click away, and you won’t have to navigate through the tabs each time.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the character count feature in MS Word counts everything, including punctuation marks and spaces (if you choose that option). So, if you’re writing something that has specific character requirements, be sure to take those into account. Counting characters in MS Word is a useful skill to have up your sleeve, especially if you’re in the writing or editing field. Whether you’re crafting the perfect tweet, meeting an essay’s length requirements, or just curious about the length of your document, MS Word has got you covered.


  1. Open your document in MS Word
  2. Go to the “Review” tab
  3. Click on “Word Count”
  4. View your character count

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I count characters in a specific part of my document?

Yes, simply highlight the text section you want to count, then follow the same steps to access the character count.

Does the character count include spaces?

MS Word provides two counts: one with spaces and one without. You can choose the one that fits your needs.

Is there a way to keep the character count visible at all times?

While MS Word doesn’t display the count continuously, you can add the “Word Count” feature to your Quick Access Toolbar for easier access.

Can I exclude things like footnotes from the character count?

The character count feature in MS Word includes all text in the document by default, without the option to exclude specific elements.

Does MS Word count punctuation as characters?

Yes, all punctuation marks are included in the character count in MS Word.


In the digital age, being savvy with software like MS Word is more than just a convenience—it’s a necessity. Counting characters might seem trivial, but it’s a fundamental skill that can make a huge difference, especially when you’re dealing with content that has strict length guidelines. From crafting the perfect tweet to submitting an assignment, the character count feature in MS Word is an indispensable tool.

It’s simple, straightforward, and tucked away under the ‘Review’ tab, ready to serve up the numbers you need with just a few clicks. So next time you’re knee-deep in words and wondering, “Have I written too much or too little?” remember that MS Word has got your back.

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