How to Count Characters in Your OpenOffice Documents: A Step-by-Step Guide

Counting characters in your OpenOffice documents is a straightforward process. To accomplish this, you simply need to use the built-in word count tool, which not only counts words but also characters, pages, paragraphs, and other elements of your document. Once you know where to find and how to use this tool, character counting becomes a quick and easy task.

After you complete the action of counting characters, you’ll have valuable information that can help you meet specific writing requirements, such as character limits for online forms, social media posts, or academic assignments.


When it comes to crafting documents, whether for work, school, or personal projects, it’s often crucial to keep track of how many characters you’re using. You might be writing a tweet with a strict character limit, filling out an application with a maximum character count for your answers, or simply trying to be concise. Whatever the reason, knowing how to count characters in your OpenOffice documents can save you time and stress.

OpenOffice, the free and open-source office suite, is a popular alternative to other word processors like Microsoft Word. It’s packed with features that make document creation a breeze, but not everyone is familiar with all the tools at their disposal. Counting characters is one such feature that can be incredibly useful for writers and editors. It’s relevant not only to those looking to abide by character limits but also to individuals interested in analyzing their writing style or improving their document’s readability.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Count Characters in Your OpenOffice Documents

This section will guide you through the specific steps to count characters in OpenOffice Writer, the word processing component of the OpenOffice suite.

Step 1: Open Your Document

Open the OpenOffice document for which you want to count characters.

Once your document is open, you’re ready to navigate to the word count tool. Make sure you’ve saved any recent changes before proceeding.

Step 2: Access the Word Count Tool

Click on ‘Tools’ in the menu bar, then select ‘Word Count.’

The Word Count tool is a multifunctional feature that provides more than just character counts. It can help you understand various aspects of your document’s structure and length.

Step 3: Review the Character Count

In the Word Count window, look at the ‘Characters’ section to see the total number of characters with and without spaces.

This information is particularly useful if you’re writing for a platform that has a specific character limit, including spaces. For instance, Twitter allows 280 characters per tweet, so this tool can help ensure you’re within the limit.


AccuracyThe word count tool in OpenOffice provides an accurate count of characters, which is essential when working with strict character limits.
EfficiencyUsing the built-in tool is much faster than counting characters manually, saving you time and effort.
VersatilityThe word count feature not only counts characters but also words, sentences, paragraphs, and pages, making it a comprehensive tool for writers.

The accuracy of the character count is undeniable. It eliminates human error and ensures you’re meeting the requirements of your writing task. This is crucial when even a single character can make a difference.
Using the word count tool is incredibly efficient. Imagine counting each character manually in a lengthy document—it would be a tedious and time-consuming task. The built-in feature does the job instantly.
Versatility is another significant advantage. With the same tool, you can switch between counting words and characters, depending on your needs. This makes the word count feature a one-stop-shop for various document metrics.


OverrelianceRelying solely on the word count tool may lead some users to overlook the quality of their content.
MisinterpretationUsers may misinterpret the character count if they do not understand the difference between characters with and without spaces.
AccessibilityThe tool is only available within OpenOffice, which means users working with other word processors or online platforms won’t have direct access to this feature.

Overreliance on the character count tool can lead to a focus on quantity over quality. It’s important to remember that while meeting character limits is important, the substance of your writing shouldn’t be compromised.
Misinterpretation of the data provided by the word count tool is a potential risk. Understanding the distinction between character counts with and without spaces is vital, especially when specific guidelines are in place.
Accessibility to this tool is limited to OpenOffice. If you’re working on a platform that doesn’t support OpenOffice documents, you’ll need to find alternative methods to count characters.

Additional Information

Counting characters in your OpenOffice documents is just one aspect of document management. Consider the context in which you’ll be using this information. Are you writing a personal statement for a college application with a strict character limit? Are you trying to optimize a blog post for SEO purposes, where character count in your meta description could be a determining factor in click-through rates? Understanding the ‘why’ behind the character count can influence how you write and edit your document.

Additionally, remember that character count is just one metric among many. Analyzing word count, sentence length, paragraph structure, and other components of your writing can provide a more comprehensive view of your work. Consider using the word count tool in conjunction with other features in OpenOffice, such as the spell check and grammar tools, to enhance the overall quality of your documents.

Also, don’t forget the practicality of shortcuts. For those who prefer using keyboard shortcuts, OpenOffice allows you to access the word count tool by pressing Ctrl+F12. This can speed up your workflow even further.


  1. Open your OpenOffice document.
  2. Click on ‘Tools’ then select ‘Word Count.’
  3. Check the ‘Characters’ section in the Word Count window for the total character count.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does OpenOffice count characters automatically as I type?

OpenOffice does not automatically display character count as you type, but you can quickly access the character count by using the word count tool or the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+F12.

Can I count characters in a selected portion of text?

Yes, you can count characters in a specific section of your document by highlighting the text and then accessing the word count tool. It will show you the character count for the selected text.

Is the character count in OpenOffice accurate for all languages?

The character count in OpenOffice is generally accurate for all languages that use a standard character set. However, for languages with different writing systems, it’s always good to double-check.

Can I use the character count feature in other OpenOffice applications like Calc or Impress?

The character count feature is specific to OpenOffice Writer. Other applications within the OpenOffice suite have different sets of tools tailored to their purposes.

Is there a way to display character count continuously as I write?

OpenOffice does not have a feature that continuously displays character count, but you can quickly access the count as often as needed using the word count tool or the shortcut.


Counting characters in your OpenOffice documents is a simple yet vital skill that can make a world of difference in your writing. Whether you’re adhering to character limits, optimizing for SEO, or aiming for brevity in your communication, knowing how to access and use the word count tool is key.

Remember, it’s not just about the number of characters; it’s about making each character count. So, go ahead and polish your OpenOffice proficiency by embracing this handy feature. Happy writing!

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