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How to Use Field Codes in MS Word to Create Word Counts

Have you ever been writing a document for your editor or boss and they request that you insert a word count? Today we take a look at how to do it using Field Codes in Word 2010.

Insert Word Count

You can use a field code to enter the current word count in a document, and it will continue to update as you add more to the document. To enter a Word count, make sure you have the cursor where you want the count to appear.

Then click the Insert tab on the Ribbon.

sshot-2010-09-21-[18-00-04]

Then in the Text group click on Quick Parts then Field.

sshot-2010-09-21-[17-58-29]

Now in the Field dialog box browse through the available fields you can add to your document. There are quite a few including Table of Contents, Bibliography, Time & Date…etc. Starting with a simple word count, will get you started with the basics and allow you to explore more field codes in the future.

sshot-2010-09-21-[18-06-17]

For this tutorial we’re going to insert a word count so under Field Names scroll down and select NumWords…

sshot-2010-09-21-[18-33-04]

Now you can choose the field properties and numeric format… but to keep it simple we will just go with the defaults.

sshot-2010-09-21-[18-35-24]

So here we can see that we have a word count of 1,232. Keep in mind you can put this anywhere in your document that you want. Here we put it under the title for instance because our Editor wants to know how many words are included. Then you can take it out easily with a highlight and delete.

sshot-2010-09-21-[19-03-50]

If you want to update the field, just go ahead and enter in your additional text and/ or finish off your document. Then you can update it easily by doing a right-click the number field and select update field.

sshot-2010-09-21-[19-27-51]

Here we added a couple more paragraphs and it updates accordingly.

sshot-2010-09-21-[19-28-16]

In the future we’ll be taking a closer look at more creative ways for using Field Codes in your documents. This will definitely get you started in using Field Codes in your documents in Word 2010.

What is your take? Do you or have you used Field Codes in MS Word in the past? Leave a comment and let us know tips and tricks you’ve used to create awesome documents.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 09/22/10

Comments (5)

  1. Thufir

    Talk about timing, I just had this issue yesterday. Now, is there any way to limit the word count to a section (I have multiple sections in a document and want section-based word counts)?

  2. michel

    As you can see from your own screenshot, Word displays the current word count in the status bar.

  3. Linda

    Hi – I use field codes quite a bit, but having a problem at the moment. Can you tell me how to use a REF code in a footer? In the document body I’m using a “ASK” and “REF” combination with no problem, but it won’t carry over to the footer. Can you help? Thanks.

  4. tom Sikora

    Yes, I use field codes all the time, especially DOCPROPERTY.

    I would appreciate some help, though, in adding to this custom code and changing values in WORD 2010.

  5. Muneer

    Hi,
    Thanks for a very useful topic. However, when I am trying to use this field it show 1526 characters while MS word count shows 1782 characters with spaces. why such inconsistency in there?

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