Word tracks certain summary information about documents, such as the number of words in a document. If you want to display the number of words contained in your document in the document itself that you can quickly update, this is easily accomplished.

To insert a word count in your document, place the cursor at the point in the document where you want to insert the word count and click the “Insert” tab.

In the “Text” section of the “Insert” tab, click the “Quick Parts” button. If your Word window is not wide enough to display “Quick Parts” next to the appropriate button, click the button with the icon to which the mouse cursor is pointing in the following image.

Select “Field” from the drop-down menu.

On the “Field” dialog box, select “Document Information” from the “Categories” drop-down box.

Click on “NumWords” in the “Field names” list on the left.

The “Format” and “Numeric format” lists allow you to specify the format for the field being inserted. However, for the number of words, you don’t need to apply any formatting so don’t select anything from those lists. Click “OK” to insert the field into the document.

The number of words in your document is inserted at the cursor. Once you add or delete words in your document, you can update the word count by right-clicking on the word count number, and selecting “Update Field” from the popup menu.

NOTE: When the cursor is in word count number, the number is highlighted in gray because the number is a field.

If you have other fields in your document you want to update, you can update all of them at once by pressing “Ctrl + A” to select the whole document (minus any headers, footers, footnotes, or endnotes) and then pressing “F9”. To update fields in headers, footers, footnotes, and endnotes, you must open those parts of the document and update the fields in them separately.

You can also insert other document properties into your Word document, including built-in and custom properties.

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Lori Kaufman is a technology expert with 25 years of experience. She's been a senior technical writer, worked as a programmer, and has even run her own multi-location business.
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