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Many writers need to keep track of word count, and Google Docs now makes it easy. In the fall of 2019, Google introduced a heavily requested feature in Docs that counts words on-screen as you type, similar to Microsoft Word. Here’s how to use it.

Click  “Tools” on the menu bar while editing a document and select “Word count”.

A menu will pop up on the screen that displays word count statistics. Click on the checkbox next to “Display word count while typing.”

Check the box next to Display word count while typing in Google Docs

Google Docs will display a live word count box in the lower-left corner of the document. It will automatically count the words as you type. Very handy.

You'll see a live word count in the lower left corner in Google Docs

Now, you officially have no excuse for coming in over (or under) your target. Editors of the world rejoice!

Before Google introduced this feature, you had to click Tools > Word Count every time you wanted to check the word count. That Word Count menu option still counts the number of pages and characters in the document, so it’s still useful.

RELATED: How to Find the Page and Word Count in Google Docs

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Benj Edwards is a former Associate Editor for How-To Geek. Now, he is an AI and Machine Learning Reporter for Ars Technica. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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