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10 Ways to Increase Your Essay Word Count (AI Included)

10 Ways to Increase Your Essay Word Count (AI Included)

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word count on essays

One of the biggest challenges students face is writing long-form essays of 2,000 words or more.

Someone brought this up at a recent webinar I attended, and I couldn't help but think back to my freshman year. Several years ago, I had to write a long essay on an interesting but unfamiliar subject. It took me a lot longer than it should.

After writing hundreds of articles, essays and reports, I've developed my own list of 'smart hacks' to help increase word count on any written piece. 

Instantly increase your word count with this FREE AI tool > Instantly increase your word count with this FREE AI tool >

Let's dive into the word count expansion strategies I use today when I write various texts.

How NOT to increase word count

Adding fluff words.

Adding meaningless words only confuses the core arguments and distracts the evaluator. Whatever merit your actual content may have had will be obscured by a mountain of meaningless words.

The sentence in my essay read,

"Violent acts by adults are often caused by childhood exposure to violence.".  

If I try to forcedly add fluff words to expand the text, my sentence would sound stretched:

“Violent acts are often associated with the fact that adults who commit violent acts - acts that are seen as savage, harsh, rough, physically abusive, or otherwise unacceptable in society - have been exposed to similar harsh or extreme violence during their childhoods or when they were young”.

Voice and tone

Although passive voice makes a sentence longer, I have found that my writing is much sharper when I use active voice. Also, do not confuse the need to use a formal or academic tone with passive voice.

Quoting without context

This one is like digging yourself into a hole. I quoted so many out-of-context references that I found my essay running on all sorts of tangents. After spending hours trying to connect the dots between the tangents, I ended up having to rewrite the entire piece because I was unable to justify the distracting content. 

Mindless paraphrasing

You hear it from your professor, and spew it back at her. Mindlessly repeating content in different sections of an essay - as if your teacher wouldn't notice, won't really help you ace your courses.

Even more mistakes

After asking some of my classmates, I found out that some of them had resorted to even worse hacks that eventually got them in trouble:

  • Using filler words - In order to fill more pages, some diverge from the specified format and increase fonts, margins, and spacing. You will lose credibility if you do this, and you will also lose points if you deviate from the writing style specified.
  • Plagiarism - Plagiarizing large chunks from others' essays or research papers was not only seen as lazy, but it was a fast way from a not-so-great grade to a failed grade.
  • Other sneaky tricks - These included whitening out gibberish text and increasing the size of periods. Teachers have seen it all and know every trick in the book.

The right way to increase word count

Eventually, my word count increased in a way that makes each word actually count (pardon the pun), and it turns out there are some pretty cool tricks to do that.

With the right tools and techniques, you spend less time on the heavy lifting, more time on the actual writing, and at the end of the day, you have a much more comprehensive essay that is a delight to read. 

1. Use an AI writing tool

Skip the manual paraphrasing and use a smart AI writing tool. For example, I added almost 50 words to a 125-word paragraph using Wordtune’s text expand feature .

word count on essays

How to add more sentences to a paragraph

One method to expand your word count is to find short paragraphs and adding more sentences that clarify what they mean. This task used to be pretty frustrating, but with the use of AI it's made simple. Start by going over the essay, and notice if there's a paragraph that stands out in terms of being lean and overly simplified. Paste that paragraph into the Wordtune editor, and click the 'Plus' icon.

word count on essays

You'll be able to expand the article in any number of ways, including adding a statistical fact, a joke, example, analogy, or a simple continuation of your idea. Then, simply scroll through the different suggestions that AI produces, and find the best one.

2. Take advantage of outlines

It may seem counter-intuitive, but completing your outline can help you meet your word count goal.

Say you need to turn a 200-word article into a 1,500-word essay. Make an outline of the article before trying to tackle this seemingly impossible task of writing the whole piece.This will give you a clearer picture of how your entire thesis works and how to logically support it.

As an example, suppose we're writing an essay on why kids shouldn't play phone games.

To begin, you need to summarize your message in a few sentences. For example:

‍ “Kids have susceptible brains, and games can change the whole chemistry of their brains in a bad way, causing them to go off on tantrums and screaming fits. Moreover, these games form addictive habits that will persist when the kids become older. By continuing to play phone games, the kids fail to develop emotionally, and may become unsocial introverted people. Moreover, there are signs that games make kids more violent and emotionally unstable. Since phones are always at reach, kids can continuously play throughout the day, not stopping even when eating lunch or when attending a school class.”

Before expanding it, write an outline to get a sense of its structure and flow. As a result, you can easily determine how much text is needed for each section, which ones require expanded text, and which ones can be kept brief.  This clarity not only helps me reduce anxiety, but also gives me a clear plan of action to finish this essay!

For example, for the paragraph on video games, my outline would look something like this:

Introduction (include statistics and research to argue that video games are harmful for kids) and state the thesis (250 words) Negative effects of video games on children: first build larger categories and then substantiate with smaller points, evidence and data within each point: - Effects on emotional development (200 words) - Effects on physical development (200 words) - Effects on social development (200 words) - Effects on intellectual development (200 words) Give counter-views Cite research that talks about potential positive effects of video games, if used the proper way and under supervision (250 words) Give solutions State why parents find it so hard to keep kids away from video games, especially mobile video games, and offer concrete solutions to set better boundaries with kids for video game usage (250 words) Conclusion Offer a strong conclusion that brings all of the essay together in a summary (250 words)

Note that I’ve planned to write a few hundred more words than the prescribed word limit, so I have scope to edit and tighten later on. 

3. Expand your text with intros and conclusions

I use this method all the time to get unstuck and write longer articles without worrying about word counts.

Let's say you finish expanding your outline, and the article is still short a few hundred words.

Two places you should consider expanding are the introduction and conclusion.

How does this work?

  • In the introduction and conclusion, you can add free-flowing stories, ideas and paragraphs, without having to validate each sentence with technical reference, sources and quotes.
  • You can use anecdotes, personal experiences, news articles, and research findings to introduce your topic, or to close it.
  • You can also go into detail about why you were motivated to explore the topic in more depth and why it has helped you to develop your argument. We wrote about essay hooks in more detail here, so be sure to check it out.
  • Remind readers why this entire argument matters at the human level in the conclusion. This is done by repeating the topic, the core of your argument, and why you have justified your thesis. 

Add these elements to your introduction and conclusion, and you will quickly reach your essay quota.

Here's an example from the Wordtune blog of an anecdote placed as part of the intro:

word count on essays

4. Use examples to illustrate your point

It is always helpful to provide examples to illustrate complex academic or technical points. As well as adding color and descriptiveness to your own words, examples help your arguments come to life in a way that academic writing cannot. Having read several essays about the same topic, your evaluator will probably find it enjoyable to read something more creative and genuine. 

Examples also help readers visualize your narrative. The situations can be real or imagined, but they must be authentic, relatable, and most importantly, relevant to your topic. Providing examples from your real-life experience will demonstrate to the teacher that you understand your topic.

I started this article by describing my experience as a freshman. The challenges I faced as a student are similar to those you are currently facing, so sharing my journey will help you learn from my mistakes.

5. Invest in serious research 

Research is the most effective way to increase a paper's word count. 

The more research you conduct, the more ideas, perspectives, and information you have to base your arguments on. 

Research takes time and effort, which you may or may not have. 

Here's where my smart tools come into play.

No matter how long a paper is, Wordtune Read will give you all the key highlights.

The following is a composite screenshot of how Wordtune Read summarized the effects of video games on children from a long and complex article. The key highlights on the right help you distill the core messages of the research in minutes, condensing hours of reading into minutes.

word count on essays

In just a few steps, you can add at least two supporting arguments or stats for each point you have in your outline. And just like that, you have several hundred very relevant words, added almost effortlessly to your essay.

6. Ask 'Why' questions

At this stage, the research has already provided you with some solid perspectives, but there's nothing like adding some original perspectives to the existing body of research. Asking ‘why’ questions is an effective way to do this. In addition to strengthening your arguments, it will also enhance your essay with relevant and original content.

Think back to the example of the negative effects of video games on children. Let's say one of the arguments you have is "phone games cause emotional issues". Use a series of 'why' questions to dig deeper into the text. 

Ask questions like: "why is that true?", "Why is it important?", etc. For each answer, ask another why question and develop some original angles based on the insights that may emerge. 

While it beats manual paraphrasing in terms of speed, I felt it also improved the overall quality of the writing.

7. Address the counter view

It's a foolproof way to score brownie points with tutors and also add some value - and word count - to your essay. 

Counter views or counterpoints are positions diametrically opposed to your own.

I argue, for example, that video games negatively affect children in the essay about video games. There is always some literature available (and there is always some literature available) on the counter-side of why and under what circumstances video games can actually have a positive impact on children. I am able to write a pretty solid section on that topic. 

By balancing the pros and cons of both arguments, I will also be able to bridge the two points of view.

Just like that, you've added about 200 words to your essay!

8. Use quotes and references

While the bibliography section doesn’t usually count towards the overall essay word count, there are some easy tricks you can use to maximize the references. Once you are done with the essay, run through your list of citations and find interesting quotes that you may have missed, which you can now incorporate.

word count on essays

9. Get feedback from a friend

If you're like me, working on the same essay for a long time with complete immersion means you develop blind spots to obvious misses and flaws in your text. This could be especially problematic for non-native English speakers .

Ask a trusted friend or peer to look over your essay again. Share your essay on Gdoc with your friends and find out if they spot something that seems missing, out of place, or that stands out like a sore thumb.

Also, ask them to question your assumptions in the essay - this may give you new angles and perspectives to explore, thus expanding the word count even further.

Your friends will help you find the problematic paragraphs in your writing and make them more concise and effective .

10. Add text while editing

Once you have finished writing your essay, you can use the review stage to edit and add text to your essay.

This is another great opportunity to use your AI writing tool, and get suggestions for ways to make your sentences more fluent . You can also replace superfluous words with stronger vocabulary, and pick alternative ways to word sentences that contain repetitive words.

Try and spot long, convoluted sentences and break them up to smaller sentences.

word count on essays

Keep it long and interesting

Essays that meet the prescribed criteria, including word count, indicate to your teachers that you not only possess subject matter knowledge, but also writing, grammar, logic, research, and communication skills.

You can find interesting angles even in the most mundane sounding topics if you challenge yourself to do the work and not worry too much about the word count. With the 11 smart hacks - including use of the smart writing tools - essay writing and meeting the specified word count becomes much easier! 

Learning how to expand a text in an interesting way - and not just by adding fluff - makes you a better writer regardless of the format - essays, reports, statements of purpose - even books! 

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How to Increase your Essay's Word Count

It happens. You pour your heart out to write the perfect college essay. You've included everything you could possibly think of in your work. Before you submit your magnificent piece of writing, you enter the essay into a word counter.

And there it is: You've come up short on your word count .

Using the right tool to measure your word count can ensure you

Whether it's a college application, a scholarship essay, or a report for class, word counts can be daunting sometimes. And when you come up short, there are solutions available to bulk up your writing.

This article will help you find ways to add to your word count without sacrificing on the quality of your work.

1. Know your Goal and How to Measure It Accurately

Is the requirement 800–1000 words? Is it 500 words maximum? Knowing the exact word goal is crucial when beginning to write, especially for something as important as a college entrance essay or a scholarship competition. Always be sure to read the detailed requirements for each assignment.

It's also important to use an accurate word counter for essays to calculate your word count. Find a reliable online tool to help you track your word count as you're working so you can have peace of mind that you're creating something that fits the requirements you've been given.

Once you've figured out what word count you're aiming for, it's common to look for some short cuts to help estimate your word count as you work. Some writers ask, " How many pages is 1,000 words? ". Although this varies with font type, font size, and spacing choices, generally speaking, double-spaced, typed fonts provide about 250 words per page.

Remember this is just a general rule. Always verify with a word counter before you submit a piece of writing such as a college essay.

2. Be Aware of What NOT To Do

When writers fall short of word counts, they sometimes add filler words that don't improve the quality of the writing at all. Adding pointless fillers will instead make the writing weaker.

Does the following sound familiar?

You add a few more random words, ask yourself, "How many words is this now?", check it in a word counter, and then repeat this process until you've reached the desired word count.

Though I've been guilty of this myself once or twice, this is NOT the way to properly bulk up your essay.

Being wordy in your writing does not make you appear more intelligent. If you start adding miscellaneous words to your essays, it becomes very, very, very, very obvious to your reader. (See what I did there?) It would be really, really redundant and repetitive and even more redundant to just add extra words that essentially mean the same thing. (See. I did it again.)

What you choose to add to your writing needs to be high quality and necessary. This next hint will help you add words that will enhance your writing instead of hurting it.

Adding random words will make writing weaker, so it

3. Reread Your Essay and Dig Deeper

There are many ways to add quality content to your essays that will increase your word count while still improving your work. Here are some ways to dig deeper into your writing:

Add More Details

Look for places where you might have been vague and clarify. Remember to always try to show—don't tell .

For example, let's say you previously wrote: "My feet were cold."

Can you show us "cold"? Perhaps add details to explain: "My toes were tingling and numb from the chilling, icy snow that was seeping into my tattered shoes."

These details add to your word count while painting a clear picture for your reader.

Offer an Example

If it's appropriate, offer an example.

In a college application essay, you might state, "I have won several awards." However, it's more powerful to provide an example of a specific award that has a deeper meaning: "Winning the most improved player award for volleyball was a proud moment for me. It celebrated how far I had come and how hard I had to work to become a better player for myself and my teammates."

Support Arguments with More Facts and Quotes

Find areas where you are trying to make a point, and back these statements up with more detail. Is there a quality fact you can add to support your case? Is there a great quote from an expert that will help? Adding more solid evidence to your argument can help make your opinion stronger and more supported.

Change Up Your Introduction and Conclusion

The beginning and end of your essay tend to be more flexible than the body. If you feel the body of your essay is already well-supported and doesn't need more information, perhaps it's time to rework the intro or the conclusion . Is there an interesting story you can tell? Is there a way to wrap things up that is more compelling and ties your thoughts together in a more coherent way?

4. Ask a Peer for Help

Sometimes we can't see the gaps in our own writing, so asking a friend to help out can be useful.

Have your friend read through your piece and ask him for feedback. What isn't clear? What needs more explanation? What other questions does he have for you?

These questions can help guide you to places where you can expand and provide more details.

Asking a friend to read over your work can help you identify places where you need to expand your writing.

Getting an accurate word count is important for writing college essays and qualifying for scholarship opportunities. But you shouldn't just add any words to help you meet the required length; instead, make sure you're adding quality words to balance essay length with essay quality.

Using the tips mentioned above, you will be on your way to adding the bulk you need to reach your word count and improving your writing by crafting more details and clarifications that will ultimately produce a better piece of writing.

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Don’t overlook the title and section headers when putting together your next writing assignment. Follow these pointers for keeping your writing organized and effective.

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Writing a Standout College Admissions Essay

Your personal statement is arguably the most important part of your college application. Follow these guidelines for an exceptional admissions essay.


Choose Your Test

Sat / act prep online guides and tips, the best college essay length: how long should it be.

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College Essays


Figuring out your college essay can be one of the most difficult parts of applying to college. Even once you've read the prompt and picked a topic, you might wonder: if you write too much or too little, will you blow your chance of admission? How long should a college essay be?

Whether you're a terse writer or a loquacious one, we can advise you on college essay length. In this guide, we'll cover what the standard college essay length is, how much word limits matter, and what to do if you aren't sure how long a specific essay should be.

How Long Is a College Essay? First, Check the Word Limit

You might be used to turning in your writing assignments on a page-limit basis (for example, a 10-page paper). While some colleges provide page limits for their college essays, most use a word limit instead. This makes sure there's a standard length for all the essays that a college receives, regardless of formatting or font.

In the simplest terms, your college essay should be pretty close to, but not exceeding, the word limit in length. Think within 50 words as the lower bound, with the word limit as the upper bound. So for a 500-word limit essay, try to get somewhere between 450-500 words. If they give you a range, stay within that range.

College essay prompts usually provide the word limit right in the prompt or in the instructions.

For example, the University of Illinois says :

"You'll answer two to three prompts as part of your application. The questions you'll answer will depend on whether you're applying to a major or to our undeclared program , and if you've selected a second choice . Each response should be approximately 150 words."

As exemplified by the University of Illinois, the shortest word limits for college essays are usually around 150 words (less than half a single-spaced page). Rarely will you see a word limit higher than around 650 words (over one single-spaced page). College essays are usually pretty short: between 150 and 650 words. Admissions officers have to read a lot of them, after all!


Weigh your words carefully, because they are limited!

How Flexible Is the Word Limit?

But how flexible is the word limit? What if your poignant anecdote is just 10 words too long—or 100 too short?

Can I Go Over the Word Limit?

If you are attaching a document and you need one or two extra words, you can probably get away with exceeding the word limit by such a small amount. Some colleges will actually tell you that exceeding the word limit by 1-2 words is fine. However, I advise against exceeding the word limit unless it's explicitly allowed for a few reasons:

First, you might not be able to. If you have to copy-paste it into a text box, your essay might get cut off and you'll have to trim it down anyway.

If you exceed the word limit in a noticeable way, the admissions counselor may just stop reading your essay past that point. This is not good for you.

Following directions is actually a very important part of the college application process. You need to follow directions to get your letters of recommendation, upload your essays, send supplemental materials, get your test scores sent, and so on and so forth. So it's just a good general rule to follow whatever instructions you've been given by the institution. Better safe than sorry!

Can I Go Under the Word Limit?

If you can truly get your point across well beneath the word limit, it's probably fine. Brevity is not necessarily a bad thing in writing just so long as you are clear, cogent, and communicate what you want to.

However, most college essays have pretty tight word limits anyways. So if you're writing 300 words for an essay with a 500-word limit, ask yourself: is there anything more you could say to elaborate on or support your points? Consult with a parent, friend, or teacher on where you could elaborate with more detail or expand your points.

Also, if the college gives you a word range, you absolutely need to at least hit the bottom end of the range. So if you get a range from the institution, like 400-500 words, you need to write at least 400 words. If you write less, it will come across like you have nothing to say, which is not an impression you want to give.


What If There Is No Word Limit?

Some colleges don't give you a word limit for one or more of your essay prompts. This can be a little stressful, but the prompts generally fall into a few categories:

Writing Sample

Some colleges don't provide a hard-and-fast word limit because they want a writing sample from one of your classes. In this case, a word limit would be very limiting to you in terms of which assignments you could select from.

For an example of this kind of prompt, check out essay Option B at Amherst :

"Submit a graded paper from your junior or senior year that best represents your writing skills and analytical abilities. We are particularly interested in your ability to construct a tightly reasoned, persuasive argument that calls upon literary, sociological or historical evidence. You should NOT submit a laboratory report, journal entry, creative writing sample or in-class essay."

While there is usually no word limit per se, colleges sometimes provide a general page guideline for writing samples. In the FAQ for Option B , Amherst clarifies, "There is no hard-and-fast rule for official page limit. Typically, we anticipate a paper of 4-5 pages will provide adequate length to demonstrate your analytical abilities. Somewhat longer papers can also be submitted, but in most cases should not exceed 8-10 pages."

So even though there's no word limit, they'd like somewhere in the 4-10 pages range. High school students are not usually writing papers that are longer than 10 pages anyways, so that isn't very limiting.

Want to write the perfect college application essay?   We can help.   Your dedicated PrepScholar Admissions counselor will help you craft your perfect college essay, from the ground up. We learn your background and interests, brainstorm essay topics, and walk you through the essay drafting process, step-by-step. At the end, you'll have a unique essay to proudly submit to colleges.   Don't leave your college application to chance. Find out more about PrepScholar Admissions now:

Implicit Length Guideline

Sometimes, while there's no word (or even page) limit, there's still an implicit length guideline. What do I mean by this?

See, for example, this Western Washington University prompt :

“Describe one or more activities you have been involved in that have been particularly meaningful. What does your involvement say about the communities, identities or causes that are important to you?”

While there’s no page or word limit listed here, further down on page the ‘essay tips’ section explains that “ most essay responses are about 500 words, ” though “this is only a recommendation, not a firm limit.” This gives you an idea of what’s reasonable. A little longer or shorter than 500 words would be appropriate here. That’s what I mean by an “implicit” word limit—there is a reasonable length you could go to within the boundaries of the prompt.


But what's the proper coffee-to-paragraph ratio?

Treasure Hunt

There is also the classic "treasure hunt" prompt. No, it's not a prompt about a treasure hunt. It's a prompt where there are no length guidelines given, but if you hunt around on the rest of the website you can find length guidelines.

For example, the University of Chicago provides seven "Extended Essay" prompts . You must write an essay in response to one prompt of your choosing, but nowhere on the page is there any guidance about word count or page limit.

However, many colleges provide additional details about their expectations for application materials, including essays, on FAQ pages, which is true of the University of Chicago. On the school’s admissions Frequently Asked Questions page , they provide the following length guidelines for the supplemental essays: 

“We suggest that you note any word limits for Coalition or Common Application essays; however, there are no strict word limits on the UChicago Supplement essays. For the extended essay (where you choose one of several prompts), we suggest that you aim for around 650 words. While we won't, as a rule, stop reading after 650 words, we're only human and cannot promise that an overly wordy essay will hold our attention indefinitely. For the “Why UChicago?” essay, we suggest about 250-500 words. The ideas in your writing matter more than the exact number of words you use!”

So there you go! You want to be (loosely) in the realm of 650 for the extended essay, and 250-500 words for the “Why UChicago?” essay.

Help! There Really Is No Guidance on Length

If you really can't find any length guidelines anywhere on the admissions website and you're at a loss, I advise calling the admissions office. They may not be able to give you an exact number (in fact, they probably won't), but they will probably at least be able to tell you how long most of the essays they see are. (And keep you from writing a panicked, 20-page dissertation about your relationship with your dog).

In general, 500 words or so is pretty safe for a college essay. It's a fairly standard word limit length, in fact. (And if you're wondering, that's about a page and a half double-spaced.) 500 words is long enough to develop a basic idea while still getting a point across quickly—important when admissions counselors have thousands of essays to read!


"See? It says 500 words right there in tiny font!"

The Final Word: How Long Should a College Essay Be?

The best college essay length is usually pretty straightforward: you want to be right under or at the provided word limit. If you go substantially past the word limit, you risk having your essay cut off by an online application form or having the admissions officer just not finish it. And if you're too far under the word limit, you may not be elaborating enough.

What if there is no word limit? Then how long should a college essay be? In general, around 500 words is a pretty safe approximate word amount for a college essay—it's one of the most common word limits, after all!

Here's guidance for special cases and hunting down word limits:

If it's a writing sample of your graded academic work, the length either doesn't matter or there should be some loose page guidelines.

There also may be implicit length guidelines. For example, if a prompt says to write three paragraphs, you'll know that writing six sentences is definitely too short, and two single-spaced pages is definitely too long.

You might not be able to find length guidelines in the prompt, but you could still hunt them up elsewhere on the website. Try checking FAQs or googling your chosen school name with "admissions essay word limit."

If there really is no word limit, you can call the school to try to get some guidance.

With this advice, you can be sure you've got the right college essay length on lockdown!


Hey, writing about yourself can even be fun!

What's Next?

Need to ask a teacher or friend for help with your essay? See our do's and dont's to getting college essay advice .

If you're lacking in essay inspiration, see our guide to brainstorming college essay ideas . And here's our guide to starting out your essay perfectly!

Looking for college essay examples? See 11 places to find college essay examples and 145 essay examples with analysis !

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points?   We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download them for free now:

Ellen has extensive education mentorship experience and is deeply committed to helping students succeed in all areas of life. She received a BA from Harvard in Folklore and Mythology and is currently pursuing graduate studies at Columbia University.

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The Write Practice

3 Easy-to-Use Tools to Count Your Words

by Joe Bunting | 38 comments

So you need to get a word count for the latest chapter of your novel or an essay assignment for school ? Don't worry, here are three easy-to-use tools to count your words.

3 Tools to Count Your Words

Need to get a word count on your latest writing project? Here are three tools that can help.

Why Count Words?

If you're an experienced writer, this might already be obvious to you. However, if you're new to writing, you need to know that keeping track of your word count is a central habit of a writer.

You count words for two main reasons.

1. Because Publishers Count Words

In school, writing assignments are usually measured by page length (e.g. please turn in a three-page essay on Jane Austen's use of satire in Emma by Friday ).

However, measuring by page-length is inaccurate and, in many cases, unhelpful. Font, spacing, and formatting changes can alter the number of pages, and if you're writing a newspaper, magazine, or book, the pages will be in a variety of different sizes anyway. Measuring by word count, on the other hand, is consistent.

Furthermore, publishers often pay on a per-word basis, and so it makes sense for professional writers to keep track of how many words they write.

But what if you're not a professional writer? Why should you count words then?

2. Counting Words Can Motivate You

Many famous writers have kept daily word count goals. Ernest Hemingway is reported to have written 500 words per day. Stephen King writes 2,000 words per day, even on holidays. Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope wrote 3,000 words per day.

Setting a daily word count goal can inspire you.

One of the best known word count goals is  NaNoWriMo (or National Novel Writing Month). Every November, thousands of writers challenge themselves to write 50,000 words in a month (that's 1,667 words per day, by the way).

Another resource for writers is my friend Jeff Goins' 500 Words a Day Challenge , which is a 31-day writing challenge that over a thousand writers have participated in.

3 Tools to Count Words

How do you keep an accurate word count?

1. Count Words With Microsoft Word

The most-widely used word processor makes it easy to count your words.

On Windows , there are two ways to see the word count. On the Review tab, just next to Spelling and Grammar Check, and on the home ribbon beside the page number.

Count Words Microsoft Word

On Mac , you can find the word count under Tools -> Word Count.

Word Count shorcut

2. Take Word Counts to the Next Level With Scrivener

While Microsoft Word is a decent word processor for writing essays and articles, if you're writing a novel or book, you need a more powerful tool.

Scrivener  is a perfect tool for finding your word count because it not only keeps your word count visible, it allows you to track your daily word count and the word count for your entire project. You can learn more about Scrivener on our review here .

Count Words with Scrivener - Word Count Targets

In Scrivener, you can set the project targets to your daily word count and track your progress. Also, notice the word count visible at the bottom of the application.

3. A Fast, Online Word Counter

If you don't have access to either of these tools, you can find, free online word counters. One of the best, in my opinion, is  WordCounter.net .

WordCounter.net - Word Counter

Word Counter is a free, online word count tool.

Challenge Yourself to Write 1,000 Words Today

These tools can change your life.

How would your life be different if you challenged yourself to write 1,000 words a day? ( Share that challenge on Twitter )

Even if you took the weekends off, in just a month, you would have 22,000 words. In six months, you would have written 132,000 words, easily enough for a long novel. After the first year, you could have written  two  books.

It starts by taking just a few seconds to track your words.

Do you have a daily word count goal? What is it?

Write 1,000 words today. Keep track using one of the tools above.

When you're finished, share your best 250 words in the comments section below . And if you share, please be sure to give feedback on a few practices by other writers.

How to Write Like Louise Penny

Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris , a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

Want best-seller coaching? Book Joe here.

Top 150 Short Story Ideas


Miriam N

I participated In NaNoWriMo myself. My novel concluded before I reached the word count but it was still a great experience. I’ll have to post my practice later when I have time. (WOOT FIRST COMMENT)

Joe Bunting

Nice, Miriam. That’s a huge accomplishment. Also, way to get in first! 🙂


The following is EXACTLY 250 words:

I never lied before I worked here. It started with little comments, like telling a caller the boss, Robert, wasn’t in, when he was on a personal call. Next I found myself assuring a caller that our Director of Marketing had sent out the requested materials the previous Friday, when in fact Hannah had returned from lunch drunk, passed out in the lobby, and we called her husband and told him to take her home.

People tell you, “The watched pot never boils”, meaning some things happen so imperceptibly, that if you dedicate yourself to watching for the smallest advance, you’ll never see it. The lesson, I suppose, is that it won’t do any good to watch a process too closely, as there is nothing to see.

I wonder if maybe people are getting this lesson backwards. If something can happen slowly and nearly undetectably to the naked eye, then shouldn’t we watch it very, very vigilantly, to catch it before it boils over? That’s how the lying exploded. Over time Robert and Hannah escalated their expectations of us, that we say any damn thing they wanted us to say, to get them out of their chronic bungling.

That is how, today, I found myself insisting to that nice man, Tom Contreras, that Robert could not meet with him. I gave him my best “trust me, would I lie to you” smile, and convinced him he had made a grievous error, and his appointment had been for the prior day.

Diane Turner

This is so true. After a while and after being asked to do it over and over, we are able to block even the slightest twinge of guilt. I like your line: …trust me, would I lie to you. Nice piece.

Thank you 😉

Wow this is so good, Avril. I loved the way you combine story with psychological observation so deftly. And I really like the way you bring us into the lives of these characters so completely in just a few paragraphs. Great job!

Thank you for the compliment and encouragement Joe.

Wow this is really good Avril. I love the way it sounds when I read it. Great job!

Thank you Miriam. The feedback from you and Joe today is especially helpful as I hone in on my “voice.”

It is only 811 words. Hope that’s enough. Thanks for yet another great prompt.

2012 Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz, California, is a tri-era promenade: pre-earthquake, early post-quake, and now. Something to note as you look up and down the stretches of the Pacific Garden Mall. Parts of each era remain and shoulder up, intermingled and interwoven, in a strange dichotomy of style and sensibilities, palpable to six senses – senses that must include “feel.” Before the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, old family businesses struggled against a fluctuating economy and decay – Leask’s, Ford’s, the stately Cooper House, the Hihn Building – only to disappear into quake rubble and oblivion. From the earthquake ruins, the silent overgrown lots have slowly and painfully risen, Phoenix-like, to house modern replicas and buildings, saved from demolition, clothed in new paint, giving concrete testament to the power of Mother Nature’s onslaught.

It looks somewhat new, somewhat tidy, with new business owners, full of dreams, bringing new energy, unaware of the strange angles. It’s all here, the very Gen X storefronts of The Gap, Border’s, Starbuck’s, Cinema 9 and the upper-storied upper-classed condos to old fringe establishments – Logo’s, The Avenue Bar, Book Shop Santa Cruz – and the eminent Santa Cruz elder statesmen – Del Williams, The Del Mar Theater, The Palomar Hotel, Annieglass. The sun has slipped below the rooflines of the Cooper House across the street, giving the street a bluish cast, and the wind swirls, scuttling the dry leaves of late summer and wafting in the briny smell of the sea.

From my vantage perched high on a coffee shop stool, I pull on my sweater and watch and reflect. While much has changed in the last twenty-four years, much remains the same in this funny, strangely odd little place on Planet Earth. The city fathers have looked to upscale the look of this funky street, yet the fringe folks looking for attention or a handout – homeless street people, mentally ill who have slipped through the cracks, angry young people, savvy panhandlers – remain entrenched, some living in alleyways, doorways, and the lush underbrush of this tourist mecca by night and by day claiming a butt-sized patch of sidewalk. With hats and instrument cases open wide, ragged street musicians, some phenomenally talented troupes of drummers from some other cultures and guitar players belting protest songs, stake out street corners and make this city inhale and exhale. I remember the tiny ancient fiddler who played off-key, who died last year, and I wonder about the strange man in the pink tutu and tights, with matching umbrella, who, in scuffed ballet shoes, shuffled up and down the sidewalk in slow motion, his gaze unwavering, daring you to look away first.

Fast forward to today. September 2014. Border’s is no longer. Forever 21, in eight-foot letters, is now emblazoned on the storefront. Del Williams Jewelry is but a memory. They were always able to locate the elusive replacement for broken treasures. Other business, too, are no longer a presence on the Garden Mall promenade. The economy has taken its toll here and everywhere. Starbuck’s and Peet’s, along with some local coffee beaneries, have customers bulging from their sticky doors, while the protesters of conditions and wages sport signs outside. The pan-handlers still hassle the diners who shovel in ethnic foods served in sidewalk cafes. The street musicians remain, despite the white-washed façade put on the buildings rimming the street, and they produce some of the best music you’ll hear. Life vibrates through the tree-named streets that surround the Garden Mall – Cedar, Walnut, Laurel – despite the few empty lots of weeds as tall as a man dotted here and there. Life vibrates and hums. The young people gather and spill into surf shops that tout the best wetsuits, the most chic attire. Cinema 9 has eleven screens, and on opening nights lines run around the corner and past the ATM machines for Bay Federal Credit Union. Yes, life’s heart still beats here.

A few feet from my perch sits a young woman, maybe 19 or so, a street person, asking passersby for spare change. Her voice is harsh, and she barks a “fuck you” to a man who spat some words at her. Hunched against the late afternoon chill and the taunt tossed from his retreating lips, she leans against the building and sucks in a sigh, herself complicit in his response. She knows it.

When she arrived here, she was undoubtedly full of dreams, as all those absent business owners must have been, too. Once optimism must have burned in her eager heart, as she made plans for a future here. Perhaps it still does, but it has burrowed itself deep inside, for time on the streets changes people, even the young ones. She’s alone, and, as night begins to fall in a strange town, I wonder if she feels the bony edges of fear.

I stuff my notebook in my bag, curl my hands around the steaming paper, and wander into the crowd.

Gosh Diane, this piece so effectively evokes that funky seaside town (I know, I’ve been there). This is nicely nuanced, you’ve drawn the personality of the neighborhood, how it looks and how it feels at street level. I’m familiar with the denizens already. I mean this ad a compliment, that it reminds me of one of my faves, Cannery Row by Steinbeck. Oh and the guy in the tutu, he’s from Fairfax.


Thank you, Avril, for reading my too many words and your kind words. Sorry. I didn’t read the instructions thoroughly. I am so happy that you know this little burg and recognize some of the landmarks. Fairfax? Really? We would always look for him when we fofund ourselves at the Garden Mall. Too funny. Again, thank you for reading.

Thank you, Avril, for taking the time to read my way-too-many-word piece and for your kind words. Next time I will read the instructions more carefully. I’m happy you recognized some of the landmarks of this little burg. It’s an interesting place, a place that engages all the senses. Fairfax? Really? My husband and I used to look for him every time we found ourselves on the Garden Mall. Again, thank you.


This place is not so much about the rules Diane, but about the encouragement to write. Writing more is always a good thing if you are on a roll! We’re glad you shared.

Adelaide Shaw

Very well done! Your description of the town, the people, the changes, everything create a living, moving video in my mind. I feel as if i’ve just been there myself. Adelaide

Thank you, Adelaide. I’m happy you were able to visit here for a little while. It’s a special place.

You’re a very good writer, Diane. The description here is perfect. I bet you had a lot of fun writing this!

I did have fun writing it, Joe, but it brought back a lot of unfun memories. Thank you for your encouraging words and for this wonderful site.

Wow amazing Diane. I could feel and see everything you described. Based off of this I feel that you’re going to be a great writer. Keep up the great work!

Thank you so much for your kind words, Miriam, and for taking the time to read the piece.

You made me feel as if I’d like to go there and experience it for myself. Vivid descriptions and emotions draw you in.


PI glazed my fingers over the peeling yellow with time flower wallpaper. My footsteps echoed though the enpty halls as the dust lifted from the ground. Silence filled the air one I would find at an funeral,quiet from neglect as if it was hiding a burning hatred for what I had did.

Rain slid down the clouded window pane and the pit pat in the roof sent a eiree chill down your spine. Memories followed my though the house as I breathed in the rich earthy smell of mothballs. Those memories wandered next to me hoping for me to look at them just to catch a fleeting look, toopen up the vault which I had buried them in.

This once was my childhood home where I spent long days and cold nights curled up asleep on my bed with dreams leading me into a false sense of security.

I took one last look around and shut the chipping word door. I sprinkled the last of the gasonle and struck a match, soon the house set fire, the flames licking the night sky as the stars twinkled in the inky blackness as the fire crackled from the heat.

I sat back a blank expression on my face.

“That’s finally done.” I said. I started walking with the embers glowing brightly behind me casting shadows.

Now I know that is part of a good story. Nice twist to start off visiting the childhood home, then burn it down.

This needs some cleaning up for spelling and grammar (for a practice this is fine though), but I loved the way you evoked sensual details as the character paces through the house. There’s a lot going on here, and like Avril said, this seems like a small piece of a promising story. Well done!

Nice job Chloee. I’m intrigued as to where this will go next. Keep up the good work!

It holds my interest as to why she sets fire to her childhood home? What bad memories are hidden there? Like Joe pointed out. it needs careful editing for mistakes. Adelaide

Alright. So a few practices ago I posted about Angela.(the post “You Need to Ask this Question Every Time You Sit Down To Write” specifically) This is a continuation of that post. Here is my 250 words.

Groggy, disoriented, confused, I slowly awoke to my surroundings. The first thing that I became aware of was the pounding pain pushing through my skull. Questions like: Where am I? What happened? Why can’t I move? Rose in my mind.

I opened my eyes to closer examine my surroundings. The ceiling was bare cement and seemed to animate cold to the very marrow of my bones. I tried to move my head to look at the walls but found it fixed in place. Panic slowly began to rise within me like a poison. Slowly I began to remember what happened until it came back in a rush. My apartment, escape, Andrew, the emerald. Where is the emerald! Came my panicked thought.

Frantically I looked around the room with my eyes but came upon nothing. Calm down Angela think this through. No need to lose control. I thought about that night. Where had the emerald been then? In my desk… until I put it on. My eyes drifted to my chest in hopes of seeing it there. It was gone.

My alarm began to rise again as did my scolding thoughts. Angela you idiot! You should’ve left the emerald in its holding spot but no you had to be noble and put it on. Just then the door opened.

“Ah you’re awake.” Came Andrew’s voice. He walked to a chair somewhere behind me and, by the sound of it, took out a pen and paper. “Now to business. Where is the emerald?”

I didn’t know what I was going to write about when I began, but I was in our local diner so I began about a waitress. I don’t know if I did a 1,000 words because I write on a yellow pad and haven’t transcribed it all yet. This is as much as I’ve typed so far, about 350 words.

Edna knew her customers. She had been waitressing at the Loganville diner for 20 years, and she had served many of the customers for the same 20 years. They had grown old together. Some had died during those years; some had been born.

When Bob died Edna had taken stock of her situation: two children married, one grandchild and another expected, living miles away, an old house paid for, a small pension from Bob’s union, a moderate savings account, the interest of which she and Bob never touched.

“Let it grow,” Bob had said. When I’m gone you will need the interest to supplement my pension.”

Edna could have used the interest now, but Bob’s voice came back to her in those few weeks right after he died. “Let it grow.” So, she did and got a job at the diner.

“I never waitressed before,” she had told Fonda, the owner, “but I’m strong and a hard worker.


Edna almost heard the wheels spinning in his head as Fonda Metatakis thought it over. “Can you operate a cash register? They’re all computerized now.”

“I can use a computer, and I’m a quick learner.”

“Well… O.K. Part time to start, one to five in the afternoons at first, then maybe later full time.”

Edna suspected he gave her the job because Bob had died. Everyone in town knew it. Bob was always talking to people whether he knew them or not. and, if he didn’t, he soon did. Fonda probably thought she needed the money. She did, but it wasn’t until after she had asked for the job did she really know why. She would use this money for living expenses, as little as possible, and add the rest to her savings as a legacy for her grandchildren.

It was something she used to fantasize about when she was a child–a legacy left by some unknown relative or stranger because she had done a good deed. For a time she had gone out of her way to help strangers even if they really didn’t need it.

“Thank you Dear, but I can carry this package. It was kind of you to offer.”

It hadn’t been easy, but now and then her help had been accepted. she made sure to tell them her name and to get theirs. For years she had checked the obituaries regularly. Adelaide

I’m starting to think of all the other little stories she has been a part of over the years and what happens next. I enjoyed reading it Adelaide

Thank you, Ann. Adelaide

Jackie Houchin

I like Edna. I wish I knew what was going to happen with her legacy she’d built up. A very interesting teaser, Adelaide.

Debra johnson

As I read this I could picture the diner the regulars went to in my home town… Everyone knew everyone and came to tell stories and have coffee and breakfast. It would be interesting to see what some of the stories Edna had heard over the many years she had worked there.

R.w. Foster

When I get in the zone, I write 1,000 words in two hours. Most of the time, i’m procrastinating, so it’s usually 250 a day.

Harry Nguyen

I use the tool http://wordcounttools.com and it works like a charm. Would you please help readers to revise the article and put it in?


If somebody is looking for reliable and new service for counting, I would suggest countwordsfree.com as the one to be look at. Stop words exclusion and original text pre-processing as well as possibility to load and save the text from/into file makes this portal universal and quite useful for writers and seo specialists.


image finding Pasteur here, away from my wall…………………………………

Pills and pigs – here’s my excerpt. 27 minutes to free-write 1067 words.

“Okay, there is this new pill out,” he said, “barely fresh from clinical trials. It’s a calming pick-me-upper. It works I’m told very well for people like you, although I don’t know anyone personally yet. You will be the first. And there are a few side effects. Want to be a guinea pig?

Well, sure, why not. What did I have to lose for a month’s free supply? The possibility of becoming an actual pig? Yep, that’s what the bottle says. But, hey, who are they fooling, how does a human become an animal? Besides, the results, they were glowing to say the least.

One day later. So I took the first pill – pink and round – upon rising as prescribed. By noon I seemed to have more energy than usual. I took a 3 mile walk on my lunch break. Feeling good! I had a bit more of an appetite that night, but I figured I must have walked off a gazillion calories at noon, so I could afford an extra serving of buttered cornbread with my five-meat chili.

One week later. Wow, I’m cruising in high gear There’s no end to my energy. I rise, take a pink pill – have a little burp. Did I tell you they make me burp? They do, but no problem, I cover my mouth. Today however, the burp tasted good. Like the fried chicken I had last night. I tried to burp again, but couldn’t. But I definitely had fried chicken on my mind when I went to work.

Tinthia Clemant

I’m ready. Let’s do this!!!


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Students’ best word counter tool

Use Word Counter Tool to Count Number of Characters, Words, Sentences, and Paragraphs in the Text

Type your text directly into our tool or copy and paste it

The system automatically counts all the symbols

Get complete info about the number of words and characters in your paper

What is the online word counter?

The count of words is a vital metric to track in a variety of situations. It plays a huge role in essays and other academic papers. At the same time, word count is vital in some professional writing fields, such as publishing, advertising, and legal proceedings. It becomes especially important when the text is meant for Google Ads, social media, apps, Google meta titles and descriptions, and other cases when certain word count limitations apply. The word counter online by Studyfy is a free tool designed to help you calculate the count of words in your documents. Also, it can help you define the number of paragraphs, sentences, letters, and characters. And the best part of it is that there are absolutely no limitations on the number of attempts or words you can count with our tool!

word count on essays

What makes Studyfy word counter tool the best?

Our tool is the best choice for students and professionals due to the intuitiveness, user-friendliness, high speed, and accuracy. See other advantages of our tool.

Free word counter & no sign up

How often do you decide to use a free tool and stumble upon a long and tedious registration process? Forget about this with Studyfy! Our tool is free and you can use it without registration.

Fast speed & ease of use

The two most significant pros of our online tool are that it works fast and is super intuitive in use. All you need is to paste or type your text into the box and click the button. And that’s all, only a few simple steps!

One tool to calculate everything you need

Students, writers, bloggers, and other professionals who have to deal with certain word counts, will find all metrics they need in our tool. Although it is called a word calculator, it can also help you define the number of characters, sentences, and paragraphs. It is one tool for multiple purposes!

Free features

Service that helps make your papers perfect.

Studyfy is your perfect destination for flawless texts! With a dedicated team of qualified essay editors and proofreaders, we offer art essay writing service , philosophy essay writing (including " write my philosophy essay " requests), term paper writing , and nursing essay writing . Our experts are always ready to proofread and edit your works, helping you with your homework and leaving a lasting impression on your professor. Don't hesitate to rely on Studyfy for all your academic writing needs!

How does online word counter tool work?

Insert the text.

Type your text in the box of our tool or simply paste it. You can use our tool for your essay and any other type of text, with no word or other limitations.

Real-time results

You don't need to click any buttons since our tool works on a real-time basis. It will give you instantaneous results.

Get your words counted

Get a report on the number of words, and characters both with and without spaces, sentences, and paragraphs!

Tell Us Your Instructions

Who is our text word counter designed for?

Bloggers and marketing specialists, students and teachers, content writers, other users, our customer reviews.

Thousands of users have already tested our top word counter tool for academic, professional, and personal purposes and loved it thanks to a high speed, user-friendliness, and other pros. Here’s what they say:

I prefer to write essays by my own. And it always need to be the right lenght by words and by paragraphs.This tool helps a lot in such case: here is everything I need calculated in one click.

It helped me to be more productive in writing papers as a freelancer at my free time out of studying. It very quick and simple with everything that is needed to be in such tool.

I use it regularly for my papers, and this is free and really good! Thank you guys, I start writing papers quicker since I started using Studyfy!

Great tool! It calculate everything counts everything in the blink of an eye! I tried a lot of such services before I've find this one. The tool I’ve tried so far!

Frequently asked questions

Is it really free, will i see the characters count with or without spaces, how many times can i use your tool without registration, will it count the sentences or paragraphs, get the most out of studyfy essay word counter.

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Word Counter: Fast and Easy

Enter (by typing directly or using copy paste) your text and find out how many words and characters it contains.

Why would you need an online word counter?

Online word counters are a perfect tool for anyone who needs to keep a count of their words and characters, but doesn’t use Microsoft Word. Imagine writing a piece and having to manually count the words! Not only will it take forever, but there’s a chance you won’t be wholly accurate.

This tool is also a good way to assess your words per minute typing rate. Simply time yourself timing for five minutes. Type into the box on the online word counter. When the time is up, divide your total word count by five, and you have your average words per minute rate.

How is our tool different from the other word counters?

All word counting is made on the go, there is no need to press any "submit" buttons to make the calculation and therefore no time is lost for this procedure. You can type the text and instantly see how many words you got so far. Also, we do not store any information that is typed or pasted in the word counting box.

Whom is this word counting tool for?

  • Bloggers/Content Writers

You could be writing an article for someone else where the word count is important, but even if it’s for your own site, this tool can be fantastic for your SEO. For example, the body of text should be a minimum of 300 words, and the title should be less than 70 characters to rank effectively.

  • Students/Teachers

As a student, you will often be expected to write assignments with specific word counts. Although a bit of leeway is usually given, if you are well off the count either way, you could lose marks. What a waste of you time and effort! Also, you may find it extremely useful to use professional writing help from custom writing services such as Academized that offers one of the best write my essay services you can find on the Web. This will come in hand in case you are required to write a really difficult assignment.

As a lecturer, you can use this tool to ensure your students’ assignments are the correct length.

In many work places, you will be expected to write pieces of certain lengths at times, for example, lawyers, secretaries etc.

© EasyWordCount.com, 2024

Word Counter

How to use our word counter.

Start by entering text into the text-box above. The word count above the text-box will automatically display the count as you type!

If you want to copy the text in the text-box, simply hit the green "Copy Text" button.

Additional metrics include words per sentence, syllables per word, words per paragraph, letters per word, unique words, pages (based on an average page count of 250 words) and a character count .

The Importance of Word Count in Writing

Writing in any genre or format comes with considerations that can add or detract from its effectiveness.

One of those considerations that's not given much thought in many formats is word count. Among the many reasons it's often overlooked is that it can be troublesome to meet a specified count, both having too many words or having enough words.

Here, we'll explain why word count is important in many writing pursuits. We'll discuss problems you may encounter in meeting a specific word count, offer some helpful suggestions and point out possible pitfalls.

Last, but far from least, we'll take a look at how your writing tools and word counters may help you keep track.

Why Word Count Matters

If you're working as a content writer, you're probably used to seeing a word count specified with most jobs you're assigned or might apply for. It's often expressed as a range, to give the writer some "wiggle room", but the requirement may also be specific. Either way, you'll need to meet that requirement if you want to be paid for the project.

If you're not "working for hire", it may surprise you to know that word count can also have a profound effect on what you write for yourself, from articles to promote your business, to academic papers, to short stories, novels and even poetry.

Let's look, first, at some of the reasons for word count requirements that tend to be common across different formats.

SEO: If you're not familiar with Search Engine Optimization, you probably haven't been writing for the digital marketing industry.

Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and a myriad of others became one of the cornerstones of the industry long ago, for one simple reason: They enabled internet users to find your articles, based on things like keyword placement and density, titles, headings and – you guessed it: word count.

Interestingly enough, SEO concepts are based on some of the most basic reasons why word count is important, so rather than go into a detailed explanation, let's look at those reasons.

Reader attention span: Whether you're writing to entertain, inform, sell, or "all of the above", you have a limited time to capture and hold the attention of your audience. Among other things, this is one of the reasons books are written in chapters.

Space requirements: When writing for shared publications, digital or analog, you'll often have a word limit to allow for other stories, articles, etc.

Micro-fiction: For an author of fictional stories, this genre is a fun challenge. It involves telling a complete story in a very limited number of words.

Efficiency: Though somewhat based on attention span, it's often necessary to condense complex ideas into fewer words. This can come into play in academic research papers and essays.

In fact, it's often exactly what an assignment is meant to teach. Expressing yourself succinctly is a valuable skill.

Contest requirements: When writing for competitions, (such as essay contests, poem contests, short story contests, etc.) word count will almost always be specified.

These are only a few examples and I'm sure you'll come up with some of your own. The important point is that an upper or lower limit on words is rarely an arbitrary requirement.

When You Have Problems

There are two basic issues that may prevent you from hitting a specific word count. Both are simple, and "curing" them may be as simple as trying some of the suggestions below.

Writer's block: It's not unusual to simply run out of things to say on a subject. When that happens, try some of these methods to "get the juices flowing again"...

  • Walk away for a while. Give your mind a rest.
  • Drink something. Caffeine can help clear your head, and so can plain water.
  • Have a snack. Something high in protein or potassium.
  • Exercise. Get a little more blood pumping to your brain.
  • Read something related. This may trigger some inspiration. (Be careful not to plagiarize!)
  • Sleep on it. If you're not facing a short deadline, let it wait for a day.

Getting too "wordy": Sometimes the dam breaks and before you know it, you're over the upper limit on your project. If that's the case, try some of these remedies:

  • Look for redundancies. Don't say the same thing in different ways.
  • Rephrase. You'll often find simpler ways to express things.
  • Lose some adjectives . It's possible to be too descriptive.
  • Remove "fluff". If it isn't important to the piece, get rid of it.
  • Simplify, then simplify again.

A Word Counter can help

Obviously, keeping track of word count manually isn't a practical idea. Fortunately, most word processing software packages, including Microsoft Word and all of its "clones", include a word count feature. Look for this word counter under "Tools" or a similar menu selection.

In many cases, you can even keep the word count visible as you write, so Google the options available for your preferred platform. Speaking of which, Google Docs and other online word processors also offer this feature.

Keep in mind that our word counter offers extra analysis and metrics that Google Docs and Microsoft Word don't provide, like words per sentence, syllables per word, words per paragraph, letters per word and unique words .

Pay Attention to Your "Blocks" Too!

The length of sections (in the case of technical works) or paragraphs also makes a difference. These "blocks" help separate ideas, but they also control the "flow" of your piece. One or two-sentence paragraphs can be very effective and can even add impact to a statement.

If something requires a lengthy explanation, don't try to write it in a single paragraph. Find natural breaks and use connecting words and sentences to tie them together.

The overall length of a piece, of course, needs to be considered along with this. Breaking a 100-word blog post into several sections probably isn't a great idea.

That's a Wrap!

In the interest of meeting the word count for this article, I'll wrap things up with a few closing lines. I hope you've found some useful information about the importance of word count and how it applies to your own writing. Hopefully, some of the suggestions herein will help you find ways that best suit your writing style and the work you'll be doing.

Thanks for using our free Word Counter tool!

That's all there is to it! Happy word counting!

Calculate for all schools

Your chance of acceptance, your chancing factors, extracurriculars, what's a good word count for a college essay.

Hi everyone, I'm working on my college essay and I'm not sure how long it should be. What's a good word count for a college essay? Is there a minimum or maximum length that colleges prefer? Thanks in advance!

Hey there! It's great that you're working on your college essay. Generally, most colleges require a main personal statement, which is typically around 250-650 words. This range is set by the Common Application and the Coalition Application, which are platforms used by many colleges for their application process.

It's important to keep your essay within this word count, as going too far over or under the limit might be seen as not following instructions. However, the actual length of your essay should be determined by how well you're able to convey your message and showcase your personality. Sometimes, a shorter essay can be more powerful and engaging if it's written effectively.

In addition to the main essay, some colleges may also require supplemental essays with their own specific word counts, which can range from 100-400 words. Make sure to check each college's requirements carefully and adjust your essays accordingly. Good luck with your college essay, and I hope this helps!

About CollegeVine’s Expert FAQ

CollegeVine’s Q&A seeks to offer informed perspectives on commonly asked admissions questions. Every answer is refined and validated by our team of admissions experts to ensure it resonates with trusted knowledge in the field.

Word Counter

Characters count, sentences count, what is word counter.

Our word counter is a free online tool for effortlessly tallying the word count, character count, and sentence count of any piece of text. Whether you're crafting an essay, drafting an email, or composing a social media post. Paste or type your text into the provided field , and our word counter will instantly generate detailed statistics.

How do I use the word counter?

Using the word counter is easy. Begin by typing or pasting your text into the input field above on this page. Below the input field, you will find three statistics displaying the word count, character count, and sentence count of your text.

How are words counted?

To calculate the number of words within a piece of text, we split the text by spaces and then count each individual word . Our calculation ignores spelling mistakes, grammar, and double spaces.

For example, the sentence "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" comprises of 9 words in total.

How are characters counted?

Characters are counted by totalling the number of letters, punctuation marks, and spaces within the text. E.g., "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" has 42 characters altogether.

How are sentences counted?

A sentence is any string of text that is separated by either a full stop, question mark, or exclamation mark . We treat back-to-back punctuation as a single sentence (e.g., "?!" or "!." is only one sentence).

For example, the sentence "Hello John! How is the weather today?" would count as two sentences.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this word counter free to use.

Yes, our word counter is 100% free to use . We believe everyone should have access to great word tools and, therefore, will not charge for a simple word counter.

Is this tool suitable for academic or professional use?

Absolutely! Our word checker is suitable for various writing tasks , including academic essays, professional documents, and casual writing.

It can also be used for checking if a piece of text is within the limit for social media networks’ maximum post lengths such as Facebook or X (formerly Twitter).

Can I use the word counter on any device?

Yes. The word counter is accessible on any device , from desktops to tablets and mobiles. You will need an internet connection to initially load the page.

Do we store inputted text?

No. We understand that you may want to use our word counter for checking personal and private pieces of text. Therefore, we do not store any input text entered into our word counter.

Whilst we do not store the text you input on this page, we do collect standard analytical events on this page, such as page views and interactions, in line with our privacy policy .

Is there a limit on the maximum length I can enter?

No, we set no hard limit on the maximum length of your input. However, please allow the tool additional computational time for larger pieces of text.

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Word Count Reducer

Have you exceeded your assignment word limit and now wonder how to cut your essay length? Try our word count decreaser! It will shorten your paper while preserving its meaning.

Create a summary of any academic text with this summarizing software! It will generate a synopsis for you in 3 simple steps:

How often do you exceed the word count by more than 10%? How often do you lack the required amount of words? In many cases, writing a text of the exact size is difficult. However, teachers assess your ability to squeeze all required content into a particular volume, especially in admission essays.

Use our handy free online tool – a word decreaser – if you’re clueless about what to cut out from your writing.

  • ✂️ How to Use the Word Decreaser?

✅ Word Cutter: the Benefits

  • 🕰️ When to Use the Tool?
  • ✍️ How to Cut Words?
  • 🤩 Why Choose This Tool?
  • 🔗 References

✂️ Word Count Decreaser Guidelines

When you realize that your text requires reduction, you may follow two paths – edit it on your own or take advantage of modern technology. Our smart word count decreaser will do the job for you! The entire process is automated and lets you submit an essay with an exact word count without losing the important content.

Here’s how you can use the decrease word count tool:

  • Paste your text into the first window;
  • Select the number of sentences you want the summary to have;
  • Choose to see the keywords of the text;
  • Press “Decrease” and review the result.

The best about our tool is that you won’t spend hours editing your writing masterpiece. You can quickly decrease word count online and experiment with several word combinations to find the best match.

🕰️ Word Cutter – When to Use It?

Let’s discuss the propriety of using the decrease word count generator and explain the cases when you’ll find it useful.

Exceeding the Word Count (Essay, Research Paper, Thesis)

Each academic assignment has a specific word count based on the contents and depth of the research.

  • A standard essay usually ranges from 500 to 2000 words;
  • A research paper is rarely smaller than 2,500-3,000 words;
  • Theses and dissertations have more extended word counts, from 10,000 to 25,000.

So, if you’ve hopelessly run out of the required word count and still need to cover some vital sections, turn to our word count reducer. The tool will cut words from the essay or dissertation to let you meet the word limit. You can stipulate the number of sentences it should contain and highlight the keywords to preserve the core content.

Making a Book Review

A book review is a detailed yet concise analysis of the book’s contents, main plot twists, and characters. Students of humanities departments, especially Literature, often need to make book reviews and reports based on the studied material. But do you have time to read all the books and then write reviews? If not, our word count reducer can help you receive a short, manageable summary in a few seconds. Read it, get the book’s content, and write a review in one go without spending several days on full-size book reading.

Writing an Abstract

You may often need to complete an abstract for an essay, dissertation, or other academic manuscripts , which should not exceed 200-250 words. Producing such a concise summary is often challenging, as your work is large and contains many valuable facts you might want to cover. Our word reducer will do the job for you. Just instruct it on what to focus on, and the tool will generate a brief, informative abstract, keeping the data you need.


Students often have to read, process, and synthesize dozens of scholarly works when writing academic papers, like essays or coursework. The challenge here is to refer to sources in a non-plagiarized way , so you should dedicate enough time and effort to paraphrasing. Though our keyword reducer will not make the summarized content unique (paraphraser will), it will identify the key facts and points for further paraphrasing .

In this section, you’ll find the key advantages of this word reducer.

✍️ How to Reduce Word Count?

Many students ask, “how can I reduce my word count?” This task requires careful editing and content review so the process may take hours. We’ve compiled some handy tips to guide you in this process and hone your word-count-reduction skills.

🤩 Why Choose This Reduce-Word-Count Generator?

As you can see, reducing the word count can be a tedious task. Our free online tool can do the job for you by speeding up the process of word cutting.

  • You can shorten the text without losing its quality and key information.
  • You stay in complete control of the word reduction process.
  • You can compare the original text’s word/character/sentence count with in the output section.
  • You can see keywords for a quick review of the core content.
  • You are able to copy the result with one click.

What’s more, the tool comes with a detailed, user-friendly interface that will make your experience a breeze. It’s free to use, and you can enjoy it without limitations for any academic challenge.

Updated: May 17th, 2024

📎 References

  • How to Reduce Your Essay Word Count – Word Counter Blog
  • 10 Tips for Cutting Your Word Count – the University of Adelaide
  • Paraphrasing – Purdue OWL® – Purdue University
  • Writing an Abstract for Your Research Paper; The Writing Center; UW–Madison
  • Research Paper Structure

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This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue. Students, members of the community, and users worldwide will find information to assist with many writing projects. Teachers and trainers may use this material for in-class and out-of-class instruction.

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  • Games Lawyers Play: Word counts and spacing…

Games Lawyers Play: Word counts and spacing rules in briefs appear open to interpretation

By Norm Tabler

June 5, 2024, 9:01 am CDT

Norm Tabler

Norm Tabler.

As teenagers, some of us played a game with our writing assignments. The goal was to make an essay or report appear longer than it actually was. Why? Because our teachers specified a minimum number of words or pages, and we struggled to reach that number.

Those of us of a certain age—say, Senior Lawyers Division vintage—had few tools back then. The one that we most often relied on might be termed “margin creep.” We simply fattened the margins, hoping that the teacher wouldn’t notice the resulting shrinkage of text.

Lawyers who write briefs often continue to play the game but with a profound twist. While the teenager’s goal was to appear to reach a minimum, the brief writer’s goal is to appear to stay within a maximum.

Wise to the game, courts now generally require double spacing—except in long quotations and footnotes—prescribe a minimum margin size, dictate a minimum font size, and outlaw text in the margins.

Have these efforts by the judiciary stopped the brief writing word game? No way. Brief writers continue to pursue, even create, loopholes with the persistence and ingenuity of prep school boys sneaking into the girls’ dorm. Caselaw routinely outs lawyers who got caught gaming the system. Here are a few examples, arranged by category.

You mean those words count?

Litigating in the federal court for the Western District of Washington, attorney Jessica Smith was caught sneaking extra words into two briefs. She certified that the word counts were 8,399 and 4,199, when they were actually 9,033 and 4,310.

Smith said she had excluded all the footnotes from her word count. It was only when the footnotes were included that she exceeded the limit.

The court’s reaction? All words count—even lowly footnotes.

My computer did it behind my back

Smith had a second defense: She insisted that her Microsoft Word settings had, without her knowledge, deselected the option to include footnotes within the final word count.

Though clearly skeptical of the explanation, the judge declined impose the sanction requested by opposing counsel. But in a Solomonic gesture, the judge declined to read the footnotes.

Honey, I shrunk the space

Most courts require double spacing. But what does double spacing mean? To Microsoft Word and those who rely on it, it means 28 points (a point is 1/72nd of an inch) between the lines. Nevertheless, from time to time, some wordy litigator submits a brief that appears darker and denser than normal and takes a little longer to read. The explanation? The lines are only 24 points apart, rather than 27.

Challenged, the writer invokes a literal interpretation of the term double, arguing that it means twice the 12-point font size, and 2 multiplied by 12 is 24, not 28, no matter what Microsoft says. Ironically, lawyers for Microsoft once took this position to shoehorn more words into a brief.

In a recent decision on the subject, the 24-pointers won a technical victory over the 28-pointers when a federal judge declined to sanction the former for exceeding the page limit. But the judge concluded her ruling with the admonition that “the last thing any party needs is more words on a page.”

The out-of-body experience

A brief qualifies for the out-of-body-experience category if the body of the brief contains a directive for the court to read further in yet another brief, the unspoken theory being that the second brief is somehow exempt from any limit. Lawyers call it incorporation by reference. Judges call it violating the rules.

When the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit called for briefs of no more than 10 pages, attorney Mark Perry responded with a brief that “incorporated by reference” 2,000 more words from another brief , thereby exceeding the limit by more than 1,300 words.

Called to account, Perry responded that he was unaware of any precedent forbidding it. An obviously furious court retorted that precedent does, in fact, exist—in a decision admonishing Perry’s law firm for trying the same trick.

Nor was the court pleased with Perry’s argument that he had done the court a favor by “sav[ing] the time and resources of the court.” How does it save me time, the judge responded, to require me to cross-reference arguments from multiple briefs in multiple cases?

A brief wrap-up

In short, when it comes to persuading lawyers to keep their briefs brief, courts are playing a game of “whack-a-mole.” Tell them to double space, and they’ll redefine the term to make the spaces smaller. Impose a word count, and they’ll exempt some words. Challenge the exemption, and they’ll blame the computer. Impose a page limit, and they’ll use the pages to refer the court to more briefs.

Will they ever stop? Of course not. They’re lawyers.

Norm Tabler is a retired lawyer whose focused on health law. He serves on the editorial advisory boards of the ABA Senior Lawyers Division’s Voice of Experience e-newsletter (for which he writes the column “Adventures in the Law”) and Experience magazine and the Indiana State Bar Association’s Res Gestae magazine (for which he writes the column “Annals of the Law”). He writes and records a monthly podcast, The Lighter Side of Health Law , for the American Health Law Association’s Health Law Weekly.

ABAJournal.com is accepting queries for original, thoughtful, nonpromotional articles and commentary by unpaid contributors to run in the Your Voice section. Details and submission guidelines are posted at “ Your Submissions, Your Voice .”

This column reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily the views of the ABA Journal—or the American Bar Association.

Related topics:

Trials & litigation | careers | career & practice | legal writing | professional development | columns, you might also like:.

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  • Narcissistic Lawyers and Artificial Intelligence: A band of dysfunctional brothers?
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  • What lawyers should know about customer relationship management

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.

Your voice submissions.

Your Voice.

The ABA Journal wants to host and facilitate conversations among lawyers about their profession. We are now accepting thoughtful, non-promotional articles and commentary by unpaid contributors.

Read the Your Voice submission guidelines.

Law firms either keep up with tech or get left behind

How do catholic church lawyers determine the credibility of sex assault allegations, the case for bar associations: why they matter, judging the judges: with all due respect, of course.

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    About Word Counter. Word Counter is an easy to use online tool for counting words, characters, sentences, paragraphs and pages in real time, along with spelling and grammar checking. Get started by typing directly into the text area above or pasting in your content from elsewhere. Word and character counts will display at the top, any writing ...

  6. How to Increase your Essay's Word Count

    Adding random words will make writing weaker, so it's important to choose your words wisely. 3. Reread Your Essay and Dig Deeper. There are many ways to add quality content to your essays that will increase your word count while still improving your work. Here are some ways to dig deeper into your writing:

  7. How Long Should a College Essay Be?

    Revised on June 1, 2023. Most college application portals specify a word count range for your essay, and you should stay within 10% of the upper limit. If no word count is specified, we advise keeping your essay between 400 and 600 words. You should aim to stay under the specified limit to show you can follow directions and write concisely.

  8. The Best College Essay Length: How Long Should It Be?

    In the simplest terms, your college essay should be pretty close to, but not exceeding, the word limit in length. Think within 50 words as the lower bound, with the word limit as the upper bound. So for a 500-word limit essay, try to get somewhere between 450-500 words. If they give you a range, stay within that range.

  9. 3 Easy-To-Use Tools to Count Words

    1. Count Words With Microsoft Word. The most-widely used word processor makes it easy to count your words. On Windows, there are two ways to see the word count. On the Review tab, just next to Spelling and Grammar Check, and on the home ribbon beside the page number. On Mac, you can find the word count under Tools -> Word Count.

  10. Word Counter: Get Word & Character Count in Essay for FREE

    01. Check the box. Tick the box to proceed further - your text won't be saved in our system. 02. Paste your text. Enter the text to check how many words or characters it contains. 03. Get accurate results. Have word count calculated automatically and get your result instantly.

  11. How do I (legitimately) reach the word count for essays?

    If you have 5 paragraphs (including introduction and conclusion) and each is 250 words, you are already at the 1,500-word mark. Split your essay into 200-400-word paragraphs depending on its nature and how many points you wanna discuss to support your argument. Stick to the per-paragraph word count. Done.

  12. How Long is an Essay? Guidelines for Different Types of Essay

    Essay length guidelines. Type of essay. Average word count range. Essay content. High school essay. 300-1000 words. In high school you are often asked to write a 5-paragraph essay, composed of an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. College admission essay. 200-650 words.

  13. 10 Tricks to Reduce Your Word Count in Academic Writing

    When you have little time to spare, small changes to your text can add up to the space you need. Here are a few simple tricks you can use to quickly tighten your text and meet the limit. 1. Delete "The". You can often omit the word "the" from your text without losing any meaning.

  14. Word Counter

    Word Counter is an easy to use online tool that can help you quickly and accurately count the number of words in your text. Suppose you're a student working on a paper, a writer crafting a novel, or a professional preparing a presentation. In that case, we can help ensure you stay within your word limit and keep your text understandable to the ...

  15. Free Word Counter

    Why use a word counter or a character counter? Counting words is essential in writing. It keeps your content on target. For blogs, essays, or social media, word count matters. Too short? You might miss key details. Too long? Readers lose interest. A word counter guides you and ensures your writing fits its purpose.

  16. Word Counter

    The count of words is a vital metric to track in a variety of situations. It plays a huge role in essays and other academic papers. At the same time, word count is vital in some professional writing fields, such as publishing, advertising, and legal proceedings.

  17. Free Online Word Counter Tool: Any Length

    Instantly count words, characters with and w/o spaces by typing or copy-pasting your text in our online word counter tool. 900,000+ users. OVER 83 MILLION checks completed ... to use professional writing help from custom writing services such as Academized that offers one of the best write my essay services you can find on the Web. This will ...

  18. Word Counter

    The word count above the text-box will automatically display the count as you type! If you want to copy the text in the text-box, simply hit the green "Copy Text" button. ... When writing for competitions, (such as essay contests, poem contests, short story contests, etc.) word count will almost always be specified.

  19. What's a good word count for a college essay?

    Sometimes, a shorter essay can be more powerful and engaging if it's written effectively. In addition to the main essay, some colleges may also require supplemental essays with their own specific word counts, which can range from 100-400 words. Make sure to check each college's requirements carefully and adjust your essays accordingly.

  20. Word Counter

    Our word counter is a free online tool for effortlessly tallying the word count, character count, and sentence count of any piece of text. Whether you're crafting an essay, drafting an email, or composing a social media post. Paste or type your text into the provided field, and our word counter will instantly generate detailed statistics.

  21. Word Count Decreaser

    Let's discuss the propriety of using the decrease word count generator and explain the cases when you'll find it useful. Exceeding the Word Count (Essay, Research Paper, Thesis) Each academic assignment has a specific word count based on the contents and depth of the research. A standard essay usually ranges from 500 to 2000 words;

  22. How do I meet the word count?

    If your college essay goes over the word count limit, cut any sentences with tangents or irrelevant details. Delete unnecessary words that clutter your essay. If you're struggling to reach the word count for your college essay, add vivid personal stories or share your feelings and insight to give your essay more depth and authenticity.

  23. Welcome to the Purdue Online Writing Lab

    Mission. The Purdue On-Campus Writing Lab and Purdue Online Writing Lab assist clients in their development as writers—no matter what their skill level—with on-campus consultations, online participation, and community engagement. The Purdue Writing Lab serves the Purdue, West Lafayette, campus and coordinates with local literacy initiatives.

  24. Games Lawyers Play: Word counts and spacing rules in briefs appear open

    In short, when it comes to persuading lawyers to keep their briefs brief, courts are playing a game of "whack-a-mole.". Tell them to double space, and they'll redefine the term to make the ...