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Counting words in MS Word: alternative results (need advice)
Thread poster: uFO

uFO  Identity Verified
South Korea
Local time: 16:19
Korean to English
+ ...
Sep 1, 2004

I've just found out that there are two ways to count words in MS Word documents, and, surprisingly, they yeild different results.
Usually when I count words, I use Tools/Word Count. But today when I was double-checking the word count for an invoice, I looked at the file's Properties/Summary without opening the file and was quite surprised to see about 100 words extra (in a 3000-word document with no footnotes or headers).
So my technical question is, does anyone know where these extra words come from?
And also which word count do you use for invoicing purposes?

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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:19
Member (2000)
Russian to English
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The plot thickens Sep 1, 2004

I had never known of this, so I tried it, using the properties count first, then the Tools count, then the Properties count again.
For both files, I found that the Properties count was initially lower, but after doing the Tools count, when I went back to the Properties one, it had become the same as the Tools one.

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PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:19
English to Polish
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Hmmm... Sep 1, 2004

The document I'm working on now shows exactly the same numbers for all "categories" (words, paragraphs, chars. w. spaces and w/o spaces).
I use Office 2000.

To answer the other question, I have only and always used the document statistics command in the tools menu of Word.

Pawel Skalinski

update: I have just opened another document (my wife's, so I know it was not "word-counted") and the numbers are identical again...

[Edited at 2004-09-01 17:12]

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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:19
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
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Use wordcount macro Sep 1, 2004

This posting has macros for both wordcount and charcount. They count also text in textboxes, which can be a substantial part of the translatable text.

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Kirill Semenov  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:19
Member (2004)
English to Russian
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Opens new horizons for me... ;-) Sep 1, 2004

Hmm, I always count words using File->Properties->Statistics.
It shows the number of words, the number of symbols with and without spaces and so on.

I failed to find Tools->Word Count option, though -- maybe, because I use a Russian version of MS Office SP1.

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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
English to German
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Heisenbergs uncertainty principle in Word Sep 1, 2004

In the properties my doc file had 111 words, in the word count 101.
When I saved the file after counting the words, both were 101.
So the observation changed the results, like in Heisenbergs theory

Anyway, it makes no difference to me, because I use the word count determined by the translation tool I agreed upon with the client. Any tool will yield different results because of different counting criteria.

[Edited at 2004-09-01 21:48]

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Mathew Robinson
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:19
Word counts Sep 2, 2004

The counts provided in the statistics boxes are summaries that are saved in the document properties. These statistics are only updated when you run 'wordcount' from within the document then save the file again.

If you modify the document then save without running a word count, the summary will be incorrect.

As a test, create a new document and type the words from one to twenty, save it, and look at the summary properties in 'File/Open'. Mine gives me a count of 19. Count the words inside word and I get 20, save the document then check the summary in 'File/Open' again and it now says 20.

As an agency, we have always had problems with word counts. Word counts differently to, say, Trados. Even different versions of Word can produce different counts for the same document. The plot only thickens when you start comparing Word's word counts to programs like Quark or FrameMaker.

[Edited at 2004-09-03 20:48]

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Counting words in MS Word: alternative results (need advice)

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