Counting texts with MSWord and TextCount

Following on from this August 7th entry:

TextCount is one of several programs used by translators to count text.
How does TextCount compare with MS Word in counting? After all, the latest versions of Word give a word count, a count of characters without spaces, and a count of characters including spaces.
However, Word for Windows is less predictable than TextCount et al.

WinWord does not count: commentaries, footnotes, headers, and footers.
TextCount can be set to count them or not to count them.

WW does not count text fields.
TC does

Letters/characters: WW counts these whether entered by the user or the program
TC counts only those entered by user via keyboard.

Several spaces between two words: WW counts them all, however they were entered (but older WW versions count no spaces)
TC always counts one space only, even if there are several.

Several tabstops after each other: WW counts them all, even if they are wrongly used.
TC always counts one tabstop only, even if there are several.

To see an extreme example, download the two files
ANZEIGE5.DOC Download file

and WCount.Doc Download file,
open them in Word, and click Tools, then Word Count (German: Extras, then Wörter zählen). You may be surprised by the results.

The file
Info.doc Download file
is in German – it summarizes the way TextCount counts.

If you want to count words, you have to set the settings so that maximum word length is 0. The program’s default setting is 8, which means that any words over 8 characters in length will be treated as more than one. However, I can think of no context where I would want a maximum word length.

Another problem is how to count a German word with hyphens, such as “14-Zoll-Bildschirm” (14″ screen). You can choose whether words with hyphens in them should be treated as multiple words.

TextCount is not the only program on the market, for example Count’It. Paul Thomas prefers that and also named Practicount, which he says is good for counting PowerPoint files.
But this entry is not to say that TextCount is the best – all I want to do is to explain why TextCount counts more reliably than Word.

Here are contact details for TextCount:
Erhard Strobel
Leisaustr. 8
D-81249 München
Tel.: 089/871 30 852
Fax.: 089/871 30 853

And for Count’It, the address is probably
Ingenieurbüro Gil Déniel Software, Brunostr. 26, D 50259 Pulheim,
Fax: +49 2238 15362, and the email may be

There’s a good article by Thekla Kruse in the ADÜ-Nord Infoblatt 6/2001, pages 12-13 (in German).

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