Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Counting Words.

Counting Words

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 27, 2017)

Words are normally associated with a word processor, such as Microsoft Word. However, many people also work with words in their spreadsheet program. (I had a coworker once who used Excel to write memos all the time.) There may be times when you want to count the number of words in a worksheet that you receive from someone. There are native abilities to perform such a task in Word, but not in Excel.

One solution, of course, is to load your workbook into Word, perform the word count there, and then close the file. This is not nearly as flexible, however, as creating a macro to count words within Excel itself. The following macro, CountWords, counts the number of words in any range you select in a worksheet:

Sub CountWords()
    Dim MyRange As Range
    Dim CellCount As Long
    Dim TotalWords As Long
    Dim NumWords As Integer
    Dim Raw As String

    Set MyRange = ActiveSheet.Range(ActiveWindow.Selection.Address)
    TotalWords = 0
    For CellCount = 1 To MyRange.Cells.Count
        If Not MyRange.Cells(CellCount).HasFormula Then
            Raw = MyRange.Cells(CellCount).Value
            Raw = Trim(Raw)
            If Len(Raw) > 0 Then
                NumWords = 1
            Else
                NumWords = 0
            End If
            While InStr(Raw, " ") > 0
                Raw = Mid(Raw, InStr(Raw, " "))
                Raw = Trim(Raw)
                NumWords = NumWords + 1
            Wend
            TotalWords = TotalWords + NumWords
        End If
    Next CellCount
    MsgBox "There are " & TotalWords & " words in the selection."
End Sub

Notice that the macro steps through each cell in the range you select. It then ignores any cell that contains a formula. In all other cells it essentially counts the number of spaces in the cell. (One or more spaces are assumed to separate words.) The word count is then displayed in a message box for your edification.

The macro is pretty quick on relatively small ranges. If you pick a large range (such as the entire worksheet), then the macro can take a great deal of time to finish its work. The point of this is to make sure that you only select the actual range you want to analyze before invoking the macro.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2105) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Counting Words.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Comments Only Visible When Hovering Over a Word or Phrase

The comment feature of Word allows you to easily attach comments to words or phrases in your document. How those comments ...

Discover More

Changing Sections

When you divide your document into sections in order to change page layout attributes, you need to give some thought to what ...

Discover More

Word 2016 Graphics (Table of Contents)

One way to enhance your documents is with Word's powerful graphics capabilities. Discover how to best utilize graphics and ...

Discover More

Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Finding Unused Names

After months or years of naming things (such as cell ranges), you may find your workbook cluttered with a bunch of names that ...

Discover More

Deleting Duplicate Columns

Got a worksheet in which there may be entire columns that are duplicates of each other? If you want to delete those duplicate ...

Discover More

Ignoring Paragraph Marks when Pasting

Paste information in a worksheet, and you may end up with Excel placing it into lots of different cells. If you want it to ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is four less than 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.