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 June 25, 2018)

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.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

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

Erroneous Table Math

Depending on the type of data you have in your table, the SUM(ABOVE) function might return incorrect results. Here's an ...

Discover More

Creating Registry Keys or Values

The Registry is the central depository of configuration information used by Windows and by programs running on your ...

Discover More

Stopping Word from Changing Characters in an E-mail Address

When you type an e-mail address, Word generally recognizes it as such. What do you do, though, if Word changes the e-mail ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Getting Help when Entering Functions

Need a quick memory jog when entering a worksheet function? Here's a shortcut that will be invaluable.

Discover More

Changing Multiple Cells at Once

Excel includes several different methods of editing information in your cells. If you want to edit multiple cells all at ...

Discover More

Searching Comments

Need to find that misplaced comment in your worksheet? It's easy to do using the Find and Replace capabilities of Excel.

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 seven minus 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.