01 October 2010

In no more than 255 words . . .

Many assignments still take the form of [yawn] essays and despite wondering at the start how on earth you'll ever type 2999 words it's not long before you're tearing your hair out and desperately trying to figure out how to get it down to the 3000 limit (or whatever the tutor has probably set in a totally arbitrary manner. "Oh, it's Thursday, let's make 'em do 5000")

You probably already know about the Word Count option on the Tools menu, but it would be much more useful to have a constantly updated word count displayed in the top of the document (or even in the header or footer) so that you can keep an eye on it. Word has a way to allow you to do this, but not many people know about it. To add a word count, you need to insert a field code as follows:

Place the cursor at the position in the document that you’d like to add the word count (e.g. at the beginning of the document, under the title).
Click Insert > Quick Parts > Field (Insert > Field prior to Word 2007)
Scroll down the list of available fields and choose NumWords. Click OK.
The word count will be inserted. To update the count after adding more text, right-click on it and choose Update Field.

No, that doesn't help actually write the essay I know, but gives you something to do while you're typing.

Another useful tip from the good people at Windows Secrets.

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