Google Docs is finally getting a feature that is already available in just about every other word processing application ever: real-time word counts. Yes, Google Docs already features a word count tool; it requires users to manually click through the menu every time they want to see it, however. The new addition brings the word counter to the main editor screen, enabling users to see it at a glance.
Word count is a basic, vital tool for anyone who spends time in a word processing app, making it possible to verify whether they’ve hit minimum word requirements for an essay, haven’t exceeded the maximum number of words for a proposal, and any other number of reasons one may need to check their document’s overall word count.
Google Docs, the company’s free web-based word processor, currently allows users to view the number of words in their documents by clicking Tools -> Word Count, which opens a menu showing the number of words, pages, characters, and characters without spacing. Starting later this month, however, there will be a new option present in this pop-up window: “Display word count while typing.”
Users who check that box will see a word count figure appear in the bottom left corner of the Google Docs editor, presenting them with real-time word counts sans having to manually check. Only word count is displayed, however; you’ll still need to open the menu to see the character and page counts. The change was announced on Google’s G Suite blog, where the company said the feature is ‘gradually’ rolling out.
Google confirmed to The Verge that it is also bringing the feature to all Google Docs users who don’t have a G Suite account, meaning it will be a general, widely available tool. Microsoft’s own alternative, Word on Web, already offers a real-time word count tool in the toolbar beneath the editor.