Surprising ways to do a word count in InDesign: InDesign Secrets

May 1, 2016

Adobe InDesign can provide a word count for any story, which is a great feature if you’re trying to stay under a certain editorial limit, fit text within a proscribed layout, or measure readability. But this week in InDesign Secrets, Anne-Marie Concepción shows you how to take it to the next level with scripts.

The Info panel is where the InDesign native word count feature resides. Choose Window > Info to open it. Now if you have a text frame selected, the panel will simply display information like the dimensions of the frame. However, if you switch to the Type tool, the Info panel will also show you data about the content in the frame: the number of characters, words, lines, and even paragraphs.

This panel becomes even more useful when you have overset text (i.e., exceeds the size of the text frame). Simply click on a text frame with the overset icon (the + sign) and the Info panel will show you the visible word count, for example, plus the number of words that are overset.

The panel works in Story Editor and normal layout modes, and if you add it to your dock of panels as part of a custom workspace, it’s easy to pop in and out of. You can also press F8 to access it at any time. However, the Info panel cannot provide a word count for an entire document. For that, you’ll need to download and install a few scripts, designed by Marijan Tompa. The first is count-text. It counts all the words in your story. The second, called count-all-text, counts all the words in your story, plus the ones hidden in footnotes and tables.

You can get both of these scripts for free at Simply enter the script name and add the .zip extension ( or and hit Return or Enter. After the ZIP file downloads, uncompress it and add it to your Scripts folder.

Enjoy this technique? Come back for another free video in two weeks, when Anne-Marie shares the tricks she keeps up her sleeve for aligning objects.

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