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Count words in Indesign

In previous posts, we’ve discussed many ways to count words in PDF files, including word count in Adobe Acrobat Reader. But we don’t always use PDF readers to count words. Sometimes we need to count words in desktop publishing and typesetting software applications. Yes, you guessed it! We are talking about word count in InDesign.

Open the InDesign word count panel.​

You can open the Info Panel using the hotkeys. Click F8, and you will see a pop-up window with information about the number of characters with spaces, words, lines, and paragraphs.

If you’re using Adobe InDesign on a Mac with the Touch Bar, you first need to press and hold the Fn (Function) key on your keyboard to see the F8 button on the Touch Bar.

Indesign word count

You have to select a text frame so that the Info Panel will show word count statistics. If the text frame is not set (inactive), you won’t see word count information in the Info Panel.

Word count in overset text

One of the word count InDesign features is that InDesign statistics include overset text. Overset text appears when a text box is too small for the text content. The result is missing words, paragraphs, or even entire pages in a document.

Thus, the extra text extends beyond the visible text frame. Simply put, we do not see text that does not fit into the frame. InDesign shows a small icon with a red plus symbol to indicate that there is an overset text.

InDesign overset text icon

The values ​​are shown with a plus, where after the plus is the number of words, characters, lines, or paragraphs in the overset text.

Overset text word count

Count words and characters in text selection.

Indesign allows you to count words, characters, lines, and paragraphs in a text selection. To do this, highlight the relevant piece of text and open the info panel by pressing the F8 key (or Fn + F8).

Indesign word count in selected part

Count words in all Indesign's frames and all document pages.

Unfortunately, Indesign word count info shows statistics for the current frame only. The program does not provide an opportunity to find out the number of words in all frames on all pages in the entire document. What can you do?

One way is to find and install the “count-text” script. 

  • To install the script, you need to place it in the InDesign Folder > Scripts > Scripts Panel
  • Open Indesign and run the script. To do so, go to Window > Utility > Scripts.
Indesign Window Utility > Script > Indesign
Indesign script for word count

Save Indesign files in PDF to count words with the word count tool.

We are used to saving files with the “Save” or “Save as …” commands, but we will not find the PDF format through the usual saving when it comes to Adobe Indesign.

To save the Indesign file in PDF format, go to File > “Export…”, and then select PDF from the file-formats drop-down list.

Save indesign file in PDF. Export in PDF

Perform word and character count in PDF.

You can read how to count words in PDF in Adobe AcrobatPro DC  in our post “How to Count the Number of Words in your PDF file.” Or you can use the AnyCount word count tool.

  • Download the AnyCount word counter here. It’s free.
  • Click the “Add” button to add files, or drag a PDF file into the AnyCount’s window.
  • Click on the “Count” button to view the PDF word or character count results.
PDF from inDesign word count

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