InDesign Basics: How to Conduct a Word-Count
If you’re creating a text-heavy document, it’s really useful to be able to perform a word-count, either of the whole text or sections of text in your InDesign document. Here, we’ll take a look at:
How you can use the Info panel in InDesign to conduct a word-count
How you can find out other information about your InDesign document using the Info panel
1. What is the Info panel?
The Info panel is going to give you a lot of info about your document, unsurprisingly…
…Let’s get the panel opened up. To do this, go to the Window option on the menu bar and select Info from the drop-down menu.
It’s about a third of the way down. Or, you could just tap F8 on the keyboard to open it up.
So here it is – the Info panel.
It’s a tiny little panel but it’s quite powerful, and from this you can do a number of useful tasks to do with text, which can be particularly useful if you’re working with a text-heavy document like a book or a magazine, and you might need to check some details either to pass on to a colleague or to the publisher.
2. How Do I Use the Info panel?
You can conduct a word-count, a character-count, a paragraph-count and also a line-count from the Info panel.
At the moment, the panel’s looking a bit empty, but that’s because you’ve not got any of the text in the document selected.
Let’s just show you how the Info panel works. To demonstrate, I’m going to navigate to the first page of a magazine document in InDesign (Learn how to create a magazine from scratch with our series of tutorials here).
Select the Type Tool from the Tools panel (or hit T on the keyboard). You can either highlight the text in a text frame, or if you just want to make a count of all the text that’s sat in the text frame, and might be linked to other text frames, you can just simply sit your cursor somewhere in the text in the frame.
So here I click once into the ‘Fresh Autumn Flavors!’ sub-heading, and the Info panel pauses for a moment before the lower half of the panel fills with information about the text in that frame. The Info panel’s telling us that there are 21 characters in this frame, 3 words, 3 lines, and 2 paragraphs.
So that may not be so useful if you’re just looking at a sub-heading, but if we want to find out the word count of a much larger piece of text that can be much more useful.
Now if I take our Type cursor and just highlight all the text in the first column on this page of the magazine document, beginning with the text ‘JO JAN travels to Maine…’, we will just get text counts for the highlighted text only appearing in the Info panel.
In this first column we’ve got about 140 words, and 3 paragraphs.
But if we just place the cursor anywhere in that text frame, or in one of the text frames it’s connected to, we’ll get a full text count for all the text that sits in those linked frames, and it will include text that’s flowing over onto other pages as well. Here we can tell that the article has 837 words, for example.
Now imagine if you’ve got a scenario where you need to be keeping within a specified word count for a long document, like a book, for example. Just by placing your Type cursor in one of the text frames in the document and opening the Info panel, you’re equipped to find out the total word count of the document instantly (depending on whether all the text frames are successfully threaded to each other).
The Info panel is a useful little InDesign function to be aware of. It can be especially useful when you come to the editing stages of a text-heavy document – it’s good to know that you can retrieve quite a bit of detail about the quantity of text by simply going to Window > Info.