Google Docs’ New ‘Live Word Count’ Is Great (But Also Bloody Weird)

Google Docs’ New ‘Live Word Count’ Is Great (But Also Bloody Weird)
Illustration: Google

Google has officially rolled out the most useful addition to Docs we’ve seen in years: a word count. Or, to be more specific, a feature that allows you to get the live word count for whatever document you’re working on. It’s a lot more convenient than having to click through menus to see a static word count over, and over, and over. There is, however, one important caveat.

Strangely, the live word count doesn’t pop up whenever you start a new document on your desktop — nor is there a way to enable it by default for every new document you start. You have to turn the feature on manually within each one, which you can do by clicking on Tools > Word Count > “Display word count while typing.”

When you do, you’ll get a little pop-up in the lower-left corner that tells you the current word count.

Image Screenshot: David Murphy

This count is pretty accurate with one glaring bug (so far). As Android Police reports, apparently the word count feature has a 20,000-character limit right now. Go past that, and you’ll be told that you’ve “reached the limit for word count viewable while typing.”

We’re not sure if this is an actual bug or an intended feature, but it does limit the word count’s usefulness if you’re working on a reasonably long document. We’ll report back if Google changes (or fixes) this feature at some future point.

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