Tip: Getting word counts from Excel files

Getting word counts from Microsoft® Excel files is a common and frustrating task for translators and writers and general.

One common approach is to save the worksheet as a text file, then open that in Word and use the Word Count feature. This approach has some problems, though: you can only save one worksheet at a time, and text in text boxes isn’t saved, so you could end up with a word count that’s too low. Not to mention the time and hassle involved.

About a year ago, I did a huge translation that literally consisted of hundreds of Excel files and thousands of worksheets. Counting the words in each file using the MS Word method would have driven me batty.

If you use Windows and often need to get word counts from Excel files, I recommend my free program, Count Anything. Just click the “Count” button, drag and drop your Excel files into the dialog, and click OK.

Drag and drop Excel files into the dialog box

You’ll end up with a nicely formatted report that you can drill down on, print, or save as an HTML or text file.

Results of Excel file word count

Click here to download the free Count Anything program.

16 replies on “Tip: Getting word counts from Excel files”

Hello Dear Ryan Ginstrom,

The programme works well with Roman fonts.

I tried it for Unicode compliant font “Mangal” for Hindi script “Devanagari”. Unfortunately it did not work.

Can you halp?


Ravi nandan sahay

Hello Ryan,

tnx for the tool, my girlfriend is a NL-RU-NL translator and she appreciates it greatly. U talk about a Text Dump utility that comes with the setup, I just cant seem to locate it. Any pointers?

Tnx again.


I’m glad I found this! I’m a translator, and I’m trying to figure out how to count words in Excel. I just have one question/issue… what about the words that I am not supposed to translate, such as titles that are already translated? Is there a way to eliminate these ‘untranslatable’ things from the word count without hassle? If you can tell me an easy way to do this, then I salute you!

Hi there,

Could you please let me know if “Count Anything” gives you a number of repetitions as well?



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