Free Beer for a Good Open Office Word Count!

Over the last several months I’ve been ridding myself of Microsoft products as much as possible. Therefore, on my new Linux desktop computer I’m running the free Open Office open-source suite of applications. It’s a more-than-adequate replacement for everything I used to use in Microsoft Office.

EXCEPT: The word processor included in Open Office has one glaring omission. Currently it only allows you to do a word count for a complete document, not for a paragraph…

I can’t tell you how much this bugs me, since word count is a function I use daily. I often need to check for sprawling sentences and paragraphs, or headline length, etc. This problem alone has kept me from heartily recommending Open Office to my fellow writers and editors.

Since Open Office is an open-source project, I’m begging the developer community: Could someone please write a basic word count function for Open Office? One where I could highlight a chunk of text in a document and get the word count and character count (with and without spaces) for just that chunk?

My offer: I’ll buy a case of beer, or a couple of bottles of wine, or a good book, to the developer who manages to create the kind of word count I need and get it built in to Open Office. Plus you’ll enjoy fame in CONTENTIOUS and my undying gratitude! (OK, it’s the best I can do for now…)


For now, I have to resort to using a web-based form that relies on javascript to get a word count when I’m working in Open Office. I cut-and-paste my text into the form and have it calculate the word count for me. It’s a hack, but it works, and it’s fast. I’ve found two free public resources for this:

So my fellow Open Office users, I hope this helps you out too. If you find a better solution, let me know!

5 thoughts on Free Beer for a Good Open Office Word Count!

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  1. Some kind soul has implemented a proper word count in OO.o 2.0. It’s in the latest milestones – Tools -> Word count. It’ll count the whole document and selection. *does a little dance for joy*