By Naaziyah IsmailThu. 18 Jan. 20243min Read

How to Count Words in a PDF

Discover how to accurately count words in PDFs using reliable software, conversion to editable formats, and verifying OCR accuracy for precision.
How to Count Words in a PDF

Particularly in PDF documents, understanding the specific details, such as word and character count, is essential.

The process of counting words in Portable Document Format (PDF)  files can vary, depending on the PDF software used, be it PDF Reader Pro, Adobe Acrobat, Foxit Reader, or other PDF viewers.

Naaziyah Ismail
Blog Author - B2B SaaS Content Writer
Naaziyah has written many tutorials on apps and software such as, Jira, Asana, Trello, and PDF Reader Pro. She excels at engagingly simplifying complex processes.

Tools and Methods for Word Count

Tools and methods for word count in PDFs vary, ranging from built-in features in PDF readers to standalone software and online services. Here's a summary of different tools and methods you can use:

1. Built-in PDF Reader Features


Image Source: PDF Reader Pro

Using the OCR feature in PDF Reader Pro helps with word counting by converting scanned text into a selectable and editable format, enabling accurate word count analysis in the document.

    2. Online Tools

    • Online PDF Word Count Tools: Websites for pdf word counters offer services where you upload a PDF, and it returns the word count. These are useful for occasional checks without needing to install the software.


    Image Source: AEA Web

    Here you simply choose a PDF file from your device and click on "Get Word Count".

    • Google Docs: You can convert a PDF to a Google Docs document, which then allows you to use the word count feature of Google Docs. This method might have formatting inconsistencies for complex PDFs.


    Image Source: Google Docs

    In Google Docs in the main menu bar, under "Tools" click on "Word Count". You can also use the shortcut "CTRL + SHIFT + C".

    3. Office Software

    • Microsoft Word: Users can leverage Word's built-in word count tool by converting a PDF to a Word document. This method may introduce formatting errors that could affect the count for more complex PDFs.


    Image Source: Microsoft Word

    In Microsoft Word, click on "Review" in the main menu and click on "Word Count".

      These are the different tools that you can try.

      You can also check our guide on Where to Find Our PDF Word Counter.

      "Tools and methods for word count in PDFs vary, ranging from built-in features in PDF readers to standalone software and online services."
      Naaziyah Ismail
      B2B SaaS Content Writer
      Source: LinkedIn

      PDF Word Count: Best Practices

      Issues may arise when needing to count words in your PDF, here are some ways to help:

      • Convert PDF to Word: PDF Reader Pro usually offers robust PDF conversion tools, allowing users to convert PDF documents into Word documents (.docx).


      Once converted, the document can be opened in any word processing software with a word count feature, such as Microsoft Word, where you can easily see the total number of words.


      • Text Extraction: PDF Reader Pro may have a feature that allows for text extraction from a PDF. By extracting the text and pasting it into a text editor or word processor that supports word counting, you can obtain the word count you need.


      • Annotations and Comments: If you're reviewing a document and only need to count the words in your annotations or comments, PDF Reader Pro can be useful. While this doesn't count all words in the document, it helps edit and review purposes.


      Using PDF Reader Pro has made word counting in documents easier for me despite its lack of a native word count feature.

      The software’s efficient conversion tool allows me to quickly transform PDFs into Word documents, where I can easily check word counts.

      This feature saves time and maintains the document's formatting, boosting my workflow significantly. PDF Reader Pro has become a key tool for managing my documents more efficiently.

      Get Started with PDF Reader Pro Today!

      PDF Reader Pro makes all your bumps in the road for word counting easier!

      Word Count in PDF: FAQ

      Can I get an accurate word count directly from a scanned PDF document?

      Not directly. Scanned PDFs are essentially images of text and require OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology to convert the image into editable text for word counting.

      Do all PDF readers provide a word count feature?

      No, not all PDF readers have a built-in word count feature. Adobe Acrobat is one of the few that does. For others, you may need to use third-party tools or software.

      How can I count words in a PDF with multiple languages?

      Use an OCR tool or PDF reader that supports multiple languages. Ensure the tool is set to recognize each language in your document to get an accurate count.

      "I always used more than one PDF Reader before finding PDF Reader Pro because none of them had all the tools I needed in one platform. Now I only use PDF Reader Pro due to its efficient suite of tools!"
      Naaziyah Ismail
      B2B SaaS Content Writer
      Source: LinkedIn

      Can I count words in a PDF without downloading software?

      Yes. There are online tools where you can upload your PDF file, and the tool will provide you with a word count. This is a good option if you prefer not to download software.

      Is word count in a PDF reliable for legal or academic documents?

      It can be, but always double-check with a manual count or use a professional-grade PDF tool for critical documents. Accuracy is paramount in legal and academic contexts.

      Get Started with PDF Reader Pro Today!