Thursday, August 2, 2007

Less Talky, More Typey

In On Writing, Stephen King's collective essays about the writing process, he suggests aspiring wordsmiths set a goal of 1,000 words a day (or as he calls it, "getting the black on white"). I myself, aspire to this industrious goal, but I struggle even more with calculating how many words I have written that day. I'm too lazy (or perhaps it's too tedious) to repeatedly use the word count tool in Microsoft Word to figure out if I've missed my mark (or need to celebrate because I've exceeded it).

Enter this nifty little Macro from Allen Wyatt's Word Tips on Displaying a Live Word Count. Read the article then copy the Visual Basic program onto your clipboard. If you don't know how to install a Macro in Word then read the instructions below:

  1. Open the Microsoft Word document where you want a live word count.
  2. Go to Tools --> Macro --> Record New Macro.
  3. Enter a unique Macro name; Assign the Macro to the Toolbar; and under "Store Macro in" select your open document.
  4. Press "Okay" and the little stop button comes up. Press Stop.
  5. Go to Tools --> Macro --> Macros.
  6. Highlight the Macro you just recorded and click "Step Into".
  7. Paste Allen Wyatt's Program over the contents (the entire contents including Sub and End) and save.
Wallah! Now in the title bar next to the file name, a word count appears that continually updates as you write. Allen Wyatt has a ton of nifty tips for manipulating Microsoft Word into the bendy shapes you wished it came with, so feel free to check out his entire site.


  1. "On Writing" was quite helpful to me, and I've quoted it to many. Living up to a word count, however, may lead some to the fate of the scribe in "The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet". And has.

  2. I was nervous at first, applying it to my precious baby in progress, but what a joy to see it light up on the title bar! Kudos, a most excellent find.