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When you need to get information about character count or word count or even line and paragraph count, you do not need to take a round trip over to Microsoft Word or something like that, you can actually get that information right from within InDesign. The trick is to open up the Info palette. Let's go to the Window menu and pull down to Info. Now at first blush it doesn't look like there is any relevant information in there about word count or character count, and that's based because the Info panel is contextual, based on what you have selected. So right now I have this text frame selected, but with the Selection tool as opposed to the Text tool, so I'm getting frame information.
If I switch to the Text tool, I just press T on my keyboard, and then go ahead and click inside this text frame, I immediately start getting some relevant information here about word and character count. This is also based on selection. So if I just have my cursor blinking inside this story, it gives me the character, word, line, and paragraph count for that entire story, and that means threaded story as well. So if this had multiple frames that were threaded together, it would be giving me the total counts for each of these four categories. Now if you want to know how many words are in a particular line or how many characters are in a specific word let's say, simply double-click on the word that you want to see information on.
So if I double-click on 'characters', you'll see that the Info palette now changes to show me information just about my selection. If I select a range of text, then I get the information based on that range, so very cool. Now there's actually an interesting twist. If you have overset text, oftentimes it's interesting to know how much overset text you have. So I'm going to get out of my Type tool temporarily, by holding down the Command key or Ctrl key on Windows. You'll see that that temporarily turns my Text tool into the Pointer tool or the Selection tool.
So I'm going to go ahead and resize this, so that that last line of text goes overset and then I'll let go the Command key. Now when I lose my selection and I'm focused on the whole story now, you'll see that the Info panel gives you the word here or the initial count on what's visible, and then everything that's in overset text is followed by a Plus sing. Lines is going to be a question mark, because it only is going to report on actual visible lines. That question mark there just tells you that there are some lines that are overset, and then gives you the number of paragraphs that are overset. So useful information that comes in handy, sometimes especially when you're trying to do just some basic copy-fitting or let's say you're being asked to write a bio and your bio or description has to be 150 characters or less.
So here's a great way to make sure that you're within the character limit that you've been given.
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