Is The Google Docs Word Count Accurate? We Tested it to Find Out!


Google Docs is an excellent cloud-based service that millions of users, including myself, use every day. As a blog writer and engineer, I am constantly using Google Docs to crank out documents and blog posts. Word count, especially when I am blogging, is very important to me. I want to ensure that I am creating a document of suitable length to cover the topics I write about fully. Fortunately for me, Google Docs provides the word count for each of my documents. But how do I know for sure it is correct?

This led me to want to test Google Docs against a couple of other applications I use to see if the word counts were correct. Based on my testing (which I outline extensively in this blog post), the word count in Google Docs is accurate.

While I cover all of the tests I performed in the blog post, I have summarized the results in the table below:

TestGoogle Docs
Word Count
Correct?
Microsoft Word
Word Count
Correct?
Bear Notes
Word Count
Correct?
100 Word
Lorem Ipsum
Generator
YesYesYes
27 Word
Paragraph
that included
a symbol
YesNoYes
449 Words of
the 1st Chapter
of
Dorothy and the
Wizard of Oz
YesYesNo
1553 Word,
15 Paragraph
Randomly
Generated
Words With
Headings and
Subheadings
YesYesYes

Before we get started, if you are looking to learn even more about Google Docs or other apps, Skillshare is a great resource to check out. Skillshare has courses on Google Docs, Microsoft Office, Notion, Evernote, Todoist, Things 3, Trello and more. To learn more about Skillshare and its vast library of courses and get TWO FREE MONTHS of UNLIMITED CLASSES, click the link below:

Skillshare – Online Learning

If you are looking to learn how to sort a list in Google Docs alphabetically quickly, check out my article at the link below:

How to Sort a List Alphabetically in Google Docs

Test Environment

For the testing, I used three different writing applications to see how Google Docs would fare relative to other applications. The applications I chose to use were:

  • Google Docs (duh)
  • Microsoft Word
  • Bear Notes for Mac (I use it a lot and it has a word count feature)

I ran 4 different tests and tallied how each application performed. It is important to note that while my testing is accurate, it is not exhaustive. I am sure there are other test variations that I did not cover that would be viable. However, I wanted the testing to be compact yet diverse in what I tested to provide a representative sampling to access Google Docs performance in counting words.

Test 1 – 100 Word Lorem Ipsum Generator

The first test I ran was using a Lorem Ipsum generator. Lorem Ipsum is a standard dummy text scheme that is popular with writers. There are a bunch of lorem ipsum generators on the internet and I chose to use https://loremipsum.io/.

Test 1 – Google Docs Results

Google Docs correctly counted 100 words. The method I used was to paste the 100-word block of text into Google Docs and viewed the word count. To pull up the word count in Google Docs, go to Tools -> Word Count in the main menu of Google Docs. Google Docs presents the data in a very simple yet complete way, as you can see in the image above.

Test 1 – Microsoft Word Results

Like Google Docs, Microsoft Word also correctly counted 100 words. I used the same method as I did for Google Docs, pasting the lorem ipsum text into a Word document. Microsoft Word actually provides the word count in the lower-left corner of the Word Document window which is really convenient.

Test 1 – Bear Notes for Mac Results

Bear Notes also correctly counted 100 words in the lorem ipsum text. Three for three so far! I pasted the lorem ipsum text into a new Bear note and check the word count. To check the word count in Bear Notes for Mac, simply open the note and click on the information icon to the left of the note.

Test 2 – 27 Word Paragraph that Included a Symbol

As all three applications passed the first simple test, it was time to step up the game by adding a wrinkle. I generated a paragraph that included the ampersand (&) symbol.

Test 2 – Google Docs Results

Google Docs successfully counted 27 words in the paragraph. I used the same method of pasting the text into a new Google Doc and going to Tools -> Word Count to view the statistics.

Test 2 – Microsoft Word Results

Microsoft Word actually incorrectly counted 28 words in this paragraph. It looks from first review like Word counted the ampersand symbol as a word.

Test 2 – Bear Notes Results

Bear Notes correctly counted 27 words in the paragraph. I pasted the paragraph into a new Bear Note and clicked on the information icon to the left of the note to gather the note statistics shown in the image above.

Test 3 – 449 Words of the 1st Chapter of Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz

For the next test, I went to the Gutenberg ebook website (https://www.gutenberg.org/) and grabbed part of the first chapter (449 words) of the book Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz. Gutenberg is an archive of ebooks that are in the public domain and can be downloaded and read for free.

Test 3 – Google Docs Results

Google Docs once again passed the test with flying colors, correctly counting the 449 words of the ebook. Again, for the sake of being thorough, I pasted the text into a new Google Doc and accessed the word count by going to Tools -> Word Count on the main menu. Google Docs is 3 for 3 so far.

Test 3 – Microsoft Word Results

Microsoft Word rebounded well on this test, correctly counting 449 words. I used the same method of creating a new Word document and pasting the text into the document.

Test 3 – Bear Notes Results

Bear Notes stumbled on this test, incorrectly posting a word count of 453 words. I am not sure what caused the discrepancy but Bear overcounted by four words. I used the same method of creating a new Bear note and pasting the text into the note. I then accessed the note statistics by clicking on the information icon to the left of the note.

Test 4 – 1553 Word, 15 Paragraph Randomly Generated Words With Headings and Subheadings

This was the final test. A 1500-word, 15 paragraphs of randomly generated words with headings and subheadings.

Test 4 – Google Docs Results

Google Docs pitched a perfect game and correctly counted 1553 words. I pasted the text into a new Google Doc and accessed the word count by going to Tools -> Word Count on the main menu just as I had done with all the other tests.

Test 4 – Microsoft Word Results

Microsoft Word also correctly counted 1553 words in the document. As I did with all the prior tests, I created a new Word document and pasted the text into the document.

Test 4 – Bear Notes Results

Bear Notes closed out the testing strong, correctly counting the 1553 words in the document. As I did in all the prior tests, I created a new Bear note and pasted the text into the note. I then accessed the note statistics by clicking on the information icon to the left of the note.

Final Analysis

Google Docs was the “winner” of the testing, correctly counting the words in all four tests. As I stated earlier in this blog post, I am sure there are other test cases that I did not cover that would be valid to test. I also want to state that the test results are not an indictment of Word or Bear Notes. All three applications did well and are tremendous apps.

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