Massive Word Count Difference: Pages vs. Word

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by gnomeisland, Jun 2, 2014.

  1. gnomeisland macrumors 6502a

    Jul 30, 2008
    New York, NY
    I recently started using Pages a lot more since getting an iPad and I discovered that the word count in Pages is sometimes VERY different than MS Word. Some times almost double what Word reports. Is anyone else seeing this?! I get paid by the word in some instances so an accurate word count is critical (but also something I've got to backup if my client's are seeing something very different)
  2. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    Have you tried verifying it yourself?

    Extract a bit of text from a project where you see such a difference and take just the smallest possible piece where you can detect the difference and then count the words manually or save as text and use the Terminal utility "wc".

  3. CoMoMacUser macrumors 6502a

    Jun 28, 2012
    Thanks for the heads up. I, too, get paid by the word and wasn't aware of this discrepancy. Let us know what you find out.
  4. hologram macrumors 6502

    May 12, 2007
  5. metril Suspended

    Jun 2, 2014
    You know, this could be a very simple thing of what is considered a word. Perhaps either Pages or Word does not count "a" or "to" or "so"; see where I'm going with this? There could be a minimum letter count.
  6. Janichsan macrumors 65816


    Oct 23, 2006
    Or Word is simply slow. It sometimes takes ages to fully count all words in a document.
  7. gnomeisland thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 30, 2008
    New York, NY
    Nope. Keep the document open for hours sometimes and, yes Word is slow, but it sticks to a lower word count. I've been trying to find the difference but if anything Pages seems more conservative on blocks of text that I compare but the latest overall document is over double (15,994 vs. 7,704)!

    I haven't tried the suggested program yet. I'm not really sure what that's supposed to prove aside from introducing another variable?


    When small words are selected in both they are both recognized as one word. I thought it was the very technical language of the documents I have been working on lately but I still can't narrow it down.


    Just tried this and the number came much closer (within 1,000 words) so I'm guessing there's some double counting in Word docs opened in Pages (be warned!) Let me know if anyone else is seeing this.
  8. hologram macrumors 6502

    May 12, 2007
    Well, if the count matches either Pages or Word, you'll know which one is more accurate. It's only another variable if it doesn't match, or at least come close to, either one.

    It's free... what have you got to lose?
  9. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    If you're comparing Word's count for its native document with the word count that Pages gives you when you import a Word document there, then maybe the Word-Pages conversion is messing up the count.

    Consider taking your Word document and, in Word, causing it to be written out as a text file (plain text). Then, import the plain text document into Pages and see what you get.

    I took a simple document that Word reported as 177 words. I wrote it out as text and sent it to my iPhone (the only place I have, or want, Pages) and Pages reported that document as 185 words.

    However, the Word document had 2 URLs in it. When I removed them from Pages, the word counts matched exactly. Word obviously treats a URL as one word, while Pages counts the words within it.

    Just another data point.

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