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Home / Blog / PDF Word Count: 6 Free Ways You Need to Know [Complete Guide]

PDF Word Count: 6 Free Ways You Need to Know [Complete Guide]

By Charlotte | Follow twitter | Updated on April 2, 2024 | Deutsch Français
People who submit their works in e-documents like proofreaders, translators and writers may frequently need to do a word count, which refers to the statistics or the total number of words in a given document or piece of text. Unlike Microsoft Word or other word processors, PDF readers mostly won't count or display the number of words in a PDF document. Then how do you do a PDF word count when needed?

Thankfully, some PDF software has shifted the way people handle PDF documents. Anyone can effortlessly know how many words in their PDF file by using a PDF tool like SwifDoo PDF. Moreover, Word and online tools are also here to make things easier. Read this post to find out several free ways to do PDF word count.

Way 1: Do Word Count in PDF with SwifDoo PDF

SwifDoo PDF recommended by PCWorld is a free PDF word counter for safe and fast download on Windows. It offers two methods to do a numerical count of your document. You can count the words, characters with/without spaces, number of pages, and lines for an entire PDF file. The tiny and quick app also allows you to select only necessary words in the PDF for counting. The program has more tools to convert, split, compress, edit PDFs and do more if needed.

Word Count for Text-based PDF

Let's dive into how to do a PDF word count with SwifDoo PDF. All is quick and easy.

Step 1: Free download, install, launch SwifDoo PDF, and open your PDF file with it;

Step 2: Tap the View tab on the top, and click Word Count on the right side of the sub-menu bar;

PDF word count with SwifDoo PDF step 2

Step 3: A window with the count results comes out in a blink of an eye.    

PDF word count with SwifDoo PDF step 3

The PDF word counter tool lists clearly how many pages, words, characters, and lines in the current PDF document. The whole PDF word count process is simple and takes no time. The software supports document languages in Chinese, Spanish, French, and dozens of other languages. If you have multiple PDFs, use SwifDoo PDF to open all of them in different tabs and count the words, characters and other items for free quickly. 

Tips: To count the words for selected text, select the text under the "View" tab, and click the count tool in the top toolbar. Better yet, you can set a shortcut for a quick count using the software app. Go to "Help" > "Shortcut Key", select the tool and enter the keyboard shortcut.


Count Words in Scanned PDF

In addition to the straightforward way above, you can do the word totting up by PDF to Word conversion. That is to say, you can convert a PDF to a Word document for showing the word numbers. This may be particularly the case for scanned copies which require OCR to recognize the text. Check how to do PDF word count using this method in the SwifDoo PDF converter.

Step 1: Open your PDF document in SwifDoo PDF and go to Convert > PDF to Word;

PDF word count with SwifDoo PDF for scanned PDF step 1

Step 2: Click Settings to enable OCR, select the output path and hit Start in the SwifDoo PDF Converter dialogue box to convert PDF to Word;

PDF word count with SwifDoo PDF for scanned PDF step 2

Step 3: Open the converted Word file to check the number of words in the PDF.

SwifDoo PDF do PDF word count by converting step 3

Tips: If you use this method to do PDF word count, many word processors are available, such as Google Docs, Microsoft Word, and the open-source and free OpenOffice Writer software. Once you have turned your PDF into a Word file, open the file in these word processors to view the number of the words. You can turn to SwifDoo PDF online converter to convert a PDF online for free.

It should be noted that converting PDF to Word is to calculate the approximate words' number. That's because the converted file is not 100% the same as the original, especially for an image-only or scanned copy. Therefore, if you do the word count of a PDF by converting the PDF, the count result may be inaccurate. But it is an effective method for scanned PDFs.

Those who need to check the count of words may also want to search for a specific word or phrase in a PDF file. That’s where SwifDoo PDF comes into play. It lets you search for and find a word from the original text, annotations, and bookmarks.

Do Word Frequency Count in PDF

SwifDoo PDF's advanced search feature provides a way to count how many times a word appears in a PDF. So you can check whether the required keywords are used too much or not enough and modify the content instantly. To do the word frequency count:

  • click the search icon in the sidebar;
  • enter a word, and press Enter and the number of results will be shown.

Way 2: Do PDF Word Count with Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC allows you to count the words in PDFs in two ways while it doesn't have the word counting feature. One is to select and highlight specific text, right-click on the text to choose "Export Selection As", and pick the Word format to export the text as a Word file. Then open the Word file to count the words. The other is to convert your PDF to a Word document.

Here are the steps to do PDF word count in Adobe Acrobat by conversion.

Step 1: Open a PDF in Adobe Acrobat;
Step 2: Choose Tools > Export PDF > Microsoft Word to export the PDF as a Word file and open it in Word;
Step 3: Click Review > Word count in the Word program and a small window pops up for you to see the word, page, character count and other info.

PDF word count with Adobe Acrobat

Either of the two methods allows you to do a word count on a PDF in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, the premium version but not free Adobe Reader. Or, you can go for a free trial to get the job done with your credit card info.

Tips: Adobe Acrobat Reader DC only helps you count words by copying and pasting the full text into a blank Word, Google Docs file, or other tools.

Way 3: Google Docs Word Counter

Anyone having a Google account can use Google Drive and Google Docs to present the number of words in a PDF online for free. Google Docs works in a similar manner to Word, with which you can compose your file by typing and formatting text. The Google Docs service enables you to open a PDF file in a browser and count the number of words in just a few clicks. In addition, it also functions as a page and character counter.

Here is the way to complete a PDF word count using Google Docs.

Step 1: Log into your Google Drive account, go to My Drive > File upload to upload the PDF you wish to count the words for;

Google Docs word counter do PDF word count step 1

Step 2: Open the uploaded PDF, and tap the Open with drop-down menu to choose Google Docs;

Google Docs word counter do PDF word count step 2

Step 3: Once the PDF is opened in Google Docs, go to Tools and select Word count;

Google Docs word counter do PDF word count step 3

Step 4: A window appears and you can view the total number of words, pages, and characters in your PDF.  

Google Docs word counter do PDF word count step 4

Google Docs works like a PDF converter here. It converts a PDF to a Google doc to help do the count. This is a rough result and not accurate. It’s better to utilize a dedicated counter software for PDF files, SwifDoo PDF, for precise and convenient calculation.

Way 4: Count Words of a PDF in Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word 2013 or a later version is a free counter for words in documents for its users. The method to accomplish a PDF word count in Word is similar to that in Google Docs. Word can open a PDF and automatically present the total number of words in the file in the status bar. The component of the Office suite also counts a string of text when you select them. 

Step 1: Open Word on your computer, go to File > Open;

Step 2: Browse your computer to select your PDF and double-click to open it;

Step 3: Click OK in the pop-up dialogue box, and then the PDF will be converted to a Word file with the number of words at the bottom left corner.

Microsoft Word do PDF word count step 3

The PDF to Word conversion may take a while to complete, and the formatting and layout in the converted file will change some. Like Google Docs, Word is suitable for those who just want to do a rough words' statistics.

How to Copy and Paste from a PDF to Word Easily

How to Copy and Paste from a PDF to Word Easily

Sometimes we need to copy PDF to Word to transfer the content. Check how to copy and paste from PDF to Word easily, whether it’s image-based or protected.


Way 5: PDF Word Count Online

We would like to introduce Word Count for your workload caculation. You can work with the word count tool on all operating systems including Windows, Mac, and Linux. It calculates the number of words in your novels, cover letters, blog posts, and all your written documents online for free. The statistics report will display the frequency of the most used words in a PDF. That is particularly helpful for those content marketers to understand keywords’ density and repetition rate.

Take a look at how to do a PDF word count using the online tool.

Step 1: Right-click on your PDF document in File Explorer and choose Open with to open it in a web browser;

Step 2: Press Ctrl+A on your keyboard, right-click on the PDF, and choose Copy to copy all the text;

Word Count do PDF word count step 2

Step 3: Navigate to the online application in your browser, and paste the text onto the text box to count the words from the PDF at once.

Word Count do PDF word count step 3

If a PDF is password protected from being copied, you will not be able to copy the text. In this case, a PDF password remover will be essential.

Way 6: How to Do PDF Word Count with Chrome Extension

Word Counter Plus is one of the best Chrome extensions enabling you to do PDF word count. The extension also tells you the number of characters as well as the average word length. Chrome extensions or plugins are small programs that you can install from Chrome Web Store to add more functionalities to the browser. They are developed to run in Chrome but not on your local desktop or other locations.

Follow the 3 steps below to do a word count in a PDF document.

Step 1: Add the word calculator to your Chrome;

Chrome extension Word Counter Plus PDF word count step 1

Step 2: Open a PDF file with the browser;

Step 3: Select all the text in the PDF by pressing the Ctrl+A shortcut key, right-click on the text and choose the extension from the pop-up menu; 

Chrome extension Word Counter Plus PDF word count step 3

Step 4: Once you have hit the extension option, the small add-on will count the words instantly. The word and other statistics will together display on the screen.

Chrome extension Word Counter Plus PDF word count step 4

What Is the Best Way to Choose?

When it comes to choosing a thing that's considered the best, you always need to take what you most care about into account. Several key points for your reference here:

Direct or curving solution: SwifDoo PDF and the Chrome extension are two options that let you do the PDF word count without a curve. That will be energy and time-saving.

Free, afforable or expensive software: A simple and basic task should be finished at the lowest cost. SwifDoo PDF, the online software, and the browser add-on all don't charge you anything.

Multi-purpose application: You probably need to do many other things to PDF documents, like editing, converting, splitting, etc. Think about your possible needs and choose a comprehensive choice.


Counting words in a PDF file is not as simple as in a Word file, but not frustrating anymore. A handy PDF word counter tool such as SwifDoo PDF helps with accomplishing that that without breaking a sweat. You can count on selected text or a whole PDF in one click. It can also perform a series of related tasks to control over your PDF better. 

Share this post to let more people know the best methods. 


Q:How do you do a word count on a scanned PDF?

To obtain the number of words or characters in a scanned PDF, you can convert the scanned PDF to a Word document to count. Or, OCR the PDF to copy the text into Word to check.

Q:Can you count how many times a word appears in a PDF?

You can use the Advanced Search feature in SwifDoo PDF to search for a specific word in a PDF and the search result will show how many times the word appears.

Q:How do I find the most repeated words in a PDF?

When you do a PDF word count with the online tool introduced in this post, this counter will display the most repeated words in the PDF. You can check from the “Top keywords” or “Top phrases” list.

Q:Can PDF detect word count?

Most PDF readers don't support detecting how many words there are and you need to use software with the specific feature, like SwifDoo PDF to do that. You cannot count scanned PDFs' words and should use converter software to convert the scan to Word format to see the word statistics.

Charlotte has been in the software industry for 8+ years. She works for AWZWARE now as a passionate writer. She is good at providing simple guides to use various video, office and entertainment software. Charlotte also recommends many other useful tools to make your work and life easier. A food lover too.

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