Word counts may also be important for spoken pieces. Formal speaking in English is usually around 100 to 120 words per minute; thus, for example, an eight-minute speech would contain roughly 800 to 960 words.
The command wc in Unix/Linux can do automatic word counts, as can many word processors. Different word counting programs may give unequal results for the same document, depending on the text segmentation algorithms used, or whether footnotes are counted.
Publishers often estimate book size by number of pages rather than word count: this measure includes white space. In professional publishing, 250 words per page is generally considered to be standard. This standard was set in earlier times, when most manuscripts (MS) were prepared on typewriters with fixed pitch fonts. Most publishers accept manuscripts in any clear, easily readable font, but the old guideline of 250 words per page is still the norm. Thus, a book of 100 pages is deemed to contain roughly 25,000 words.
The majority of Word Processing programs give a word count broken down into the number of pages, words, characters (no spaces), characters (with spaces), paragraphs, and lines with a checkbox to include footnotes and endnotes.
|Classification||Typical word count|
|Novella||17,500 to 80,000 words|
|Novelette||7,500 to 17,500 words|
|Short story||1,000 to 7,500 words|
|Flash fiction||under 1,000 words|