How to Get a Word Count from a Live Multi-page Website

How to Get a Word Count from a Live Multi-page Website

colourful abacus beadsSometimes the cart is pushing the horse, and a client wants a quote on copy editing a live (or about to go live) website. Getting even a rough word count from a live website is problematic. I asked several website techs and the resulting advice was “time to find an intern.” Even with access to the source files, this can be a labour-intensive process.

Here’s a hack using Acrobat XI and Word. It’s quite a bit faster than cutting and pasting hundreds of individual pages, and I know that at the least the Word word count portion is fairly accurate. The part I have not QA’d is whether Acrobat grabs all the pages in a site.


Steps to turn a website into PDFs then Word documents

  1. Open Acrobat Pro XI (there’s a free 30-day trial)
  2. File > Create > PDF from website
  3. Enter URL & select Capture Multiple Levelsdialogue box from Acrobat Pro XI for creating a PDF from multi-level web site
  4. Open the file(s) in Acrobat Pro XI.
  5. File > Save as Other > Word Document
    The free Adobe Reader XI will do this step, exporting to a plain txt file that you can continue with.
  6. Open file(s) in Word and check the word count under File > Properties.


Tip: Combine all files into one either at step 4 or step 6 unless you love working out that abacus to add up all the totals.


Keep those PDFs

When it comes time to actual edit those pages, you can use those same PDF files to mark up the corrections. And for that, you need only the free Adobe Reader XI version of the software. There is a whole series of posts on this site about doing that; it starts with this post.


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