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  1. #1
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    Word 2002 word count bug? (2002 SP-2)

    Edited by HansV to correct URL (.html instead of .htmli) and make it clickable - see <!help=19>Help 19<!/help>

    When you use Word's Table of Authorities (TOA) feature to mark citations for inclusion in a TOA, Word inserts a TOA field into the document, with the field's text formatted as "hidden." Because field codes aren't really text in a document, one would assume that Word's Word-Count feature would NOT count the text in these TOA codes. In Word 2000 and Word 98, that appears to be the case. However, in Word 2002, the text in these codes IS counted, and there's no evident way to avoid that, except to delete all the codes.

    This potentially is a huge problem in court documents, where the rules frequently specify a maximum number of words. I've recently seen a document where Word showed a word count that was 10% more than it should have been because Word was counting these hidden TOA codes. (And I wasted a couple of hours on the phone comparing notes/experiments with someone who uses Word 2000 in order to track down the problem.) Some courts take this kind of thing very seriously. See, for example, a decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, ruling on a trial court's order imposing sanctions on an attorney for violating the word count limit because the attorney used Word, rather than WordPerfect:

    http://laws.lp.findlaw.com/7th/991754A.html

    Anyhow, is this really a bug, or is there some setting that I've overlooked??

  2. #2
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Word 2002 word count bug? (2002 SP-2)

    I tried a simple test with two citations marked (no actual table) and got a word count (Tools>Word Count) of 30 (see attached). I then copied everything to a second document, deleted the markings, and got the same thing. So, I wasn't able to reproduce the problem in a highly simplified test.

    Could you possibly post a "problem" document to look at? Something that already was filed, obviously, so that it has become a matter of public record. (And with all the disturbing metadata rooted out.)
    Attached Files Attached Files

  3. #3
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    Re: Word 2002 word count bug? (2002 SP-2)

    One gets (at least with Word 2000) differing word count reports depending on whether the word count feature is accessed from the Word document (Tools > Word Count) or from Windows Explorer (file properties). I wonder why this happens and which count is the correct one. This is an issue not only in court, but also for writers who are paid on "per word" basis.

    BTW, when a Word document is saved as "text only" and then reopened in Word, you get some third value for word count. And it differs from the value you'll get if you open and count the words of the same text document with UltraEdit

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Word 2002 word count bug? (2002 SP-2)

    I would not rely on "stored" statistics that would be available using Windows Explorer. I think it's safer to re-open the document if you need to be sure. Well, assuming it works. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

    As for saving as "Text Only," I don't recall what gets lost that way. Headers and footers, maybe. Could be something that actually counts...

    I think the best advice always is: if in doubt, don't get too close to the limit. <img src=/S/laugh.gif border=0 alt=laugh width=15 height=15>

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    Re: Word 2002 word count bug? (2002 SP-2)

    Sorry for delay; been away. Turns out that NO one seems to be able to reproduce it., except me. Here's a tiny sample doc. I get the following word counts, using Tools - Word Count:

    Word count with codes in doc, but hidden: 180

    Word count with codes in doc, and visible: 180

    Word count with codes deleted from doc: 89
    Attached Files Attached Files

  6. #6
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    Re: Word 2002 word count bug? (2002 SP-2)

    Seems to be you indeed. I get:

    Word count with codes in doc, but hidden: 89
    Word count with codes in doc, and visible: 180
    Word count with codes deleted from doc: 89

    which seems reasonable.

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    Re: Word 2002 word count bug? (2002 SP-2)

    Any ideas where to look to see what's causing the problem? All I could think of so far was that it might be due to some global template. So I first tested by removing all global templates other than normal.dot by going to Tools - Templates and Addins, unchecking the other templates, etc. No effect. Then I tried replacing normal.dot with a fresh copy (renamed my real normal.dot, and restarted Word so that it would generate a fresh copy). Again, no effect. I can't figure out for the life of me what else to even look at.

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    Re: Word 2002 word count bug? (2002 SP-2)

    Aha! Perhaps I found it.

    Try Tools | Options..., Print tab. In the "Include with document section", there is a "Hidden text" check box. If it is ticked, hidden text will be included in the word count even if it is not displayed on the screen. If it is clear, hidden text will only be included if it is displayed on the screen. So the "Hidden text" check boxes on the View tab and the Print tab of Tools | Options... both influence the behavior of word count.

  9. #9
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    Re: Word 2002 word count bug? (2002 SP-2)

    Ho ho! Thanks! What weird behavior. Now at least I have a response to all the IT types at work who've been blaming this on some "unauthorized" program I have installed on my machine.

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