Make Word & Character Counting Service for All Apps on Mac OS

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Some writing and text apps have native word and character counters as part of their built-in feature not every app does. However, that can be easily changed by creating a Mac OS X service that provides the number of words and characters from almost any Mac where text can be selected. This means that apps like TextEdit, the Quick Look preview panels, and even web browsers like Safari, Chrome, Firefox, all count word / character count feature which is easily accessible by right-clicking. This is probably the best method to get a word counter in Mac apps that use the feature native.

A Mac OS X service is created using the Automator scripting app, bundled in all versions of Mac OS X. If Automator is new to you and the idea of ​​scripting sounds overwhelming, don’t worry, this is an extremely simple one configure up, uses pre-written code and does not require any specific skill to write scripts.

How to Create Word & Character Counting Service for Mac in Automator

We are going to create an Automator service using an AppleScript created by a user named ‘nslater’ on Github. It’s already short and concise, so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel or rewrite it yourself.

  1. Launch the Automator app, located in the / Applications / folder of Mac OS X (or open it with Spotlight / Launchpad
  2. Select “Service” from the Automator home screen
  3. Create an Automator service

  4. In the search box on the left side of the Automator window, select and type ‘run apple script’, then drag that action to the right side window
  5. Use the

  6. Copy and paste the following AppleScript code from GitHub into the “Run AppleScript” form:
  7. on run {input, parameters} tell application “System Events” set _appname to name of first process whose front one is real, tell set word_count to count words or (input as string) set character_count to count characters from (input as string) tell application _appnamedisplay alert “” & word_count & ” words, “& Character_count &” characters “end tellreturn inputend runThe word script in Automator

  8. Save the service and name it something pretty short, such as’ Count characters and Words”
  9. Save service as word and character counter

Now that you’ve created and saved the service, let’s test it to make sure it works. There shouldn’t be any issues, but if you run into an error it’s probably because copying and pasting the above code went wrong translating characters, so you can try running the code directly from nslater’s GitHub page if not. does not run well.

How to Use the word and character counting service in any Mac OS X app

Now that the service has been created, you can use it just about anywhere in Mac OS X where text or words are selectable. This does not have to be a text editor or input field, it can be plain text in non-editable documents, web pages or Quick Look windows, all you need is that the text can be selected. This is how it works:

  1. Start a text file in an app such as TextEdit
  2. Select all text or just a sample of the text and right click (Ctrl + click) with the mouse button
  3. Go to the “Services” menu and choose ‘Count Characters & Words’ choice
  4. count-words-characters-service-menu-mac-os-x

  5. Find the number of words and characters of the selected text in a pop-up window like so

The number of words and characters in a popup box

Now that you’ve confirmed that the word counter service is working as intended, you can go ahead and exit Automator. The Service remains intact.

The service should immediately transfer to all apps through Mac OS X, but you may want to restart some apps if you don’t see the character and word counter option in the Services menu. (side note: you can also use Terminal to kill all SystemServices, but that can have unintended side effects so we won’t be recommending it specifically).

If you decide you don’t want this service, you can easily remove these and others from Mac OS X’s Services menu by going to an unlikely place in System Preferences.

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The time to complete the Make a Word & Character Counting Service for All Apps in Mac OS X tutorial is 10+ minutes.

What are the supported Device?

Apple

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mac OS


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