I typically use TexPad for writing projects, but a collaborator suggested using Overleaf for a joint publication we're working on. I have noticed massive discrepancies between the word count in Overleaf, and the same word count if I download the project and open it locally in TexPad - Overleaf reports about about 7,500 words, while TexPad has about 6,300. I didn't notice this until late in the game, but I've watched the discrepancy grow from about a 500 word difference back when we were under 5,000 words (by Overleaf's standards) to this. I'm inclined to trust TexPad in this scenario, but was wondering if anyone could explain the discrepancy I'm seeing. I otherwise enjoy Overleaf as a collaborative tool, but having to download the project just to check word counts is a hassle, particularly on projects where I have word limits.

Update: After running texcount on my document, I have the following results: ~6000 words according to texcount, ~6500 words according to TexPad, and ~7600 words according to Overleaf.

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    Why not add texcount into the mix and split the difference? It may also be used offline (it is installed by default with TeX Live). And why is TexPad more reliable than Overleaf? Seems to me the only way to decide would be to learn more about how each counts 'words'.... – jon Jun 12 '16 at 4:31
  • That's what I'm hoping someone here can answer. :) I wouldn't mind texcount if I was working locally, but again, it would be a hassle to need to download files off of Overleaf just to run texcount against them. I'm hoping for a better feel for why Overleaf's count seems inflated so I can better judge my word counts when working in it. Right now, I have no idea why that discrepancy is so large, which means I can't eyeball an adjustment, and instead need to download the file. – cryptic_star Jun 12 '16 at 4:34
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    Can't really understand why Overleaf and texcount would give different results, considering that Overleaf uses texcount ... (overleaf.com/help/85#.V10GGVV_eV4) – Torbjørn T. Jun 12 '16 at 6:51
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    First, you should check the verbose output from TeXcount (app.uio.no/ifi/texcount/screenshot.html) at least once to check if there are any segments of the TeX files that are misinterpreted by TeXcount: that's often the reason for big discrepancies. Overleaf might run TeXcount with some options set or add macro handling rules to standard TeXcount. You could also verify that your TeXcount is version 3 in case you have an old installation. – Einar Rødland Jun 12 '16 at 8:44
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    The output from texcount can give you more than just a number, though. It can show you exactly how it has counted. Also, you need to check especially what it is not counting. I certainly tweak it somewhat as I would systematically get underestimates otherwise, given what I specifically need to include in the count for my purposes. (This seems to be somewhat discipline-dependent.) – cfr Jun 12 '16 at 12:26

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