I need to check my final word including bibliography and notes. I've tried \quickwordcount and the built-in plugin that overleaf comes but I'm just getting the words of the main.tex excluding the .bib file. Is there any package that counts main.tex and .bib separately?

  • 1
    Did you have a look at texcount?
    – Raven
    Mar 21, 2019 at 17:13
  • 2
    LaTeX does not really do word count on its end. How do you define a word? We would only know the words at the output step, and then it is probably too late to interact with it. So external programmes might be easier to work with. Programmes that analyse the PDF (which has the bibliography). Problem is then what to do with the math in the document, should it be counted or not.
    – daleif
    Mar 21, 2019 at 17:28
  • Read David Carlisle's comments to this similar question then read the answer by the author of texcount and see that even with the bib do you count an initial as an abbreviated word & what about et al etc or even QED? tex.stackexchange.com/questions/312282/…
    – user170109
    Mar 21, 2019 at 21:09
  • I use something like this answer. What I actually do is pdftotext file.pdf - > file.txt, and then I open file.txt and clean it up a little bit. Then I run the file through wc or some other word counting utility. The amount of cleanup depends on how accurate I need the count to be.
    – Mars
    May 10, 2019 at 21:35

1 Answer 1


As others have said "What is a word?". Is a hyphenated word one or two? Is an equation a word or is each symbol in the equation a word? Is an illustration a word? And so on.

In my experience most requests for number-of-words relate to how much space (pages) will be required for printing. Book typographers typically count number-of-words by counting the "words" on a typical page and then multiply by the number of pages. Of course you may have several typical pages, like the ToC, the main text, the Bibliography and so on. But these can be dealt with individually and summed at the end.

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