Two different "authorities" produce widely different word counts - which is correct?
I am using "Times New Roman" with 1 inch margins.

  1. One authority "says" one word equals 6 characters. Since each line has 96 characters, this approach yields 16 words per line. 16 times 25 lines equals 400 words per page

  2. Other authority "says" use 10 words per lines. This approach yields 250 words per page.

They cannot both be correct.

  • I assume both authorities are referring to 12-point Times, double spaced. (Font size and spacing matters too.) Aug 22, 2016 at 13:05
  • What authorities are you referring to? 250 words per manuscript page is pretty standard. Sep 23, 2016 at 17:59

2 Answers 2


There were various methods for estimating words from the number of pages in a typed manuscript, since typewriters don't count words, but tend to have very consistent fonts and spacing. All modern word processors produce accurate word counts so you don't need an estimation method. If you want number of words, use the count provided by the word processor.

If you are quoting some form or payment on a per-page basis, however, but actually want to change by the word, then you do need a conversion factor, since pages produced in a word processor today can have widely varying number of words. But again it comes down to the same thing. Take the word count from word processor and divide by your standard word per page factor, such as 250 as in Lauren's example. (In other words, page here is a unit of measure defined at words / 250.)

  • Your explanation is better than mine. :) Aug 22, 2016 at 10:16
  • Wouldn't that be pages = words / 250, not pages = words * 250? Your "in other words" seems to get it backwards.
    – user
    Aug 23, 2016 at 9:23

Your font doesn't matter. Publishing industry standard is 250 words per page.

From the Editorial Freelancers Association:

The industry standard for a manuscript page, however, is a firm 250 words.

This Google Answers thread has some other citations (almost all of which are 404 links, sadly), but I think Google Answers is like Stack Exchange, so take it cum grano salis.

  • 2
    I think you will find that when the Editorial Freelancers Association says that a manuscript page is 250 words this is for calculating page count for billing purposes. In other words, it is saying pages = words/250, not words = pages * 250.
    – user16226
    Aug 22, 2016 at 2:29

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