I found some nice replies dealing with word counting, but my question is slightly different.

I want to know if it's possible to establish a relation between word count and the number of pages in an average formatted book, so I can have an idea of how many pages my manuscript probably has so far.

Of course this should be just an average, not an exact answer. Basically, I want to know, in average, how many words a page has.

  • Related: writers.stackexchange.com/q/7893/1993 Sep 2, 2013 at 19:54
  • Unless you're publishing it yourself, the publisher will almost undoubtedly reformat your manuscript - which can significantly alter the page count. Some electronic formats may even set up pages on the fly depending on screen size, etc. Nothing, except an editor ;) will change your word count.
    – Joe
    Sep 4, 2013 at 20:16
  • Yes, I know that. It's just a matter or having an idea of the final size. I know how many words should I aim but, sometimes I like to have that in mind, Sep 4, 2013 at 20:25

3 Answers 3


An easy, highly variable way:

  1. Pick up a book that is formatted approximately as you think yours might be.
  2. Pick five random pages in the book. Do not involve your eyes in picking the pages.
  3. Count the number of words per page, and compute the mean.
  4. Divide your word count by that mean.

A more reliable way, involving somewhat more work:

  1. Pick up a book that is formatted approximately as you think yours might be.
  2. Type five pages of that book into your word processor.
  3. Adjust the following settings until they appear on your screen as closely as you can manage like the book you're using as a reference
    • Font (face and size)
    • Line spacing
    • Paragraph spacing
    • Page margins
    • Space between scenes
    • Extra space at the top of a chapter
  4. Format your book using the same settings.

Really? It's not possible. If you write a book full of dialogue, like theatre, or a book without blank typo, you won't have the same wordcount for the same number of page.

For a manuscript, in general, it's not the word count that you have to take. It's the character count.

You can make an average for your book, already. You take some pages, you see the word count, you divide (?) by the number of pages, you ave an average for one of Your pages. And after, you see.

But I really don't think you can make a good average with other books, for yours.

  • You have a point, Laxaelle, dialogs mess pages a lot. Afaik, in latin countries word count are more used than character count but in the end it won't matter much because the problem will persist in case of dialogues. Maybe the only way is to have the novel word count limits in mind and ignore pages for sure. Sep 2, 2013 at 16:58
  • Yep, I think so. I'm used to ignore the number of pages I write. Thanks to have put words on my thoughts.
    – Lexaelle
    Sep 2, 2013 at 17:10
  • The term you needed was character count, as Psicofrenia noted. I edited your post. Sep 3, 2013 at 1:08
  • 1
    Also, in the electronic age, if you have your text ready, getting the exact word, page and character count is one keystroke of work.
    – SF.
    Sep 3, 2013 at 10:27
  • If by "it's not possible" you mean that it's not possible to get an exact number, sure. But regardless of the style of a book -- how paragraphs are formatted, whether there's a lot of dialog, etc -- you could get an average over any suitably large number of pages.
    – Jay
    Sep 3, 2013 at 13:14

It seems that the average word count for a page varies from 250 to 400, in normal books.

Most sites I saw, indicated a media of 400 as acceptable, but you can raise it to reflect most condensed books. In that way, a good way to calculate the probably page count of a manuscript is to divide it by 400.

This answer was given after some more intense Internet research, where these pages arouse:

  • A manuscript page in "standard manuscript format" (12 point courier, 1 inch margins, double spacing) will have about 250 words. Perhaps that's where the common "250 words per page" comes from. It's rare for a printed book to have so few words per page. Sep 4, 2013 at 16:46
  • Ops, edited. I meant 400 words / page Sep 4, 2013 at 19:58

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