count words

(Partially taken from the University Library Leiden, with their kind permission)

In the rules for short extracts, the maximum number of words that may be included are specified.

Book part

Rough guide: an average page from a book contains a maximum of 400 words. When about 25 pages of non-literary work are used, you are approaching the maximum permitted limit of 10.000 words.


For journals and other periodicals, it is not possible to indicate an average. The use of columns considerably increases the amount of words per page. The maximum limit of 8000 words is sometimes reached in just 10 pages.


There are a number of methods available for calculating the number of words in digital files. For example, in Word, under Tools, Word Count. On Word Count Tool you can find a tool for use with PDF documents. However, this does not work with so-called picture-PDF. In these cases, you will have to calculate the average number of words per line and the average number of lines per page and from there, the average number of words.

warning signAll words must be counted!

If you have extracts in a reader which contain non-relevant pages or paragraphs (for example, because they are copied together with the relevant text) then those words must also be included in the total. Even if the non-relevant parts have been crossed out they must be included if they remain visible in any way.

Headings, footnotes and notes must be counted too.