Viewing document and readability statistics

Writing simple and easy to understand documents is a unique ability that lays somewhere between art and science. Microsoft Word can help you to improve you writing skills by providing readability statistic metrics.

To show the readability statistic, follow next steps:

    1.    On the File tab, click the Options button:

Word 2013 options

    2.    On the Proofing tab, under When correcting spelling and grammar in Word, make sure Check grammar with spelling is selected:

grammar options in Word 2013

    3.    Under When correcting spelling and grammar in Word, select the Show readability statistics check box.

After the grammar check is complete, Word displays a message box telling you that the checking has been completed:

display readability statistics in Word 2007

Document statistics displayed in this dialog box include the number of characters, words, sentences, and paragraphs in the document. They also include the average number of sentences per paragraph, of words per sentence, and of characters per word.

The readability of a document is often measured in terms of a grade level, and various algorithms can be used to estimate a document's ease of reading. The Readability Statistics dialog box includes the results of three such commonly accepted estimates. The readability estimates in Word consist of the following:

  • Passive sentences, or the percentage of sentences written in the passive voice. Active voice is considered to be more readable, so a high number of passive sentences means higher difficulty.
  • Flesch Reading Ease, or readability based on the average number of syllables per word and the average number of words per sentence. Standard writing averages 60 to 70 on a 100-point scale. The higher the score, the more people can readily understand the document.
  • Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, or readability based on the average number of syllables per word and the average number of words per sentence. This score indicates a gradeschool level. For example, a score of 6 means that a sixth-grader can understand the document. Standard writing is approximately seventh- to eighth-grade level.

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