I have both Mac and Windows machines, and I don't mind having to convert my .doc files to .txt or whatever format. I just need to bulk count their words automatically.

I used to use a program called "word counter" for Mac, but the latest version fails to recognize the OS X 10.11 as higher than 10.4 and having an older mac just for that purpose doesn't seem worth it.

Edit: The final answer to my problem was these 2 lines. make sure you have the osx terminal open in the folder with all the files in it and type

textutil -convert txt *.docx 

(converts all docx to txt)


cat *.txt | wc -w 

(word counts all txt files)


This command will show you the word count for the file.

cat <file_path> | wc -w

Alternatively for displaying the number of newlines, you can use

cat <file_path> | wc -l

For multiple files with a continuous naming format like file1, file2, file3; The following command would list the total word count of all the files combined using the wildcard

cat <file_path>/file* | wc -w

Here * denotes any


As @tripleee mentioned if you are using this in a script or you want the most optimized version, you could leave off cat and go straight with

wc -w <file_path>/file*
  • Actually cat <file_path> | wc -l displays the number of newlines which to the eye look like paragraphs more than lines. – karel Apr 12 '17 at 1:55
  • @GipsysCosmonaut that's great now I just need something to bulk convert doc to txt because it doesn't work with docx files. – Dany M Apr 12 '17 at 2:40
  • wc -w file1 file2 ... is actually more informative than a redirect when you pass it multiple files (it breaks down the sum per file as well as providing a total), and avoids the useless cat. – tripleee Jan 24 '20 at 6:40

Made some update to @Christian5642's answer for Windows 10.

  1. In File explorer, right click column header.

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  1. Select More.

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  1. Select Word Count.

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