Sunday, March 09, 2008

5000 Words is About 20 Double-Spaced Pages

I suspect that most regular readers of this blog know that. I also suspect that most regular readers of this blog know that things like margins and even fonts can impact that number considerably, and so it's just a very loose guideline.

So do you find yourself wondering, "Just why did Tiffany decide, this morning, to make a gratuitous announcement about what 5000 words amounted to in terms of pages?

I'll tell you (you knew I would, didn't you?)

Some months ago, I found this question in my search traffic: "5000 Words is How Many Pages?"

Because I have another blog dedicated entirely to answering questions I find in my search statistics (though some more seriously than others), I wrote a post with that title.

Now, I get about a dozen visitors a day on related search strings. It's ALWAYS 5000 words. Here are a few of the recent searches that have landed people to that post:

5000 words how many pages
How many pages is 5000 words?
How many pages is 5000 words double-spaced?
5000 words = how many pages
5000 words = ? pages
5000 words in pages
5000 words double spaces
5000 words pages
How many pages in 5000 words?

All of these examples have been pulled from the past three days, and most of them appear multiple times. I found this a bit surprising and a little entertaining when it first started happening, but then I came to a couple of conclusions:

1. There are a lot of people out there who don't know how many pages 5000 words works out to and wish they did; and

2. Those people are much more likely to find other information of interest and use to them on THIS blog than on my search statistics blog.


SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Don't any of these people have Microsoft Word? That word-count function is my favorite feature.

Kevin said...

lol. How interesting.

In response to your other comment here, microsoft word won't tell you if you don't have 5,000 words though. Maybe they are looking it up for something else, without actually having 5,000 words typed, who knows.

RockStories said...

@SuburbanCorrespondent: I had the same thought. I love that feature, too. I don't know whether or not you've upgraded to Word 2007 yet, but it's even more exciting; it keeps a running count at the bottom of the screen without being asked, and if you highlight a portion of the text it displays the word count as xx of yy, so that you can see the excerpt count and total count at the same time. It's very cool. (I am not a geek...I am not a geek...)

@Kevin: good point. I was thinking about taking a word count from one full page and extrapolating from there, but I suppose not everyone enjoys math games the way I do. (I am not a geek...)

3POINT8 said...

I'm guessing all those people who searched for that are all uni students who had to pass up a 5000 word essay the next morning...

Anonymous said...

I wanted to known how many words made up 20 pages...because my paper is 20 pages not 5,000 words.

Anonymous said...

Me too. My prof assigned a paper of approximately 20 pages. I'm sure he has in mind 20 pages, double-spaced with 12pt Times New Roman in MS Word. But I want to use LaTeX, using a template with significantly larger margins and 11pt font. Having a word count for 20 pages is therefore a necessity to gauge how much more BS there is to write.

Brody said...

Interestingly enough, I got to this page *precisely* because I was playing with the word count on a 5k+ word count essay. Although I've churned out a couple of them before in the course of a liberal arts education and a few legal briefs that have approached that length, I'm finishing up an essay on terrorist finance for a legal writing class. It's so extensively footnoted and formatted that I just wondered how its length would compare to a "straight" essay.

For the record, it's currently 26 pages with 5,500 words in the main body, and approximately 2,000 words in footnotes. Although I like the MS Word count feature, I miss the no-name MS-DOS word processor I had on my 8088 back in Jr. High. Not only did it do word counts, but counted the number of "be" verbs and gave you a readability index based on characters per word, words per sentence, and sentences per paragraph.

Anonymous said...

I am another reader who found this blog because I was specifically looking for the page count on a 5000 word document. This is because I was looking up literary grants and writing contests. Whenever the grant or contest wanted a short story entry, the maximum length was 5000 words.

I was curious about how many pages what would eventually entail. Since I have no document as of yet, I didn't have anything to put in a word document and count.

Anonymous said...

I found this page because I am one of those people who needs to know "5000 words is how many pages?"

I have a paper due within 48 hours, it is supposed to be 5000 words. I estimate my work pace to be 1 page per hour in crunch mode... So I need to know how many pages in order to figure out how many hours to be in the library over the next few days between classes and having a life.

RockStories said...

@Anonymous (the most recent one)...I think you might have to drop "having a life" from that list for the next couple of days!

Anonymous said...

I'm another one of those searchers. I'm writing a paper, it's at about 4100 words and I wondered about how many pages it would be if I made it to 5000. Just another way of putting off writing my conclusion.

Thanks! haha

sam said...

i was also searching simply for a gauge before i start writing. i have to do an autobiography assignment that is 10-15,000 words and wanted to get a feel for the scope.


Anonymous said...

I was writing a legal essay with heavy use of footnotes, thus changing the page/word ratio considerably. I wanted to know how many pages a "normal" 5000 word essay is for comparison.

Esti said...

Wait! 5000 words is not 20 pages. Or I'm doing something wrong. My final, grad-level, A+ papers from last semester were 5000 words long, and they were only about 16 pages each. I definitely didn't shy from using long quotations, and my headers and page numbers were standard MLA style.

Am I doing something wrong, or is the 250-words-per-page estimate a remnant of typewriters? I'd really like to know, because the professors this semester assigned page numbers instead of word counts and I'm sick of writing already.

RockStories said...

Esti, several things impact the number of words per page, which is undoubtedly why you're seeing some variation. For instance, whether you've set your margins at the old standard one inch or accepted the Word default of 1.25 inches.

Font can also make a difference, even if it's the same "size". For example, Arial 12 takes up significantly more space than Times New Roman 12. But in many fonts, Word now defaults to 11 pt type, which makes a considerable difference.

Then, there are small things that add up over the course of a long paper. The length of paragraphs, for instance: a full page of blocked text has more words than a page that's broken into three or four paragraphs, because the page with paragraphs has 6-8 shorter lines.

So, a fully-blocked double-spaced page in Times New Roman 12 with 1" margins has more than 400 words, while a four-paragraph double-spaced page in Arial 12 with 1.25" margins has fewer than 300.

Finally, when you say you didn't shy away from long quotes, that suggests that you have long blocks of text that are single-spaced...that means more words to a page as well.

In fact, with all of these variables, it's possible to get 5,000 words into as few as 12-13 pages without using anything extreme in terms of fonts or margins.

Anonymous said...

Ha. Well, here I am. One of those people. In my defense (? is it though?) I actually AM using word AND the word count! I just foolishly had it in my head that 5000 words was many fewer pages and was wondering why the heck I wasn't getting there more quickly.

Thanks for the help.

Anonymous said...

I am writing a 20 page paper and I am on page 14 and just hit 5000 words