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Converting column length (inches) to word count

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by Stretch15, May 25, 2006.

  1. Stretch15

    Stretch15 Member

    Is there an industry standard, or widely accepted practice, on how to convert column length to word count? Does one inch equal a certain number of words? Or does it vary by newspaper, magazine, etc.
  2. 1 inch = 33 words.
  3. Stretch15

    Stretch15 Member

    Thanks for the knowledge hate.
  4. EStreetJoe

    EStreetJoe Well-Known Member

    Not always 33 words to an inch. It depends on the width of the column and the size of the type font.
    For example there are more words per inch in a 13p2 width column than there is in a 10p10 width column.
  5. Terd Ferguson

    Terd Ferguson Member

    Dividing words by 33 is about as close as you can get without knowing all the design-specific mumbo jumbo. That's gotten me close to the target "inch count" at multiple papers whose designs are about as varried in style and quality as you can imagine.
  6. Orange Hat Bobcat

    Orange Hat Bobcat Active Member

    During my formative years, I was always told that 1 inch equaled 180 characters with spaces. I've stuck pretty closely to that since and it's worked well. Sometimes, I'll be off a tiny bit, but not too often.
  7. FishHack76

    FishHack76 Active Member

    I would say somewhere between 33 to 38 words per inch, depending on your paper's column width. Going with 35 is always easiest, I think, when it comes to doing the math. And in my opinion, have a little more than enough is better than coming up short when it comes to stories. So 12 inches is about 420 words, 15 is 525 and 20 is obviously 700. At my paper, I calculated it once and it was 37.5 words per inch. The best experiment, I think, it to write about a 40-word sentence in your editorial system, etc., and keep cutting off words until it measures out at around an inch. Then you'll know.
  8. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    I've worked off of 200 characters = 1 inch. It's not perfect, but the ballpark is about right everywhere I've been, broadsheets and tabs alike.
  9. Clerk Typist

    Clerk Typist Guest

    Hoping you have a word count gizmo somewhere in your computer for live copy, do this.
    Take a copy of your paper, use the standard column length, measure one inch at the start of the story, and count the words in that inch.
    Do it for several stories, average the total, and you've got your answer.
    You have to do it yourself, because every paper is different.
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