Word Count is counting citations as words

Word count is treating citations as words. For example, the citations (89) or (7) are counted as words. Is it possible to prevent this somehow?

Citations consist of numbers, and numbers are words. The algorithm for word count is fixed, but you can “find & replace” all numbers in brackets before you take a word count. Save the doc, disable “record changes” (if enabled) and use the “Find & Replace” dialogue, enable “Regular Expression” find and replace the pattern


with an empty string (“Replace All”). Of course, reload the document without saving it before.

Anonymous – Feel free to file an enhancement bug and ask for configurable options for spellcheck (e.g. a switch to not count citations).

@qubit1 – “Feel free to file an enhancement bug…”

OP has reported → Bug 55586 - Word Count Treats Citations as Words.

Now marked as duplicate of → Bug 55359 - Word count gives wrong results.

See also → 4.0 New Features and Fixes · Writer · “Allow extra word boundary characters …”

(fixed in fdo#38983).

There is a certain sense in counting citations as words. Typically an article has a maximum lenght of words as a limit for printing space. Thus it is important to count citations as they require space.
On the other side, the number of citations should normally very much smaller than the number of real words.

What are examples, where citations should not be counted?

Removing citations from the word count is crucial for both academic studies and journalism. Many universities these days don’t include citations in their assessment word limits. And journalistic articles and other written content for publication, especially those written by freelancers who get paid per word, are often commissioned on a word count, but can require references so the editor or proofreader can double-check accuracy.

And obviously word count without citations is crucial for print publication.

I’ve personally never encountered any situation, either academic or professional, where a word count that includes references was required or even useful. But I deal with word counts that need to discount references such as footnotes on a daily basis.

This one issue is the reason I’ll be going back to using Word, rather then Libre Writer, because not being able to see a live-updated word count removes a huge amount of hassle and allows for content planning on the fly.