WBR Quickie: How to Get Readability Stats in Microsoft Word

Here are the instructions to get Microsoft Word to show you your Readability Stats, with pictures for almost every step.

How to Get Readability Stats

1. Open a document to edit in Word.

2. Click “File.” Click “Options" at the bottom to launch the Word Options dialog box.

3. Click “Proofing” in the Word Options dialog box (see pic below next step).

4. Under "When correcting spelling and grammar in Word" check the box for "Show readability statistics." Click OK to close the Word Options box.

5. In the document, click the "Review" tab (see pic under next step).

6. Click "abc check document" at left (or use F7) to open the Editor.

7. The Editor will guide you through suggested changes. It takes a minute to think, then suggests "X Results >." Click on Results (see below) and decide to "ignore once", "don't check for this issue", change your wording, etc.

8. When you've accepted or ignored all the changes, your Readability Stats will show up in a box like this:

These are the Readability Stats for Churchill's Brevity Memo. Bonus points if you can find the passive sentences after reading this blog.

Bonus! Use MS Word to scan for the passive voice:

9. In the Word Options box, under "Writing Style," use the dropdown menu to select "Grammar & Refinements" (the default is usually just "Grammar").

10. Click "Settings....", which will open up the "Grammar Settings" box.

11. Scroll Down to "Clarity and Conciseness." Click the box for "Passive Voice." I would also recommend clicking the box for "Passive Voice with Unknown Actor." Click anything else you like, then click OK.

12. You should be back in the "Word Options" Box. If you want MS Word to point out the passive voice as you're using it, make sure the "Correct grammar errors as you type" box is selected. Then select OK.

That's it! You're all set. Sometimes it takes a moment to kick in. However, if you set it up right, MS Word should now underline in little dots any time you use the passive voice, like so:

This is the pic that shows up if you search Wix for "passive" pictures. Just remember, every time you use the passive voice, PASSIVE SEAL judges you. Don't disappoint PASSIVE SEAL.

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