Word and Character Count – Google Chrome Extension

Jump straight to the Extension!

Yesterday, I wrote my first Google Chrome extension. The feature that was really keeping me on Firefox all this while was the Ubiquity add on, and though it still works, Mozilla has decided to put a hold on Ubiquity’s development.

Without Ubiquity to hold me back, I succumbed to Google Chrome’s seductive minimalistic interface, blistering speed and overall smoothness. And since the Chrome Extension gallery didn’t have an extension to count the words and characters in a selection, I decided to write one myself since it’s absolutely essential to me as a writer.

This is the first time I’m writing an extension for a browser (I don’t count Ubiquity commands as extensions as such), and the results are pretty neat. It took me well over a day to figure out exactly what the architecture of an extension is and I almost lost my head trying to implement things like message passing, but I finally came through with the goods :)

This is what the extension I wrote looks like – Word and Character Count:

Google Chrome Extension - Word and Character Count

Google Chrome Extension - Word and Character Count

I’m not much of a designer, so the logo for my extension is just a big blue “W” and the output simply gives the number of words and characters – good enough for my needs. Initially it was just a word count extension and then two people were kind enough to use it and suggest that I include a character counter too – which I did promptly.

So if you’re a writer using Google Chrome, be sure to install my humble contribution to the Google Chrome universe :D

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  1. Michael says:


    First thank you for developing this. It can be extremely useful for me as I work for a company that helps non profits send text messages, and character count is always a concern. Unfortunately, in Chrome, it is not able to count characters when I’m typing an email in gmail. This is my most common use case.

    This feature would make my month!



    • bhagwad says:

      Thanks for feedback Michael. In think there are technical limitations to using the extension in Gmail…but I’m so far removed from that phase that I’m not sure I know myself now how the extension works!

  2. sunn_er says:

    Thank you for extensions :)

    This is open-source ?

    • bhagwad says:

      Sure, just download the crx file from Google, open it up and take a peek :)

      • sunn_er says:

        Hmm … Someone else for his extension told me the same thing. ” download the crx from google ” But i can not save as the crx file on my desktop as a file. Chrome automatically install the crx file and removes it. I try it to download from firefox but the install button was disabled. How can i download it ?

        And if we can download all crx files and we can open it, that means all extensions for chrome are open source ?

        Thank you again! :)

      • bhagwad says:

        You can get the crx file of any installed Chrome extension in Windows by going to this folder:

        C:/Users/%username%/AppData/Local/Google/Chrome/User Data/Default/Extensions

        Enjoy :)

  3. ahmed says:

    Thanks for this word count nice tool but it always display word count = 1 when not selecting any text

  4. word counter says:

    this counter always display word count = 1 when not selecting any text. is this a bug ?

  5. Nayana Holanda de Abreu says:

    Awesome man, thank you very much. o/

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