TextEdit is a nice, lightweight text editor, but in at least one sense it’s too lightweight: it doesn’t have a word-count feature. One reader figured out a solution, though: an AppleScript that adds a word- and character-count pop-up dialog box to OS X’s built-in editor.
Open AppleScript Editor (in /Applications/Utilities). Visit macworld.com/6196, then copy and paste the code from there into the editor window. That done, save it in youruserfolder/Library/Scripts/Applications/TextEdit (if that folder doesn’t exist already, create it) and give it a name, such as ‘Word count’. Next, open AppleScript Editor’s Preferences, and on the General tab make sure Show Script Menu In Menu Bar is selected.
Now, with any TextEdit document open, you can select your script from the menu bar’s Script menu. When you do so, a small dialog box will appear, telling you the number of words and characters that are in the active document.
Note that you could embed the same script in an Automator-based service, which would then be available in any app. You could also download Devon Technologies’ free WordService (www.devon-technologies.com); its Statistics tool provides word and character counts.