When you are given a writing assignment in college, either a certain number of pages or a particular word count is required. If the assignment is to write a six-page paper on a topic related to the American Revolution, you may wonder how many words are in six pages. The fact is there is no perfect answer to this question. How many words there are on a page depends on the font type, font size, spacing, margins and paragraph length. Depending on the assignment, the Professor may require students to divide their papers into sections, with headings and subheadings. That can also affect the number of words per page.
For college essays and papers, the typical font types are Times New Roman, Arial, and Verdana. The standard font size requirement is 12pt, and the margin requirements are one-inch on all sides. Also, in college, papers must usually be double-spaced, though single-spacing can also be required by some Professors.
There are general guidelines, on how many pages it takes to reach a word count. For example, a 2000-word essay is approximately four pages when single spaced and eight pages when double spaced. A 60,000 word dissertation written by a Ph.D. candidate is about 120 pages single spaced and 200 pages double spaced.
Calculating Words per Page
Let’s say a student must write a short essay with 1000 words. The assignment calls for Times New Roman 12pt font, one-inch margins, and double spacing. So, how many pages is 1000 words going to take up? The answer is about four pages. If the student uses the Arial typeface instead, the total number of pages will be about 3.7. And when using Verdana, the number of pages will be approximately 4.4.
What about an essay that must be 1500 words? How many pages is 1500 words? Using our Word Counter, the average number of pages for 1500 words is three pages when single-spaced and six pages when double-spaced. Now, let’s say the spacing must be 1.5 per the assignment instructions. If a student uses the Times New Roman font type, and the font size requirement is 12pt, then the number of pages to reach 1500 words is approximately 4.8, which rounds up to about five pages.
How Many Words are in a Speech?
Another typical college assignment entails giving a speech in front of your peers. For example, your Chemistry professor may require you to give a 5-minute speech on an element from the Periodic Table. In preparing the speech, you will need to know how many words are in a 5-minute speech. Again, there is no definitive answer because pacing (how many words you speak per minute) and pausing (breaking between sentences/paragraphs) will affect the total time it takes. Daphne Gray-Grant over at Visual Thesaurus writes: “The average person speaks at somewhere between 125 and 150 words per minute.”
For a five-minute speech done by a person speaking 150 words per minute, the approximate word count is around 750. However, as a general rule of thumb for giving speaches you should use around 100–200 words per minute. This is because for public speaking it is better to speak slowly so your audience understands what you are saying. Hence, a five-minute speech using this general rule will have somewhere in the range of 500–1000 words.
Word Counts for Publishing
For those people that are out of college and writing professionally (i.e. publishing their work), another factor when considering how many words there are per page is how the final work is to be printed. In addition to the layout, the font type and size used for published works is often quite different from college papers. For published books, mainly paperback novels, fonts such as Garamond and Calibri are often used. However, there is not hard and fast rule, as a different font can be utilized depending on the subject, genre, or any number of other factors. The size of the font often used in paperback novels commonly ranges from 10pt to 14pt.
Other factors that will affect the number of words per page in a published book include:
Whether the book has pictures, charts, graphs, etc.
The formatting for a book containing such elements means the word count will differ from a book that has only words.
The spacing of the text and between paragraphs.
In most paperback and hardcover novels, the text in the final printed book is single-spaced. Also, a lot of publishers like to put extra spaces between sections of the book to separate point-of-views and settings.
The physical dimensions of the book.
The typical dimensions for a novel are either 5x8 inches or 6x9 inches. It all depends on how the publisher prints the final work and whether it is a hardcover or paperback.
The Reading Level of the book.
For example, children’s books are going to have fewer words per page than a book meant for adult readers.
Common Novel: Word Counts per Page
How many words per page are there in a typical novel? For manuscripts, the answer is about 250–300 words per page if it is double-spaced. A manuscript for a novel is typically 500 words if single-spaced. When the final work is printed for sale and published, the number of words per page will differ.
So, how many pages is 500 words? For a manuscript, the answer is two pages if the word count per page is 250 and it is double spaced. If single-spaced, it is one page. It all depends on the font type, font size, spacing, and formatting of the text. If a novel has a total of 80,000 words with 300 words per page, the number of manuscript pages is 267.
It is interesting, as well as necessary at times, to look at the number of words per page. If you are a college student writing a paper, knowing how many words per page there are in your essay helps you track your progress to the required word count for the assignment. If you are an author working on your next bestseller, you should know that a typical manuscript with double-spaced text has about 250 words per page. Overall, there are multiple answers to the question regarding the number of words per page, as it all depends on font type, font size, and formatting.
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The word count for a page will vary depending on font size and type, margin size, and spacing elements (single/double space, blank lines, subheadings, graphics).
For a page with 1 inch margins, 12 point Times New Roman font, and minimal spacing elements, a good rule of thumb is 500 words for a single spaced page and 250 words for a double spaced page. Using this as an example, a 3-4 page double spaced paper is 750-1000 words, and a 7 page double spaced paper would be 1750 words.
Assignments often specify a research paper or essay length in terms of words, rather than pages - a paper of 750-1000 words or a paper of 1500-1750 words. This way a student's paper will still meet their instructor's length expectations, regardless of varying font size, margin size, or use spacing elements.
When viewing an electronic version of a student paper in MicroSoft Word, the exact word count can be easily determined. Some research assignments require students to include the word count of their paper.
Also, clarify with your instructor whether the words on the title page, abstract (if used), and reference list count toward the expected word/page count.