Texcount.pl

September 21, 2009 at 5:31 am

| Gabriel |

Somebody recently asked me for a projected word count of my manuscript (which is in Lyx) and to answer this question I found the amazingly useful script texcount.pl. If you just run “wc” (or the equivalent in a text editor) on a tex or lyx file you count all the plain text and the markup code. Not only does this script screen out the meta-text, but it can give you detailed breakdowns of words, figures, and captions — all broken out by section.

I like to keep scripts in “~/scripts/” so to make this script readily accessible from the command-line I entered the command:

echo "alias texcount='perl ~/scripts/TeXcount_2_2/texcount.pl'" >> ~/.bashrc

Now to run the command I just go to the terminal and type

texcount foo.tex

You should really check out the options if you have a long and complex document. My favorite option is “-sub”. This gives a detailed breakdown of word count, figure count, etc, by chapter, section, or whatever.

texcount -sub foo.tex

Remember that if you always use a certain option, you can write it into the alias command.

Lyx has a similar basic command built in (Tools/Statistics), but it doesn’t give as much information and doesn’t break out the data by section. To use texcount with lyx files, you first need to export Lyx to Latex which you can do from the GUI (File/Export/Latex), but if you’re using texcount anyway you should just use the command line.

lyx --export latex foo.lyx

That works for Linux but on a Mac this will work more consistently

exec '/Applications/Lyx.app/Contents/MacOS/lyx' --export latex foo.lyx

That’s a long command, so on my Mac I created an alias as “lyx2tex”

echo "alias lyx2tex='exec /Applications/Lyx.app/Contents/MacOS/lyx --export latex'" >> ~/.bashrc

Note that all this works on POSIX but may require some modification to work with Windows (unless it has CygWin).

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