Keeping track of Page Count with Plain Text

I’m dreaming of grad school using a lot of the workflows that I’ve developed since my undergrad. One of the things I’m looking forward to is writing papers using plain text (and MultiMarkdown specifically).

Those of you who write in a plain text format primarily, how do you keep track of your page count? I know Ulysses has a page count option, but it’s not necessarily for me. I know there are ways to estimate this (~250 words at double spaced) but are there any great tools out there for getting more exact (e.g. simulating word wrap, etc.)? Or is the solution to just be pasting back and forth to a Word doc when getting close? My preferred tools are Scrivener, Drafts, and Sublime Text.

Page count is a function of font type, font size, margins, line spacing and paragraph structure. And college students learned decades ago how to lengthen their papers by even slightly changing those variables. :wink:

If you want to make a rough estimate based on word count, then determine for yourself what fills a page using your defaults, then just do a word count. (Or use an app which does the calculations for you based on your settings.)

FYI character counts are used in publishing to accurately determine the page count of a book or magazine article. Word counts are only approximate, because words vary in length, and because the space(s) between words vary in number. Character counts tell you precisely how much real estate a piece of writing will occupy.

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Why does Ulysses’ estimation not work? Might help in providing alternatives.

I generally just do an output preview if I really want to know. Ulysses, iA Writer, Marked 2… there’s a variety of apps that offer that feature and it only takes a second.

I haven’t given a paper assignment with a page count in years - too much needless work chasing margins, font size, etc. Everything is based on word count.

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I wish this were true for more professors. Unfortunately most of my PhD and Master’s courses had assignments with page limits—and professors rarely also defined requirements like font/margin/spacing…

There are still tricks - shaving margins and line widths. And fonts that look standard but take up more (or less) space than expected.

Page count? How long is a web page? I’d go with word count instead.

I don’t know that there’s anything wrong with its estimation, I just don’t care for using it for writing.

I was surprised in my undergrad to have most of my assignments page-based rather than word count. I’m just trying to be prepared.

What about using pandoc to convert the markdown to doc format? It is possible to set it up so it uses the correct font and margins.

The problem isn’t checking the finished product, just looking for a solution to keep track of page count status in the midst of writing.

My thinking is that you need the finished product to count the pages due to all that was mentioned so far with regard to fonts, margins, etc.

There are ways to make pandoc run every time you save the markdown or at intervals. Maybe there is a way to extract the page count from the doc file.

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Or just figure out the average words per page on your existing papers and use that as an estimate.

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