Word Count - Word Processing Features

#1

Is there a way to get a word count in your document, or more specifically in a highlighted area? For example can I highlight a paragraph and get a word count for that paragraph? or is there a way to count the total words in a document? This would improve Coda’s use for things like script writing as part of a larger project.

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#2

I’m very much interested in this as well. I currently use Filemaker for article writing (Apple’s answer to Microsoft Access), and have been looking for an online alternative for years. DabbleDB was great, but were bought up by Twitter and shut down.

For me to switch to Coda, I would need to have better text management features.

For example, I would like to have a table with a list of articles. Then if I click on a row, I’ll get that article’s detail view – including the text of the article, plus a bunch of data fields – due dates, target word count, current word count (need word count function for this!).

I would also need a table with a list of interviews – date, name of the person, company, etc… – and a large text field for the interview transcript.

However, Coda seems to view text docs different from text fields. So if I have a text doc in Coda itself, as a separate section, I can’t get its word count, or link it to a particular data row.

And if I have a text field inside a table, I can’t work on it in a reasonable way in a text editor.

So far, the main online options are pure spreadsheets - like AirTable – or pure text note management, like OneNone and EverNote.

If Coda combined the best of both, I’d be able to use it as a real content management system, the way I did with DabbleDB, and finally migrate off of Filemaker.

Thanks!

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#3

This is probably not an ideal response, and it would definitely be better to just have inbuilt capabilities for things like Word Count, but I have got a workaround that’s at least mostly accurate (and could probably be tweaked to make it more accurate if needed).

Basically, I have a Blog CMS in Coda: a table which contains columns for title, body text (this column is hidden to prevent rows being gigantic), header image, summary, SEO tags etc. I then use a customised Layout in a separate Section as an editor (I actually have three Sections with similar layouts, one for Drafts, one for Editor Sign Off, and one for Published, each using filters).

That layout is designed to look as much like a classical CMS back-end as possible, but lacked a Word Count, so I added a new column to the main table and setup the following formula:

Length(RegexReplace([Article Text],"([^\s])",""))+1

“Article Text” is the name of my column that contains the main body of the blog, but otherwise it should be copy/pastable. All it does is reduce your blog’s text block to only whitespace (spaces, line breaks, tabs) and then count the characters. That gives you the number of “gaps” between words or paragraphs; the +1 is to account for the very last word, which will likely not have any space after it.

The results aren’t perfect, as some characters like en-dashes (i.e. “in the middle of text – having an aside – gives odd results”) which typically have spaces around them get counted as words but, as I said, if you need it to be perfect you could keep tweaking the RegExp to improve it :slight_smile:

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#4

Murray –

That’s similar to the work-around I was using in AirTable for the lack of a WordCount function.

But I am VERY interested in how you set up a blog CMS – I don’t suppose you can share this? Or point to a similar template that already exists?

#5

I’ve tried the Cheddar CMS example, and I honestly can’t make any sense of it. And they seem to want you to cut-and-paste text from one area to another, instead of just editing it in one place.

#6

So it’s very much still a work-in-development, and to be clear I’m not actively pushing or pulling to a website yet, but the general idea goes like this:

  1. Set up a table with all the standard “CMS” fields needed for a blog: Title, Summary, Card Summary, Header Image, Body Content, Author, Publishing Date, Status (i.e. Draft, Pending, Published), Word Count, Last Edited etc.
  2. In a separate section, add a View of that table but choose a Detail display:
    image
  3. I then use the bottom-left Quick Style and customise it; I have this saved as my Editorial Layout:
    image
  4. This is your “CMS View” and can be edited to fit a normal blog layout: image at the top, large title, author and date, summary, article text, word count etc. Ideally you would be able to customise this further, but for now it’s a pretty good option.

So that’s about it. You can select the post you want to edit and write into it like any document editor really. The main downside is that you have to select the “cell” before you can select the position within the text, which can be a bit annoying at times, but otherwise I find it works quite well.

Personally, I’ve actually set up three Sections each with the same Editorial Layout view, but with filters applied to only show Draft articles in one, active editorial in another, and an archive in the final.

image

I’ve also set my main table to hide extremely large cells, like the main body text, so that it’s a useful way of performing quick edits and getting an overview of the articles you have.

In terms of actually getting those posts from/to a website back-end, that’s a part I’ve not setup yet, but the Coda API actually makes this quite simple so you could easily turn Coda into a Headless CMS if you wanted to. There’s also a few automations you can use in Zapier right now to link to services like WordPress. I’d recommend checking out the Editor Kit (https://coda.io/t/Editor-Starter-Kit_tUSnbZefmId) and Blog & Social Media Scheduler (https://coda.io/t/Blog-Social-Media-Scheduler_tnVcnD9EfzI) for some good starting templates :slight_smile:

Let me know if any of that is unclear, hope it’s useful in some way.

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#7

Very cool, thanks! I’ve already started playing with it.

A novel writing helper ideas? (Split formula?)