The truth is there is no definitive answer to this question. The number of words it will take to fill a page will depend on a number of factors including the type of font used, the font size, spacing elements, the margins used on the paper, the paragraph length, etc. For example, if the assignment says the writing should be in 10-point font, it’s going to take a greater number of words to fill a page than if the assignment requires a 12-point font.
For those who need a general rule of thumb, a typical page which has 1-inch margins and is typed in 12 point font with standard spacing elements will be approximately 500 words when typed single spaced. For assignments that require double spacing, it would take approximately 250 words to fill the page. For an assignment that requires you to write four pages, you can make the estimation that you’ll need to write approximately 2000 words for a single spaced paper, or 1000 words if the assignment is double spaced. Again, the type of font used can make the word count higher or lower, but it’s a good rule of thumb for those who are simply looking for a general estimation.
Since there can be a large variation on the number of words needed to fill a page, most papers are no longer assigned by page count. They are instead assigned by word count. That is, an assignment, essay or paper will likely be assigned as 1500 – 2000 words rather than 3 – 4 pages. This way it is much more difficult for the writer to “game the system” by using large fonts and excessive spacing to meet the writing criteria.
If you are given a writing assignment with a page number, the best thing to do is go directly to the person who made the assignment and ask for a word count. This will take away all the variations and help ensure your writing assignment meets expectations. If it’s for something informal and you simply need a general guideline, you can find it below.
How many pages is…
The below list is an approximation, and actual pages will differ depending on a number of factors mentioned earlier in this article. Use the below information for a general reference, but don’t assume it will be the case at all times. Here are basic word to pages conversions:
- 500 words is 1 page single spaced, 2 pages double spaced.
- 1,000 words is 2 pages single spaced 4 pages double spaced.
- 1,500 words is 3 pages single spaced, 6 pages double spaced.
- 2,000 words is 4 pages single spaced, 8 pages double spaced.
- 2,500 words is 5 pages single spaced, 10 pages double spaced.
- 3,000 words is 6 pages single spaced, 12 pages double spaced.
- 4,000 words is 8 pages single spaced, 16 pages double spaced.
- 5,000 words is 10 pages single spaced, 20 pages double spaced.
- 7,500 words is 15 pages single spaced, 30 pages double spaced.
- 10,000 words is 20 pages single spaced, 40 pages double spaced.
- 20,000 words is 40 pages single spaced, 80 pages double spaced.
- 25,000 words is 50 pages single spaced, 100 pages double spaced.
- 30,000 words is 60 pages single spaced, 120 pages double spaced.
- 40,000 words is 80 pages single spaced, 160 pages double spaced.
- 50,000 words is 100 pages single spaced, 200 pages double spaced.
- 60,000 words is 120 pages single spaced, 240 pages double spaced.
- 70,000 words is 140 pages single spaced, 280 pages double spaced.
- 75,000 words is 150 pages single spaced, 300 pages double spaced.
- 80,000 words is 160 pages single spaced, 320 pages double spaced.
- 90,000 words is 180 pages single spaced, 360 pages double spaced.
- 100,000 words is 200 pages single spaced, 400 pages double spaced.
Below are basic pages to words conversions:
- 1 page is 500 words single spaced, 250 words double spaced.
- 2 pages is 1,000 words single spaced, 500 words double spaced.
- 3 pages is 1,500 words single spaced, 750 words double spaced.
- 4 pages is 2,000 words single spaced, 1,000 words double spaced.
- 5 pages is 2,500 words single spaced, 1,250 words double spaced.
- 6 pages is 3,000 words single spaced, 1,500 words double spaced.
- 7 pages is 3,500 words single spaced, 1,750 words double spaced.
- 8 pages is 4,000 words single spaced, 2,000 words double spaced.
- 9 pages is 4,500 words single spaced, 2,250 words double spaced.
- 10 pages is 5,000 words single spaced, 2,500 words double spaced.
- 15 pages is 7,500 words single spaced, 3,750 words double spaced.
- 20 pages is 10,000 words single spaced, 5,000 words double spaced.
- 25 pages is 12,500 words single spaced, 6,250 words double spaced.
- 30 pages is 15,000 words single spaced, 7,500 words double spaced.
- 40 pages is 20,000 words single spaced, 10,000 words double spaced.
- 50 pages is 25,000 words single spaced, 12,500 words double spaced.
- 60 pages is 30,000 words single spaced, 15,000 words double spaced.
- 70 pages is 35,000 words single spaced, 17,500 words double spaced.
- 75 pages is 37,500 words single spaced, 18,750 words double spaced.
- 80 pages is 40,000 words single spaced, 20,000 words double spaced.
- 90 pages is 45,000 words single spaced, 22,500 words double spaced.
- 100 pages is 50,000 words single spaced, 25,000 words double spaced.
(Photo courtesy of Horia Varlan)
By Fiona Raven, book designer
You’ve finished your manuscript (or nearly finished it!) and you’re ready to get some quotes for book design and printing. But first you’ll want to know approximately how many pages your finished book will have. Here’s a simple way to calculate your book’s approximate page count using the word count of your manuscript.
Find your word count
In Word, click anywhere in your document and your word count will show in the status bar at the bottom left, between the number of pages and the dictionary language.
Choose a trim size
You’ll need to choose a trim size for your book just as a starting point, so choose the one below that’s the most appropriate for your book:
For fiction: 5.5″ x 8.5″
For nonfiction: 6″ x 9″
Large format books with illustrations are more difficult to predict the final page count, but usually large pages will have a similar amount of text as small pages, as part of the large page will be devoted to illustrations, sidebars, captions, and so on. Choose one of the above sizes, even for your large format book, just as a starting point.
Calculate the number of pages
Using your current word count and the appropriate formula below, calculate the number of pages you can expect in your finished book:
Your word count divided by 390 = page count for a 5.5″ x 8.5″ book
For example: 50,000 divided by 390 = 128.20 pages
Your word count divided by 475 = page count for a 6″ x 9″ book
For example: 50,000 divided by 475 = 105.26 pages
As you can see, a smaller trim size will produce more pages for the same word count, and a larger trim size will produce less. These formulas are based on using:
- a standard typeface for book publishing (Garamond)
- a standard type size (11 pt)
- standard margins
- standard spacing (the first line of each paragraph is indented, and there are no blank lines between paragraphs)
Calculate the number of pages for front and back matter
Don’t forget to add to your page count a title page, copyright page, table of contents, appendix, index, and any other pages that are not included in your manuscript but will form part of your published book.
I also add an extra half page for each chapter, because each chapter opens slightly down from the top margin, and seldom ends at the bottom of the last page.
Calculate the number of pages your images will require
Will you be adding images to your pages? If so, the number and size of your images will affect your page count. Here’s an easy way to calculate how many extra pages your images will require:
- count your images and divide them into rough sizes: full page, half page and quarter page
- calculate the number of pages based on these figures. For example:
5 images @ 1 page = 5 pages
20 images @ 0.5 page = 10 pages
20 images @ 0.25 page = 5 pages
And finally, calculate the approximate number of pages in your upcoming book!
Add together the number of pages from your:
- word count
- front and back matter
Knowing your approximate page count can be helpful in a number of situations. You can start obtaining quotes for printing, calculating costs of shipping, and choosing a price for your book, well in advance of having your book designed.
Controlling your page count
You may be surprised by your page count, and realize that your book is going to be thinner or thicker than you anticipated. Moving to even a slightly larger page size can lower your page count and save printing costs. Or, if your book is slimmer than you’d hoped, you can choose a smaller page size, a larger font size, and a paragraph style which adds more generous spacing (and more pages) to your book.
This type of information is very helpful to your book designer. If your book needs to be thicker to improve perceived value, your book designer can help in many ways. Similarly, if your book is lengthy and you want to keep printing and shipping costs down, your book designer can minimize your page count by creating a design with this in mind.
Thanks for making it through this lengthy post. I hope it’s helpful!
Fiona Raven is a freelance book designer
Find her on Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook