Microsoft Word provides writers a tool to the gauge reading level of their material. Called readability statistics, this MS Word tool calculates a Flesch Reading Ease score and a Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level. Once the readability statistics feature is enabled, MS Word displays results with each spell check performed. The Word document requires a minimum of 200 words for optimal results.
Enable Readability Statistics in MS Word 2003 or Word 2007
Open Word 2003 or Word 2007. A document does not have to open. The readability statistics feature is functional on all documents, new or previously created, once the feature is enabled.
Word 2003: Click Tools, which is in the top menu bar. Click Options and then click the Spelling & Grammar tab. A checkmark should appear next to “Check grammar with spelling” and “Show readability statistics.” Click OK to exit back to the document.
Word 2007: Click the round Microsoft Office Button (round button, top left of Word). From the drop down, click on Word Options. From the left menu, click Proofing. In resulting pop-up dialog box, the boxes for “Check grammar with spelling” and “Show readability statistics” should be checked. Click OK to exit back to the document.
Readability Statistics Box
Open the document you want to check if it’s not already open. Spell check the document; the easiest way to start spell check is to press the F7 key on the top row of the keyboard. When finished spell checking the document, the Readability Statistics dialog box appears. This feature works when performing a spell check on selected text from the document or spell checking the whole document.
The top section of the Readability Statistics screen breaks down the text to count things like how many sentences or words there are in the document or selected text. This feature is helpful to writers who must fit their writing to a specific format. The bottom section of the Readability Statistics screen helps the writer identify a potential short coming of passive sentences. The Flesch Reading Ease score and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade level fill out the bottom of the Readability Statistics screen.
Understanding the Flesch Reading Ease Test
MS Word counts the number of words in each sentence and the number of syllables of each word. From that, Word calculates an average that appears as the Flesch Reading Ease score ranging from zero to 100. The writing experts at RFP Evaluation Centers indicate that a score of 0-29 is considered very difficult to read; 30-59 is difficult to fairly difficult; 60-79 is standard to fairly easy; and 90-100 is very easy.
Understanding the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Test
The score following the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level indicates a school grade level. The number, like 8.2, might indicate someone with an eighth grade education could comprehend the material. For optimal accuracy, at least 200 words of text should be included in the evaluating spell check.