Sometimes I have to draft text that has either a word limit or a character limit.

A long time ago, I used to do this by using a text editor that had a status bar. The status bar would say something like "120 words (15 selected)" or "1238 characters (130 selected)".

This was very useful because I could draft multiple pieces of text in the same file, and to check if one piece was within the word limit I could just select it, with no other action needed.

Unfortunately that's kind of a distant memory and I don't remember which editor that was. So I'm looking for a text editor with all of the following features:

  • always displays number of words when typing (or has the option to do so)
  • also always displays number of characters when typing (or has the option to do so)
  • can display the number of words and characters selected whenever text is selected, without needing to click on anything
  • does "soft wrapping" (i.e. displays paragraphs of text in a convenient way without increasing the character count by adding newline characters. Any editor designed for text will do this but some code editors will not.)
  • runs on a Mac

Ideally I'd prefer something as lightweight as possible within those constraints - just a simple text editor that I can leave open all the time, rather than a complicated code editor with plugins.

1 Answer 1


Here's a self-answer, which I found in the answers to Extremely lightweight text editor for OSX that just edits text after I wrote this question:

CotEditor has exactly the features I asked for, and in addition is very lightweight. You don't even have to set it up I don't think, it just does what I asked for by default. The selection counts are shown in brackets in the status bar.

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