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There are two versions of this software: basic (WFC) and advanced (WFCA). The main difference is that WFC counts words only in single text and text-like files (including HTML and XML files), whereas WFCA counts words and phrases in multiple files in a single operation. If you need to count words in only one file at a time then WFC is what you need. If you have many files, e.g. more than 20, or need more options and functionality, then you need WFCA.
The Advanced Version
This software scans a text file (an ANSI text file, an HTML file, an XML file, etc.), multiple such text files, or text on the clipboard, and counts the number of occurrences of the different words (optionally ignoring common words such as the and this). It also counts the number of occurrences of a word or a phrase in a given list (optionally matching specified patterns). The words or phrases which are found can be listed alphabetically, reverse alphabetically or by frequency, with rank and frequency displayed for each word or phrase.
The Advanced Version does everything that the basic version does. The section below details the additional functionality of the Advanced Version (mainly, the ability to count words in multiple files, the ability to count phrases as well as words and the ability to count occurrences of a word or a phrase which matches a specified pattern). Thus the user manual for the basic version should be read before (or after) reading this page (but note that the appearance of the main window and of the 'Settings' window differ somewhat in the two versions).
This software counts words and phrases in ANSI text and text-like files (including HTML and XML files). It does not act directly on MS-Word .doc files, which are binary files; such files can be scanned if saved as "Plain Text" files (see Scannable Files in the user manual for the basic version).
Differences from the Basic Version
The following features of the Advanced Version are not present in the basic version:
• The inclusion of additional characters which may appear within a word, namely, ampersands, commas, parentheses and user-specified characters (for more on this see What Counts as a Word?). • The ability to ignore a word if it lacks any of several user-specified characters. • The ability to ignore a word matching a given pattern (e.g. ~ing). • The ability to count a word or phrase matching a given pattern (e.g. st~, p?p). • The ability to display words counted in reverse alphabetical order as well as in alphabetical order and by frequency. • The ability to scan not just one file but all files in a folder, and optionally in all subfolders, and to return a single report on the frequencies of words and phrases in all files scanned. • The ability to include or to exclude files of certain types (identified by file extension). • The ability to specify not only a list of words to be ignored (such as common words in a natural language) but also the ability to specify a list of words and phrases which are to be counted (with any word not in this list being ignored). • In the latter case to show, for each word or phrase found, the files in which it occurs. • The ability to switch between multiple files containing words to ignore. • The ability to switch between multiple files containing specified words/phrases to count. • The ability to generate data which can be used to test whether a corpus of text conforms to Zipf's Law.
Note that the software will count all occurrences of words in one or more files, but a phrase to be counted must be included in a list. Specification of phrases is explained in Counting Phrases.
Both the main screen and the parameters screen differ somewhat from those in the basic version, although all the functions of the basic version are retained.