Thursday, April 30, 2009

How readable is your Word document

Most programs have features that people don't use. As a matter of fact, I read a few years back that Microsoft estimates that people use less than 20% of the features in their tools. For example, in Word, things like file comparison, commenting and change tracking, mail merge, tables of contents, and many more go unused as people do things in a much slower and much less efficient way. As someone who uses these programs to a very high level, I rarely run across something I didn't know.

Earlier this semester, our internship coordinator was showing me a tool that will check how readable a document is. There is apparently something called the Flesch-Kincaid model, which analyzes word usage and will figure out what grade level and how easy to read your document is.

Out of curiosity, I just ran this on a recent assignment I gave in the class, and here are the grade levels:
  • 14.6 (like a college sophomore level)
  • 14.2 (same)
  • 12.1 (just above a high school senior)
  • 10.0 (high school junior)
  • 8.0 (eighth grade)
You can do this yourself. Basically, you enable this option, and after you run a spelling and grammar check, it will show you the statistics. This is a pretty cool option, and if you find your paper is at a lower level, you can always improve it by doing a little editing. Try it out on your papers today!

Link to instructions

1 comment:

David J. Csuha, CPP, CFE said...

This is an excellent tool for students gearing up to take the Graduate Writing Exam!