Enabling Readability Statistics in Word 2010, to evaluate the writing’s complexity.
This can be useful if you are writing a document aimed toward a particular level of audience, for example either the comprehension level of undergraduates or an average 11 year old. For reading ease in most documents you’ll want to aim between a score of 60/70, see Flesch-Kincaid readability tests.
Note: The following configuration must be done BEFORE you create the Word Document you want to analyse.
- Open Word.
- Select File > Options from the toolbar.
- The Word Options dialog box will appear. Click the Proofing tab on the left.
- In the section ‘When correcting spelling and grammar in Word’ tick both Check grammar with spelling and Show readability statistics. Click OK.
- Add text to a new document.
- Click the Review tab and select the Spelling & Grammar button (F7). Once complete the Readability Statistics box will pop up.
- Passive Sentences, or the percentage of sentences written in the passive voice. Active voice is considered to be more readable (i.e. concise and more dynamic), therefore aim for a lower percentage of passive sentences (below 20%).
- Flesch Reading Ease, or readability based on the average number of syllables per word and the average number of words per sentence. Standard writing averages 60 to 70 on a 100-point scale. The higher the score, the easier it is to understand your document.
- Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, or readability based on the average number of syllables per word and the average number of words per sentence. This score rates text on a U.S. gradeschool level and tells you the number of years of education that are needed to understand your text. For example, a score of 8 means that a eight-grader (a 13–14 year old) can understand the document. For most documents, aim for a score of approximately 7.0 to 8.0.
Note: If you want to check statistics for a small portion of your document, just select the text first. Run the Spelling and Grammar check. When the box pops up ‘Word finished checking the selection. Do you want to continue checking the remainder of the document?’ Click No. The Readability Statistics will then report back for just the selected text.
If you find your readability statistics are incorrect or missing, you can try trouble shooting using Microsoft Support’s knowledge base.