How to Count the Number of Words in a File from the Command Line on Linux

Shahriar Shovon

Supported OS

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If you want to know how many words are there in a given file on Linux from the command line, you can use the wc command.

The format of wc command for counting words:

You can use the long option or the short option for counting words using the wc command.

Short command format:

wc -w file_path

Long command format:

wc --words file_path

Example - Counting the number of words on the file /etc/apache2/apache2.conf

Remember that, this file is only available on Ubuntu or debian based operating systems in that location. If you're using other Linux distributions such as CentOS or RedHat, the file should be in /etc/httpd directory. Now let's get back to where we were, Counting the number of words in a apache configuration file. To count the number of words in apache configuration file, run the following command. /etc/apache2/apache2.conf 1099 /etc/apache2/apache2.conf You can see from the output that, the apache2.conf file on my Ubuntu system contains 1099 words in total. Tested on: Ubuntu 16.04LTS