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Gould Library staff continue our commitment to support the teaching and research needs of the Carleton community. Information on remote access to library resources and services will be updated regularly on the Remote Resources and Guidance for Library Users page and this FAQ. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need additional assistance.

Biology Comps

Fall 2021 - Spring 2022

Character Count

You will be required to give a "character count" for your comps paper which does not include your title page, in-text citations/bibliography, spaces, figures, and tables. Follow these steps to check your character count in Word when using Zotero:

  1. In your Word document, click on the "Zotero" tab, then click "Document Preferences." Change your citation style to a footnoted style such as "Chicago Manual of Style 17th edition (note)," then click "OK."
  2. Your normal in-text citations will each be replaced by a number in superscript (1, 2, 3...).
  3. Highlight all the text of your comps (not your bibliography!) and open the character count menu (see the above video for a demonstration).
  4. In the character count menu, make sure the box labeled "Include textboxes, footnotes and endnotes" is NOT checked.
  5. Record the number of characters listed for the "Characters (no spaces)" category.
  6. The "Characters (no spaces)" category will count each digit of your numbered in-text citations as a single character (meaning citation number 5 is counted as one character, while citation number 27 is two characters). Count up the total number of characters used by your in-text citations. This will take some basic math: for example, if you have 56 total in-text citations, the first 9 of those will be one character, and the remaining 47 will be two characters. 47 x 2 + 9 = 103, so your in-text citations would be using 103 characters.
  7. Subtract the number of characters used by your in-text citations from the total "Characters (no spaces)" count provided by Word. For example, if my "Characters (no spaces)" count was 9,859 characters, 9,859 - 103 = 9,756, so my actual character count would be 9,756 characters.
  8. Now that you've calculated your actual character count, change the citation style back to Cell or The American Naturalist using the "Document Preferences" menu.
  9. That's it! Your normal in-text citations should reappear.