Countable is a JavaScript function to add live paragraph-, word- and character-counting to an HTML element.



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Countable is a JavaScript function to add live paragraph-, word- and character-counting to an HTML element. Countable is a zero-dependency library and comes in at 1KB when minified and gzipped.

View the Demo


The preferred method of installation is bower.

bower install Countable

Alternatively, you can download the latest zipball or copy the script directly.


Countable is available as a Node / CommonJS module, an AMD module and as a global. All methods are accessed on the Countable object directly.


The live and once methods both accept a callback. The given callback is then called whenever needed with a single parameter that carries all the relevant data. this is bound to the current element. Take the following code for an example.

var area = document.getElementById('text')

Countable.once(area, function (counter) {
  console.log(this, counter)
=> <textarea id="text"></textarea>, { all: 0, characters: 0, paragraphs: 0, words: 0 }
Property Meaning
paragraphs The number of paragraphs. Paragraphs can be separated by either a soft or a hard (two line breaks) return. To use hard returns, set the corresponding option (hardReturns).
words The number of words. Words are split using spaces.
characters The number of characters (without spaces). This contains all non-whitespace characters.
all The number of characters including whitespace. This is the total number of all characters in the element., callback, options)

Bind the callback to all given elements. The callback gets called every time the element's value or text is changed., function (counter) {


Remove the bound callback from all given elements.


Countable.once(elements, callback, options)

Similar to, but the callback is only executed once, there are no events bound.

Countable.once(area, function (counter) {


Checks the live-counting functionality is bound to the given.


Options and Countable.once() both accept a third argument, an options object that allows you to change how Countable treats certain aspects of your element's text.

  hardReturns: false,
  stripTags: false,
  ignoreReturns: false

By default, paragraphs are split by a single return (a soft return). By setting hardReturns to true, Countable splits paragraphs after two returns.

Depending on your application and audience, you might need to strip HTML tags from the text before counting it. You can do this by setting stripTags to true.

In most cases, returns should be counted as part of the all property. Set ignoreReturns to false to remove them from the counter.

Browser Support

Countable supports all modern browsers. Internet Explorer is supported down to version 7. Note that some browsers don't implement the oninput event consistently so there might be differences in the way Countable works in different browsers.

Upgrading from version 1

Upgrading from version 1.x.x is easy. Most likely, you've used something like the following:

var area = document.getElementById('area')

new Countable(area, function (counter) {
}, { stripTags: true })

The new syntax offers more functions as described above, but to keep the live-counting functionality, you just write this:

var area = document.getElementById('area'), function (counter) {
}, { stripTags: true })
  • The callback parameter is no longer optional
  • options.once has been replaced with Countable.once()
  • and Countable.once() both accept one or more elements, rather than just a single one
  • Inside the callback, this is now bound to the current element