The "writing police" hiding in your computer: How to activate Word’s readability stats #writinglegally

Posted on 02-23-2015 by
Tags: writinglegally , legal writing , Upgrading Your Skills

Have you ever had clients that seem to be having trouble reading documents? Chances are that your document may have been a little too wordy, which seems to be a typical occurrence with lawyers. Don’t worry though as Microsoft Word can help you out. According to Lawyerist, while we are aware of Word’s “spell check” feature, it also holds a feature that tells you how readable your documents are.

Besides “spell check”, Word can calculate your Flesch Reading Ease and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level scores as well.

You’re probably wondering what those are and there is no shame in that.

Microsoft says the Flesch Reading Ease “rates text on a 100-point scale. The higher the score, the easier it is to understand the document. For most standard files, you want the score to be between 60 and 70.”

The Flesch-Kinkaid, on the other hand, will tell you the grade level at which someone should be able to read the document. For example, if your document scored a 10.4 grade level, a person in the tenth grade would be able to read your document.

So how do you find these statistics?

First, you need to make sure you have them enabled. In order to enable this action follow the following steps:

  1. In Word, click the File menu (Word 2010/13) or Office button (Word 2007)
  2. Click Options (Bottom Left).
  3. Select Proofing (Left). Make sure that “Check grammar with spelling” and “Show readability statistics” are both checked (you cannot check the statistics option unless the grammar option is checked first).

After completing the preceding steps, the following box (see below) should appear after a quick “spell check”.

Taking these steps to will make their contracts clearer and as a result not make their clients feel lost or overwhelmed when reading a contract. In the end, we can only hope this trend is just starting.


Posted on : 29 Jun 2015 8:09 PM

Thank you for posting this!  I thought Microsoft had removed that feature.

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