Use Calibre to get a word frequency list

June 30, 2021

A decade ago I investigated some software for getting a concordance or word frequency list (https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2010/04/06/word-concordanceword-list-creators/). The tools listed in that post are still available and TextSTAT is quick and easy to download and use. But you can also get a word frequency list from the free ebook publishing software, Calibre (https://calibre-ebook.com/download_windows), as noted in some of the comments on that original post. Today it was time to figure out how to do that, because it’s not easily found.

  1. Open Calibre and add your document to it.
  2. Click Edit Book (NOTE: you may get a message saying you can only edit in a particular format, such as EPUB, in which case you’ll need to convert your document to that format first—use Convert Books > Convert Individually, then select the EPUB output option and wait for it to convert, then click on the converted format in the left pane, then click Edit Book.)
  3. In the new window that opens, select Tools > Reports, then Words from the left column.
  4. You’ll get a list of all words used in the document and their frequency of use. At the bottom of the screen you’ll see how many words are in the document, how many unique words, and the languages used.
  5. Optional: Click on a column heading to sort the list in ascending or descending order by word, language (handy for finding any words using different language settings), or number of times used.
  6. Optional: If you want to save your list as a CSV file for use in Excel, then click Save.

Screen shot of the Edit Book report in Calibre for word frequency

[Links last checked June 2021]

One comment

  1. […] See also: Blog post on how to get word frequency using Calibre: https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2021/06/30/use-calibre-to-get-a-word-frequency-list/ […]

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