How many times have you tried to enter a message or information into an internet site input fields i.e. name, address, city, state, text messages, etc. only to have an annoying error message pop up saying your entry or message exceeds the maximum number of characters including spaces allowed?
You go back and retype the information only to have the same error message appear. If you’re trying to send a message or request for information in a site, you retype the message, but the input field/box is small. What you type moves up out of sight making it difficult to make see/proof what you typed without scrolling.
You’ve finished typing your message. You scroll back to the top of the input field/box to proof your message. You find an error or two or decide to add more text. When you scroll down to the bottom of the text you find that because you’ve exceeded the maximum characters allowed, what you added caused the last sentence or two has been deleted. You try to type add it back in but the site won’t let you because you’re at the maximum limit… or worse… you send it BEFORE you realize it was incomplete.
How many times do you go through this until the message will go through? After two or three tries you want to give up. Frustrating isn’t it?
I FINALLY got smart (at least about this anyway) and came up with a plan. It’s simple, easy, and MUCH LESS frustrating… trust me.
Almost every site on the internet has maximum number of character limitations for entering information into the appropriate input box or field. It’s usually the maximum number of characters including spaces or it can be maximum number of words or lines. This number might be located someplace around the input box.
However, some sites don’t post this information. Instead, when you exceed the maximum, an error message pops up informing you you’ve exceeded the limit of XX number of characters, words or lines.
If you have a potentially long message to send, to avoid this problem, follow these procedures:
Make a note of the maximum number allowed and whether it’s characters, words or lines.
Leaving the internet site open, minimize the window. Don’t leave the site and do NOT close it out.
- Open up a blank document in Word or whatever word processing program you use.
- Starting on the top line, type the message. Do NOT put in any extra lines at the top or bottom or extra spaces at the end of a paragraph. This will affect the count.
- Read through the message and check for spelling and punctuation errors. (It’s easier to catch these errors when using a word processing program anyway.)
- In Word in the toolbar at the top of the window, Click on Review then Word Count. A small window will appear indicating the number of Pages, Words, Characters (no spaces), Characters (with spaces), Paragraphs and Lines contained in the message. (Now do you see why I said don’t put in any extra lines at the top or bottom or spaces at the end of a paragraph?) (If you don’t use Word, check to see if your word processing program has this feature.)
- If the input field or box in the internet site that you’re trying to enter information into has a maximum limit of, let’s say 200 characters with spaces for example, and your message has 200 or less, you’re fine. You should be able to send it with no problems. NOTE: If your message is at or below the maximum limit follow instructions 6 through 10:
- Highlight the entire message.
- Press Ctrl and C together OR in the toolbar above click on Edit then click on Copy.
- Minimize the Word document containing the message you just typed (don’t close it out) and maximize the internet site window.
- Now place your cursor in the message input box in the internet site. Press Ctrl and V together OR in the toolbar click on Edit then click on Paste. The message should be pasted in the message field/input box.
- Click on Enter or whatever command is in the site to send your message. Your message should go through okay with no more error messages. NOTE: If your message is more than the limit, say 200 characters and you have 350, you’ll have to edit the message until the number of characters is 200 or below. Follow instructions 11 through 12:
- Edit the message. As you edit your message, occasionally check the message for character, word or line count using Steps 3 and 5 above until you reach the maximum count or less.
- Once you’ve edited the message and it contains the required maximum number of characters, words or lines, follow Steps 6 through 10 above.
Below are a few suggested word shortcuts that will save many character spaces:
& sign instead of the word and
w/ instead of the word with
# instead of the word number
% instead of the word percent
+ sign instead of the word plus
– sign instead of the word minus
svcs instead of services
corp instead of corporation
co instead of company
yrs instead of years
min instead of minutes
hrs instead of hours
Numbers instead of typing them out i.e. 4 years instead of four years.
If you find these instructions helpful, download them or highlight/copy/paste them into a blank document to save for future reference or print a copy and save it.
Note: this method can be used in other situations where counting the number of words, lines, pages or characters is important i.e. manuscripts, term papers, etc.
Because I charge by-the-typed-line, I use this method to get an accurate count of the total number of lines in the document to invoice my customers.
I hope my tips, tricks, secrets and shortcuts help you whether you work from home or in the corporate business and want to improve your skills. Be sure to check this BLOG site for more weekly helpful tips, tricks, and shortcuts.
Let me know about a problem you’ve encountered regarding typing, transcription, running a secretarial service at home, data entry, or scanning. I’ll do my best to help. Feel send me your questions in the Leave a Reply section below. Be sure to include your name, email address and clearly state your problem.
Please drop by again. I’ll be here with tips and suggestions.
Gail S. Kibby White
Food for thought: “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.” (Ralph Marston