When writing, it can be helpful to know what the readability statistics are in order to determine whether your writing is at the appropriate level for the intended audience. Microsoft Word has the ability to show you both the Flesch Reading Ease score and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level rating. This information is displayed at the conclusion of the Spelling & Grammar check, but you must have the settings turned on first.
Turn On Readability Statistics
To turn on readability statistics in Word, go to File > Options > Proofing. Near the bottom, you will see the options for correcting spelling and grammar. Place a check next to Check grammar with spelling and Show readability statistics as shown below. Click OK to save your changes.
Review Readability Statistics
With the option to display the readability statistics active, as soon as you click OK to complete a spelling and grammar check, then your Readability Statistics will display. For the Flesch Reading Ease score, zero is the most difficult to read and 100 is the easiest. Word suggests hitting between 60 and 70. The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level rating is tied to U.S. school grade reading levels. Aiming for between seven and eight puts your writing at a middle school level and is recommended as a best practice. If you are writing for a more sophisticated audience, you may wish to aim for a higher grade level rating and lower reading ease score.
For information on how these scores are calculated, search “readability scores” in Microsoft Word’s help.
Originally published at Legal Learning Development Network.