Readability Scores

Coleman-Liau Readability Score

Also known as: Coleman-Liau, Coleman-Liau grade, Coleman-Liau grade level, Coleman-Liau grade level score, Coleman-Liau readability score, Coleman grade level score, Coleman score, Liau reading score, Liau grade level, Coleman-Liau reading level, or Coleman-Liau score.


The Coleman-Liau Grade Level readability score score gauges the understandability of a text. The formula uses word length in characters and sentence length in words to determine a score corresponding to the estimated grade level or grade level score.

Coleman-Liau Grade Level Formula

Also known as: Coleman-Liau readability, Coleman-Liau reading assessment, Coleman-Liau readability assessment, Coleman-Liau equation, Coleman-Liau reading, Coleman-Liau reading ease, Coleman-Liau readability test, or Coleman-Liau scale.

The formula for the Coleman-Liau Grade Level score is:

(5.89 x (AWL / ASL))
- ( ((3 x ANS) / 1000) x ASL )
- 15.8


CLGL : Coleman-Liau grade level score
AWL : average word length or number of characters per word (number of characters divided by the number of words)
ASL : average sentence length in words or average number of words in sentence (number of words divided by the number of sentences)
ANS : average number of sentences

Common misspellings: coelman-liau, coldman-liau, coleman-laiu, cloeman-liau, colman-liau, coleman-laiu, coleman liua, coleman-lau, coleman-liu, or coleman-ilau.

Best-known Readability Statistics, Scores, and Formulas

The Coleman-Liau readability score is part of the best-known readability scores, amongst other indicators measuring how easily an adult can read and understand a text. Readability statistics are good predictors of the level of difficulty of documents, particularly technical ones. They present different readability scores that are computed using readability formulas. Other readability statistics most commonly used are:

How to display Coleman-Liau Readability Score in Microsoft MS Word?

Microsoft Word (MS Word), as a powerful word processor, provide you with a built-in tool to display the score list, amongst other readability statistics, but, unfortunately, not Coleman-Liau readability score:

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Spelling & Grammar tab.
  2. Select the Check grammar with spelling check box.
  3. Select the Show readability statistics check box, and then click OK.
  4. Click Spelling and Grammar on the Standard toolbar.
    It is only when Word finishes checking spelling and grammar that it will display information about the reading level of the document. To skip the correction process, press the "Ignore All" button located in the upper right part of the suggestion box, then will appear the statistics box. Coleman-Liau score is not listed but can be computed, as shown in the next section, by applying the aforementioned formula with the average number of words, characters, and sentences displayed in the statistics list.

Be aware that MS Word displays such scores for text in the last language that was checked, likely in the last processed paragraph.

Our Microsoft's version of the Coleman-Liau readability score

Although MS Word doesn't provide the Coleman-Liau Readability level per se, it's still possible to compute it from the statistics handy, namely the average number of words, characters, and sentences displayed in the statistics list and programmatically available from the built-in document statistics object in MS Word.

Coleman-Liau Reading Ease Score Macro Source Code:

' Implement your own readability scores, including
' the Coleman-Liau score, by using the built-in
' readability scores object provided by Microsoft Word

' Macro written using Visual Basic (VB) Editor

Sub Display_Readability_Scores_Marco()
' Start of the readability statistics marco
   Dim Stats As String
   Dim Words As String
   Dim Characters As String
   Dim Paragraphs As String
   Dim Sentences As String
   Dim Sentences_per_paragraph As String
   Dim Words_per_sentence As String
   Dim Characters_per_word As String
   Dim Ratio_of_passive_sentences As String
   Dim Flesch_Reading_Ease_score As String
   Dim Flesch_Kincaid_Grade_Level_score As String
   Dim Coleman_Liau_Readability_Score As String

   ' There are 10 statistical parameters
   ' Get their value from the built-in statistics object

   Words                            = ActiveDocument.Content.ReadabilityStatistics(1).Value
                       = ActiveDocument.Content.ReadabilityStatistics(2).Value
                       = ActiveDocument.Content.ReadabilityStatistics(3).Value
                        = ActiveDocument.Content.ReadabilityStatistics(4).Value
          = ActiveDocument.Content.ReadabilityStatistics(5).Value
               = ActiveDocument.Content.ReadabilityStatistics(6).Value
              = ActiveDocument.Content.ReadabilityStatistics(7).Value
       = ActiveDocument.Content.ReadabilityStatistics(8).Value
        = ActiveDocument.Content.ReadabilityStatistics(9).Value
= ActiveDocument.Content.ReadabilityStatistics(10).Value

' Compute Coleman-Liau score
   Coleman_Liau_Readability_Score = Int((5.89*Characters/Words)-(3*Sentences)/(1000*Words)-15.8)

= "BASIC COUNTERS"             & vbCrLf & _
           ""                           & vbCrLf & _
           "Characters"                 & vbTab & vbTab & " : " & Characters & vbCrLf & _
           "Words"                      & vbTab & vbTab & vbTab & " : " & Words & vbCrLf & _
           "Sentences"                  & vbTab & vbTab & " : " & Sentences & vbCrLf & _
           "Paragraphs"                 & vbTab & vbTab & " : " & Paragraphs & vbCrLf & __
                           & vbCrLf & _
           "RATIOS"                     & vbCrLf & _
           ""                           & vbCrLf & _
           "Characters per word"        & vbTab & " : " & Characters_per_word & vbCrLf & _
           "Words per sentence"         & vbTab & " : " & Words_per_sentence & vbCrLf & _
           "Sentences per paragraph"    & vbTab & " : " & Sentences_per_paragraph & vbCrLf & _
           ""                           & vbCrLf & _
           "READABILITY SCORES"         & vbCrLf & _
           ""                           & vbCrLf & _
           "Passive Sentences"          & vbTab & vbTab & " : " & Ratio_of_passive_sentences & vbCrLf & _
           "Flesch Reading Ease"        & vbTab & " : " & Flesch_Reading_Ease_score & vbCrLf & _
           "Flesch Kincaid Grade Level" & vbTab & " : " & Flesch_Kincaid_Grade_Level_score & vbCrLf & _
           "Coleman-Liau readability"   & vbTab & " : " & Coleman_Liau_Readability_Score & vbCrLf

   ' Display all readability scores parameters
   MsgBox Stats, vbOKOnly, "Readability Statistics"

' End of the readability statistics macro
End Sub  ' Sub Display_Readability_Scores_Marco()


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