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How many pages of text will one megabyte hold?

Answer: There is no exact answer to this question, because every page is different. Some pages are single-spaced, some double-spaced, some use large fonts, and some use small fonts. So, the number of characters on a given page can vary widely. Since the number of characters are what determine the page size, you can see why it is hard to estimate how many pages make up a megabyte.

You can be a little more accurate if you know how much space each character takes up. And this is pretty simple because 1 character = 1 byte. So, about 1000 characters equal 1 kilobyte. If a page has 2000 characters on it (a reasonable average for a double-spaced page), then it will take up 2K (2 kilobytes). That means it will take about 500 pages of text to equal one megabyte. If a page has 4000 characters (single-spaced), then it will take about 250 pages of text to equal one megabyte.

Keep in mind, this is plain text we are talking about. A 100 page test document I created with Microsoft Word took up 376K in plain text format. When I saved the same document in the native Word format, the size blew up to 872K. Apparently Word documents require a lot of overhead for formatting and other information.

Web pages consist of HTML, so they are similar to plain text documents. However, HTML code often includes many lines with only one word (or HTML tag). This means "pages" of HTML within a Web page take up significantly less space than an average page of text.

Published: July 3, 2005 — by Per Christensson

Answer from the PC Help Center