The info panel is a really effective tool within Adobe InDesign if you know how to use it. There are various features that you simply will be unaware of unless you take a couple of minutes to delve into it's treasures.
Should you want to know how many words are in a section you can highlight the section, then use the info panel to give you the word count. Not only will the info panel give you the word count, it will also furnish you with the letter (or character) count, number of paragraphs and numbers lines.
This is really handy should you want to know how many words you need to fill a space. Simply create the textboxes then link them together. Fill the text boxes with placeholder text. You can do this by double clicking in the first textbox, then from the Menu bar click Type - Fill with Placeholder Text. Select all the text in the linked textboxes (Also referred to as a story). Finally, open the info panel and look at the information you need. The next time you need somebody to contribute an article for your publication then you'll know exactly how many words you'll want from them.
Sometimes you will receive in InDesign document that somebody else has created. That document may include strange characters such as the trademark symbol, copyright symbol or even some weird characters that aren't even in the English alphabet. The info panel can help you out here. Highlight the character, then look in your beloved info panel, and voila! The unicode character is their for your use.