 # Excel Count Functions

See 7 ways to count in Excel. Examples and video tutorials show how to count Excel cells with numbers, text, blanks, or cells that contain specific words or other criteria

## Overview: 7 Ways to Count in Excel

To see a quick overview of 7 ways to count in Excel, watch this short video. Or, watch the Slide Show: 7 Ways to Count, further down on this page.

Get the 7 Ways to Count sample workbook, so you can follow along with the video.

## Count Numbers, All Data, or Blank Cells

This video shows the COUNT function, the COUNTA function, and the COUNTBLANK function, and warns of the quirks in counting some types of cells.

Written instructions are below the video. Count Cells with Numbers, Count Cells with Data and Count Blank Cells. Also, get the sample workbook, to see all the formulas.

### Count Cells with Numbers -- COUNT

The COUNT function will count cells that contain numbers. Its syntax is:
=COUNT(value1, value2,...value30).
The arguments (e.g. value1) can be cell references, or values typed into the COUNT formula.

The following COUNT function example uses one argument -- a reference to cells A1:A5.

1. Enter the sample data on your worksheet
2. In cell A7, enter an COUNT formula, to count the numbers in column A:   =COUNT(A1:A5)
3. 4. Press the Enter key, to complete the formula.
5. The result will be 3, the number of cells that contain numbers.
Cell A1 isn't counted, because it contains text. Note: Since dates are stored as numbers, the COUNT function will include any cells that contain dates.

### Count Cells with Data -- COUNTA

The COUNTA function will count cells that are not empty. (See note on blank cells below)

Its syntax is:
=COUNTA(value1, value2,...value30).
The arguments (e.g. value1) can be cell references, or values typed into the formula. The following example uses one argument -- a reference to cells A1:A5.

1. Enter the sample data on your worksheet
2. In cell A7, enter a COUNTA formula, to count the numbers in column A:   =COUNTA(A1:A5)
3. 4. Press the Enter key, to complete the formula.
5. The result will be 4, the number of cells that contain data.

### Count Blank Cells -- COUNTBLANK

The COUNTBLANK function will count cells that are empty. (See note on blank cells below)

Its syntax is:
=COUNTBLANK(range).
The following example uses a reference to cells A1:A5.

1. Enter the sample data on your worksheet
2. In cell A7, enter a COUNTBLANK formula, to count the numbers in column A:   =COUNTBLANK(A1:A5)
3. 4. Press the Enter key, to complete the formula.
5. The result will be 1, the number of empty cells.

### Cells That Look Blank

Both COUNTA and COUNTBLANK will count cells with formulas that look empty, if the formula result is an empty string {""). The empty string is treated as text, and counted.

For example, =IF(B2="","",B2).

Both COUNTA and COUNTBLANK will also count cells which had formulas that returned an empty string, but then were converted to values, by copying and pasting as values.

• NOTE: You can see apostrophes in those "non-blank" converted cells, if you add a check mark to Excel Options, Advanced, Lotus Compatibility, "Transition navigation keys."

To fix cells that look blank, but are being counted, see my Contextures blog: Fix Blank Excel Cells Copied From Database  ▲TOP

## Count cells that match one criterion

This video shows how to use the Excel COUNTIF function to count cells that contain a specific string of text, such as "Pen". You can also find text that is part of a cell -- how many orders were placed for any kind of pen, such as "Gel Pen", "Pen" or even a "Pencil"?

The written instructions are below the video: Match criterion exactly and Match criterion in a string

### Match one criterion exactly -- COUNTIF

In Excel, count cells that meet a specific criterion. In this example only the Pen orders will be counted.

1. Select the cell in which you want to see the count (cell A12 in this example)
2. Type an equal sign (=) to start the formula
3. Type:   COUNTIF(
4. Select the cells that contain the values to check for the criterion. In this example, cells A1:A10 will be checked
5. Type a comma, to separate the arguments
6. Type the criterion. In this example, you're checking for text, so type the word in double quotes:   "Pen"
Note: upper and lower case are treated equally
7. Type a closing bracket
The completed formula is: =COUNTIF(A1:A10,"Pen")
8. 9. Press the Enter key to complete the entry
10. The result will be 4, the number of cells that contain "Pen"  ▲TOP

### Match criterion in a string

In Excel, count cells that contain a criterion as part of the cell's contents. In this example all Pen, Gel Pen, and Pencil orders will be counted, because they contain the string "pen".

1. Select the cell in which you want to see the count (cell A12 in this example)
2. Type an equal sign (=) to start the formula
3. Type:   COUNTIF(
4. Select the cells that contain the values to check for the criterion. In this example, cells A1:A10 will be checked
5. Type a comma, to separate the arguments
6. Type the criterion. In this example, you're checking for text, so type the word in double quotes, with one or more asterisk (*) wildcard characters:   "*Pen*"
Note: upper and lower case are treated equally
7. Type a closing bracket
The completed formula is: =COUNTIF(A1:A10,"*Pen*")
8. 9. Press the Enter key to complete the entry
10. The result will be 6, the number of cells that contain the string, "Pen"  ▲TOP

Note: Instead of typing the criterion in a formula, you can refer to a cell. For example, the formula in step 7 above could be changed to:
=COUNTIF(A1:A10,"*" & B12 & "*")
if cell B12 contained the text — pen.

## COUNTIF and COUNTIFS Warnings

There are a few things to be careful with, when using the COUNTIF and COUNTIFS functions.

### False Duplicates With COUNTIF

Be careful when using COUNTIF, because it matches numbers, with text that looks like numbers, and that could result in false counts.

For example, if you have a text entry -- "00123" -- it would be counted as a duplicate for the number -- 123.

=COUNTIF(\$B\$2:\$B\$10,B2))>1

If your data could contain entries like that, use SUMPRODUCT, instead of COUNTIF.

=SUMPRODUCT(--(\$B\$2:\$B\$10=B2))>1 ### Character Limit of 255

COUNTIF and COUNTIFS can only check strings up to 255 characters. Here's a simple example to show the problem. This formula counts how many times an item appears in the Item column:

• =COUNTIF([Item],[@Item])

In row 5, there is a #VALUE! error, because the text in cell C1 is longer than 255 characters. #### Use a Different Function

To avoid the problem with the 255 character limit, use the SUMPRODUCT function, instead of COUNTIF or COUNTIFS. Here is the revised formula:

• =SUMPRODUCT(--([Item]=[@Item]))

Here's how that SUMPRODUCT formula works:

• Checks each row [Item] to see if it's equal to the entry in the current row [@Item]
• The result is TRUE or FALSE for each row (highlighted in the screen shot below -- I pressed F9 to evaluate that section of the formula)
• The two minus signs (double unary) change TRUE to 1 and FALSE to 0
• SUMPRODUCT adds up the 1s and 0s. #### Microsoft Workaround Does Not Work

On Microsoft's COUNTIF page, it says you can work around the 255 character limit, by joining two long strings with the concatenate operator (&). Here's an example:

• =COUNTIF(A2:A5,"long string"&"another long string")

That suggestion does NOT work for me !

## Count Numbers in Numbers

The COUNTIF function can find specific letters or numbers in a text string. However, COUNTIF cannot find a specific number within a real number.

In the screen shot below, there are 4 items in the list that contain a "1". The COUNTIF formula in cell A9 gives an incorrect result of 3. It does not count the "1" in cell A2, because that cell contains a real number, not a text string. ### Use FIND or SEARCH

Although the COUNTIF function can't count specific numbers within real numbers, the FIND or SEARCH function will locate them.

In the screen shot below, the following formulas are used in columns C, D and E, to look for a "1".

The ISNUMBER function returns True or False, and the two minus signs (double unary) convert True to 1 and False to 0 (zero).

• C2: =COUNTIF(A2,"*1*")
• D2: =--ISNUMBER(FIND(1,A2))
• E2: =--ISNUMBER(SEARCH(1,A2))

The FIND and SEARCH formulas found all 4 items that contain a "1". The COUNTIF formula only found 3 items. ### Use SUMPRODUCT with FIND or SEARCH

Instead of checking each row individually, use the SUMPRODUCT function with FIND or SEARCH, to get the total count for the list.

• Use FIND to count numbers, or case-sensitive letters
• Use SEARCH to count numbers, or upper and lower case letters (not case-sensitive)

### Example 1: Numbers

In this example, the formulas give a count of cells that contain a 1. The result is 4 in both cases.

• A9:    =SUMPRODUCT(--ISNUMBER(FIND(1,\$A\$2:\$A\$7)))
• A10:  =SUMPRODUCT(--ISNUMBER(SEARCH(1,\$A\$2:\$A\$7))) ### Example 2: Letters

In the next example, the formulas give a count of cells that contain "a". FIND only counts the lower-case "a" (1), and SEARCH counts both the upper-case "A", and lower-case "a" (2).

• A9:   =SUMPRODUCT(--ISNUMBER(FIND("a",\$A\$2:\$A\$7)))
• A10: =SUMPRODUCT(--ISNUMBER(SEARCH("a",\$A\$2:\$A\$7))) ## Count Cells "Less Than" or "Greater Than"

In this video, see how to use COUNTIF function to count the number of items in a list that are over or under a specific amount. Written instructions are below the video:

### Count Cells Greater Than or Equal to

You can use an operator with a criterion. In this example only the rows where the quantity is greater than or equal to ten will be counted.

1. Select the cell in which you want to see the count (cell A12 in this example)
2. Type an equal sign (=) to start the formula
3. Type:   COUNTIF(
4. Select the cells that contain the values to check for the criterion. In this example, cells B1:B10 will be checked
5. Type a comma, to separate the arguments
6. Type the criterion. In this example, you're checking for rows where the quantity is greater than or equal to 10. The >= operator is used before the number, and the entire criterion is enclosed in double quotes: ">=10"
Note: Even though this is a numerical criterion, it must enclosed in double quote marks.
7. Type a closing bracket
8. The completed formula is:
=COUNTIF(B1:B10,">=10")

9. Press the Enter key to complete the entry Note: Instead of typing the criterion in a formula, you can refer to a cell. For example, the formula in step 8 above could be changed to:
=COUNTIF(B1:B10,">=" & B12)
if cell B12 contained the number — 10

Or, you could use a function as part of the criterion. For example:
=COUNTIF(A1:A10,"<"&TODAY())   ▲TOP

### Count Cells Between 5 and 10

You can combine COUNTIF formulas, to count rows that are within a range of values. In this example, the formula will count rows where the quantity is between 5 and 10 (inclusive).

1. Select the cell in which you want to see the count (cell A12 in this example)
2. Type a formula to count rows greater than or equal to 5:
=COUNTIF(B1:B10,">=5")

3. Type a minus sign
4. Type a formula to count rows greater than 10:
COUNTIF(B1:B10,">10")

5. The completed formula is:
=COUNTIF(B1:B10,">=5")-COUNTIF(B1:B10,">10")
6. Press the Enter key to complete the entry Note: Instead of typing the criterion in a formula, you can refer to a cell. For example, the formula in step 8 above could be changed to:
=COUNTIF(B1:B10,">=" & B12) -
COUNTIF(B1:B10,">" & C12)
if cell B12 contained the number — 5 and cell C12 contained the number — 10.   ▲TOP

### Change Operator for COUNTIF Function

Instead of typing the operator into the COUNTIF formula, as shown above, you can create a list of all possible operators, and select one from a drop down list. Then, refer to that operator in the formula.

This video shows the steps for setting up the formula, and the written instructions are below the video.

#### Create a Drop Down List of Operators

To create a drop down list operators:

1. On a different sheet in the workbook, type a list of operators in a column.
2. Select the cells in the list, and name that list as OpList. 3. On the main sheet, select the cell where you want the drop down list -- cell E6 in this example
4. Use the data validation command to create the drop down list, based on the named range -- OpList #### Use the Drop Down List

Change your COUNTIF formula, to replace the typed operator with a reference to the cell with the drop down list.

=COUNTIF(B2:B11,E6&F6)

Then, select one of the operators from the drop down list in cell E6, and the formula result will change. ## Count cells that match multiple criteria

This video shows how to use the COUNTIFS function to count cells based on multiple criteria.

Written instructions are below the video:

--Count multiple criteria with COUNTIFS

--Count multiple criteria with SUMPRODUCT

--Count all dates in a specific month and year

### Count Cells that Match multiple criteria

In Excel 2007 and later versions, you can use the COUNTIFS function to count rows that meet two or more criteria. In this example only the rows where the item is "Pen" and the quantity is greater than or equal to ten will be counted.

1. Select the cell in which you want to see the total
2. Type an equal sign (=) to start the formula
3. Type:   COUNTIFS(
4. Select the cells that contain the values to check for the first criterion. In this example, cells A2:A10 will be checked
5. Type a comma, and the first criterion:   "Pen"
Note: Because this is a text criterion, it is enclosed in double quote marks.
6. To start the next set of criteria, type a comma
7. Select the cells that contain the values to check for the second criterion. In this example, cells B2:B10 will be checked
8. Type a comma, and the second criterion:  ">=10"
Note: Because this criterion includes operators, it is enclosed in double quote marks. To count rows where the quantity is equal to 10, only the number 10 would be required.
9. Finish with a closing bracket: )
10. The completed formula is shown below.
11. Press the Enter key to complete the entry Note: Instead of typing the criterion in a formula, you can refer to a cell, as shown in the second formula below. If using operators, enclose them in double quote marks.

Use typed criteria:

=COUNTIFS(A2:A10,"Pen",B2:B10,">=10")

or cell references:

=COUNTIFS(A2:A10,D3,B2:B10,">=" & E3)

### Count cells that match multiple criteria -- SUMPRODUCT

In this example, the SUMPRODUCT function is used to count the rows where the item is "Pen" and the quantity is greater than or equal to ten. This solution will work in older versions of Excel, where there COUNTIFS function is not available.

1. Select the cell in which you want to see the total
2. Type an equal sign (=) to start the formula
3. Type:   SUMPRODUCT(--(
4. Select the cells that contain the values to check for the first criterion. In this example, cells A2:A10 will be checked
5. Type the first criterion:   ="Pen"
Note: Because this is a text criterion, it is enclosed in double quote marks.
6. Type ),--(
7. Select the cells that contain the values to check for the second criterion. In this example, cells B2:B10 will be checked
8. Type the second criterion:   >=10
Note: Because this is a numerical criterion, it isn't enclosed in double quote marks.
9. Finish with closing brackets: ))
10. The completed formula is shown below.
11. Press the Enter key to complete the entry Note: Instead of typing the criterion in a formula, you can refer to a cell, as shown in the second formula below   ▲TOP

Use typed criteria:

=SUMPRODUCT(--(A2:A10="Pen"),--(B2:B10>=10))

or cell references:

=SUMPRODUCT(--(A2:A10=D2),--(B2:B10>=E2))

### Count All Dates in Specific Month and Year

In this example, there is a date in cell A2, and the order list has dates in cell A5:A26. The following SUMPRODUCT function is in cell D2, and it counts all the dates that have the same month and year as the date in cell A2.

=SUMPRODUCT((MONTH(A5:A26)=MONTH(A2))*(YEAR(A5:A26)=YEAR(A2)))

• The MONTH function returns the month number for each cell, and compares that to the month number for the date in cell A2.
• The YEAR function returns the year number for each cell, and compares that to the year number for the date in cell A2.
• Only the rows where both the month and year match cell A2 are counted. ## Count Duplicated Items in List

In this example, there is a formula to check a column that should contain unique values only. It will alert you if any of the values have been duplicated.

In cells A6:C12, there is a named table (tblIDs). In the ID column, each number should be unique, but 2 is entered twice, and 3 is entered twice. The formula shown below will count how many unique values have been duplicated.

• In this example, the formula result should be 2 -- there are 2 unique values that have been duplicated - 2 and 3.
• The formula will NOT tell us that 4 rows contain duplicated ID numbers.

### Formula to Count Duplicated Items

Duplicate ID numbers could cause problems, so we'll create a formula to check for them. To count the duplicated values, enter this formula in cell A4. The details are below:

=SUMPRODUCT((tblIDs[ID]<>"") /
COUNTIF(tblIDs[ID],tblIDs[ID]&"") -

(COUNTIF(tblIDs[ID],tblIDs[ID])=1)) NOTE: To simply highlight duplicate values in a column, use Conditional Formatting.

#### How It Works

The SUMPRODUCT formula contains 3 formulas:

• A: (tblIDs[ID]<>"") - Check if the cell is NOT empty - TRUE (1) or FALSE (0)
• B: COUNTIF(tblIDs[ID],tblIDs[ID]&"") - How many times does the ID appear in the column
• C: (COUNTIF(tblIDs[ID],tblIDs[ID])=1) - Number (B) is equal to one - TRUE (1) or FALSE (0)

Next, A is divided by B, and C is subtracted

Finally, those results are summed, to give the count of duplicated values.

##### Calculate in the Formula Bar

In the formula bar, you can select each formula (A, B, and C), and press F9 to calculate that formula. This screen shot shows the results. Then, calculate the A/B portion of the formula, to see these results. TRUE is equal to 1, so 1/1 equals 1, and 1/2 equals 0.5. Next, calculate A/B - C, to see these results. TRUE is 1 and FALSE is zero, so 1-1 equals zero, and 0.5 - 0 equals 0.5: Finally, the SUMPRODUCT function gives the sum of those numbers, with the result of 2.

##### Worksheet Formulas

You can see the same results if you put each part of the formula on the worksheet, and calculate each row separately.

In this screen shot, you can see the A and B results, then A/B. Next, see the C calculations, and A/B-C. At the bottom of the final column, the sum is shown. #### Use the Formula Result

In other parts of your workbook, you can refer to cell A4 (DupIds), to create warning messages, or show a zero, instead of the expected results. For example, show a message with a formula like this:

• =IF(DupIDs>0,"Before continuing, remove duplicate IDs.","")

Or, multiply by 1 (TRUE) or zero (FALSE) in other formulas, based on the number in the DupIDs cell.

• =COUNT(tblIDs[ID])*--(DupIDs=0) ## Count Rows in a Filtered List

After you filter the rows in a list, you can use functions to count only the visible rows.

### Count Rows in a Filtered List With SUBTOTAL

After you filter the rows in a list, you can use the SUBTOTAL function to count the visible rows.

1. Apply an AutoFilter to the table. There are instructions here -- AutoFilter Basics
2. Filter at least one of the columns in the table. In this example, the first column has been filtered for Binders.
3. Select the cell immediately below the column you want to sum.
4. Click the AutoSum button on the Excel's Standard toolbar.
• If you want the SUBTOTAL function in a cell other than the one directly below the filtered list, you can type the formula, instead of using the AutoSum button.
5. A SUBTOTAL formula will be automatically inserted, totalling the visible cells in the column
• The first argument in the SUBTOTAL function is a function number, that specifies how the numbers should be calculated. The default is 9, which tells Excel to SUM the numbers.
• Other function numbers can be used, such as 1 for AVERAGE, and 3 for COUNTA. Look in Excel's Help for a complete list.
6. To Count all the non-empty cells in column D, use a 3 as the first argument:
=SUBTOTAL(3,D2:D10)
7. Press the Enter key to complete the formula entry. 8. Note: To subtotal rows which have been either manually hidden or filtered, use 103 as the function number, instead of 3:
=SUBTOTAL(103,D2:D10)
▲TOP

### Count Rows in Filtered List With AGGREGATE

After you filter the rows in a list, you can use the AGGREGATE function to count the visible rows. This function was introduced in Excel 2010, and is similar to SUBTOTAL, but it has 19 functions, compared to SUBTOTAL's 11 functions. Another advantage is that it can ignore errors, as well as hidden rows.

1. Apply an AutoFilter to the table. There are instructions here -- AutoFilter Basics
2. Filter at least one of the columns in the table. In this example, the first column has been filtered for Binders.
3. Select the cell in which you want to see the total -- cell B1 in this example
4. To start the formula, type:   =AGGREGATE(
5. In the list of function numbers, double-click on 3-COUNTA, then type a comma
6. In the list of option numbers, double-click on 3 - Ignore hidden rows, error values, nested SUBTOTAL and AGGREGATE functions, then type a comma
7. Select the cells that contain the values to check for the first criterion. In this example, the Total column in the table is selected.
8. Type a closing bracket, then press the Enter key to complete the formula entry.
=AGGREGATE(3,3,Table1[Total])

The two visible numbers are counted, and the error in cell D9 is ignored. ### Count Specific Items in a Filtered List

Laurent Longre created a formula that lets you work with visible rows after a filter. For information see, Power Formula Technique in this article at John Walkenbach's web site (via the WayBack Machine site):
https://web.archive.org/web/20100110043824/ https://j-walk.com/ss/excel/eee/eee001.txt

Incorporating that technique, SUMPRODUCT can be used to count visible items in a filtered table. In the following example, column D has been filtered for amounts greater than 100. The following formula will count the number of visible rows that contain "Pen" in column A. 1. From the drop down list in cell D1, select Custom.
2. Filter for rows greater than 100.
3. In cell A12, type: Pen
4. In cell B12, enter the following formula:

=SUMPRODUCT(SUBTOTAL(3,OFFSET(A1:A10,ROW(A1:A10)
-MIN(ROW(A1:A10)),,1)), --(A1:A10=A12))

1. Press the Enter key to complete the formula entry.   ▲TOP

### Count Unique Items in a Filtered List

In the Excel Expert Newsletter (issue 20, July 8, 2001 - no longer available), there is a formula to count unique items in a filtered list. In this example, the list is filtered for the Central region, and unique items in column D are counted.

1. The LineVal column is a named range -- Rge
2. The name unRge is defined with the formula: =IF(SUBTOTAL(3,OFFSET(Rge,ROW(Rge)-MIN(ROW(Rge)),,1)),Rge,"")
3. In cell C2, enter the following formula:

=SUM(N(IF(ISNA(MATCH("""",unRge,0)),MATCH(Rge,Rge,0),
IF(MATCH(unRge,unRge,0)=MATCH("""",unRge,0),0,
MATCH(unRge,unRge,0)))=ROW(Rge)-MIN(ROW(Rge))+1))

1. This is an array formula, so press Ctrl+ Shift + Enter to complete the formula.   ▲TOP ## Get the COUNT Sample Files

1. Download the Count Functions sample workbook. The zipped file is in xlsx format, and does not contain any macros.
2. Download the 7 Ways to Count sample workbook, to follow along with the 7 Ways to Count video. The zipped file is in xlsx format, and does not contain any macros.
3. Download the Character Limit 255 workbook. The zipped file is in xlsx format, and does not contain any macros.
4. Download the Count Unique Items in Filtered List workbook. The zipped file is in xlsx format, and does not contain any macros.
5. Download the Count Duplicate Number Sets workbook. Find duplicate sets of 6 numbers, which can be in any order in the row. The zipped file is in xlsx format, and does not contain any macros. NOTE: You will see an alert about a data connection, because the file contains a Power Query solution.

## More Function Tutorials

Date Range, Sum or Count

Calculation Options

Count Criteria in Other Column

Count Specific Items

Count Specific Items in Cell

Count Cells With Specific Text

AVERAGE

SUM / SUMIF

Last updated: May 31, 2022 2:51 PM