How to Count Number of Cells in Excel: A Comprehensive Guide

Counting the number of cells in Excel is a common task for anyone who works with data. Whether you’re an accountant, a data analyst, or just someone who likes to keep track of personal finances, knowing how to count cells quickly and accurately can save you time and effort. In this article, we’ll go over a step-by-step tutorial on how to count cells in Excel, followed by some tips and frequently asked questions to help you become an Excel pro.

Step-by-Step Tutorial: Counting Cells in Excel

Before we dive into the steps, let’s understand what we’re trying to achieve. Counting cells in Excel can help you figure out how many data points you have, identify if there are any empty cells, or even count how many times a specific value appears. Now, let’s get started!

Step 1: Identify the Range

Select the range of cells you want to count.

Selecting the range is simple – click and drag your mouse over the cells you want to count. If you want to count non-adjacent cells, hold down the ‘Ctrl’ key while clicking on each cell you want to include in the count.

Step 2: Use the COUNT Function

Type =COUNT() into a blank cell and insert the range you selected.

After typing =COUNT(, you can either type the range manually (e.g., A1:A10), or click and drag to select the range again. Then close the parenthesis and press ‘Enter’.

Step 3: Use the COUNTA Function for Non-Empty Cells

If you want to count non-empty cells, use =COUNTA() instead.

This function is similar to the COUNT function, but it includes cells that have text or other non-numeric values. Just like before, type =COUNTA(, select your range, close the parenthesis, and press ‘Enter’.

Step 4: Count Specific Values with COUNTIF

To count cells with a specific value, use the =COUNTIF() function.

With the COUNTIF function, you can count cells that meet a certain criteria, like all cells with the number 10, or all cells that contain the word “Yes”. The formula looks like this: =COUNTIF(range, “criteria”). Replace “range” with the actual range and “criteria” with the value you’re looking for.

Once you complete these steps, you’ll have a count of cells based on your specified criteria. This can help you analyze your data more effectively and make informed decisions.

Tips for Counting Cells in Excel

  • Tip 1: Use keyboard shortcuts to speed up the process. Ctrl+Shift+Down will select all cells below the current one until it reaches an empty cell.
  • Tip 2: Remember that COUNT only works with numeric values. If you need to count cells with text, use COUNTA.
  • Tip 3: Use COUNTBLANK if you specifically want to count empty cells.
  • Tip 4: You can use wildcards with COUNTIF. For example, use an asterisk (*) to count any cell with a certain string of text in it.
  • Tip 5: Combine the COUNTIF function with the SUM function to count multiple criteria. For example, =SUM(COUNTIF(range, “criteria1”), COUNTIF(range, “criteria2”)).

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between COUNT and COUNTA?

COUNT only counts cells with numbers, while COUNTA counts all non-empty cells, including those with text, dates, or errors.

Can I count cells based on color?

No, Excel does not have a built-in function to count cells based on color. You would need to use a macro or add-in for that.

How do I count cells with multiple criteria?

You can use the COUNTIFS function, which allows you to specify multiple criteria for multiple ranges.

Can COUNTIF count cells that contain part of a word?

Yes, by using wildcards like the asterisk (*), you can count cells that contain part of a word or phrase.

Is there a limit to how many cells I can count at once?

Excel does not have a specific limit for counting cells. However, performance may slow down if you’re working with a very large dataset.


  1. Identify the Range
  2. Use the COUNT Function
  3. Use the COUNTA Function for Non-Empty Cells
  4. Count Specific Values with COUNTIF


Counting the number of cells in Excel is a fundamental skill that can help you in numerous ways. Whether you’re sorting through large datasets or just trying to get a quick tally, the functions we’ve discussed are invaluable tools. Remember to choose the right function for your needs—COUNT for numeric values, COUNTA for all non-empty cells, and COUNTIF for specific criteria. With practice, you’ll be able to perform these counts quickly and accurately, making your work in Excel much more efficient. If you run into any issues or have further questions, there are plenty of resources available online to help you master counting cells in Excel. So go ahead, give it a try, and watch your productivity soar!

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