Count everything in an area

How many entries have been completed?

In the example below, an ‘x’ has been used to indicate who has shown an interest in a neighbourhood watch scheme. To find out how many people are interested, the COUNT function might be used.

COUNT, like all functions, has a set of brackets that contain the details of the area containing the items to be counted.

The screen shot below shows the result of using COUNT on the column containing the ‘x’ characters.

The COUNT function only ever counts numbers. Since ‘x’ is a text character, the result comes out as 0.

To count numbers, text and pretty much anything else, use the COUNTA function. You can think of the A as meaning All or Anything.

The screen shot below shows the result of using COUNTA on the same column.

If dates had been used instead of a text character, the COUNT function would have been fine since properly entered dates are numbers in Excel!

Try it yourself using the examples below…

Download this example

Download all counting examples

Counting stuff in Excel

The COUNT function is used in Excel to find out how many items appear in a specific area of the worksheet.

Unfortunately for the unwary, COUNT only works for numbers. To get the most out of this family of functions, you need to know about COUNTA and COUNTIF as well

Try these short tutorials – the easiest one is at the top…

Count everything in an area
(How many entries have been completed?)

Only count specific items in an area
(How many of the items in this list are red?)

Count using two criteria
(How many hats in this list are red?)