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Excel COUNTIF Function

Excel COUNTIF function
Summary 

COUNTIF is an Excel function to count cells in a range that meet a single condition. COUNTIF can be used to count cells that contain dates, numbers, and text. The criteria used in COUNTIF supports logical operators (>,<,<>,=) and wildcards (*,?) for partial matching.

Purpose 
Count cells that match criteria
Return value 
A number representing cells counted.
Syntax 
=COUNTIF (range, criteria)
Arguments 
  • range - The range of cells to count.
  • criteria - The criteria that controls which cells should be counted.
Version 
Usage notes 

The COUNTIF function in Excel counts the number of cells in a range that match one supplied condition. Criteria can include logical operators (>,<,<>,=) and wildcards (*,?) for partial matching. Criteria can also be based on a value from another cell, as explained below.

COUNTIF is in a group of eight functions in Excel that split logical criteria into two parts (range + criteria). As a result, the syntax used to construct criteria is different, and COUNTIF requires a cell range, you can't use an array.

COUNTIF only supports a single condition. If you need to apply multiple criteria, use the COUNTIFS function. If you need to manipulate values in the range argument as part of a logical test, see the SUMPRODUCT and/or FILTER functions.

Basic example

In the worksheet shown above, the following formulas are used in cells G5, G6, and G7:

=COUNTIF(D5:D12,">100") // count sales over 100
=COUNTIF(B5:B12,"jim") // count name = "jim"
=COUNTIF(C5:C12,"ca") // count state = "ca"

Notice COUNTIF is not case-sensitive, "CA" and "ca" are treated the same.

Double quotes ("") in criteria

In general, text values need to be enclosed in double quotes (""), and numbers do not. However, when a logical operator is included with a number, the number and operator must be enclosed in quotes, as seen in the second example below:

=COUNTIF(A1:A10,100) // count cells equal to 100
=COUNTIF(A1:A10,">32") // count cells greater than 32
=COUNTIF(A1:A10,"jim") // count cells equal to "jim"

Value from another cell

A value from another cell can be included in criteria using concatenation. In the example below, COUNTIF will return the count of values in A1:A10 that are less than the value in cell B1. Notice the less than operator (which is text) is enclosed in quotes.

=COUNTIF(A1:A10,"<"&B1) // count cells less than  B1

Not equal to

To construct "not equal to" criteria, use the "<>" operator surrounded by double quotes (""). For example, the formula below will count cells not equal to "red" in the range A1:A10:

=COUNTIF(A1:A10,"<>red") // not "red"

Blank cells

COUNTIF can count cells that are blank or not blank. The formulas below count blank and not blank cells in the range A1:A10:

=COUNTIF(A1:A10,"<>") // not blank
=COUNTIF(A1:A10,"") // blank

Dates

The easiest way to use COUNTIF with dates is to refer to a valid date in another cell with a cell reference. For example, to count cells in A1:A10 that contain a date greater than the date in B1, you can use a formula like this:

=COUNTIF(A1:A10, ">"&B1) // count dates greater than A1

Notice we must concatenate an operator to the date in B1. To use more advanced date criteria (i.e. all dates in a given month, or all dates between two dates) you'll want to switch to the COUNTIFS function, which can handle multiple criteria.

The safest way to hardcode a date into COUNTIF is to use the DATE function. This ensures Excel will understand the date. To count cells in A1:A10 that contain a date less than April 1, 2020, you can use a formula like this

=COUNTIF(A1:A10,"<"&DATE(2020,4,1)) // dates less than 1-Apr-2020

Wildcards

The wildcard characters question mark (?), asterisk(*), or tilde (~) can be used in criteria. A question mark (?) matches any one character and an asterisk (*) matches zero or more characters of any kind. For example, to count cells in A1:A5 that contain the text "apple" anywhere, you can use a formula like this:

=COUNTIF(A1:A5,"*apple*") // cells that contain "apple"

To count cells in A1:A5 that contain any 3 text characters, you can use:

=COUNTIF(A1:A5,"???") // cells that contain any 3 characters

The tilde (~) is an escape character to match literal wildcards. For example, to count a literal question mark (?), asterisk(*), or tilde (~), add a tilde in front of the wildcard (i.e. ~?, ~*, ~~).

OR logic

The COUNTIF function is designed to apply just one condition. However, to count cells that contain "this OR that", you can use an array constant and the SUM function like this:

=SUM(COUNTIF(range,{"red","blue"})) // red or blue

The formula above will count cells in range that contain "red" or "blue". Essentially, COUNTIF returns two counts in an array (one for "red" and one for "blue") and the SUM function returns the sum. For more information, see this example.

Notes

  • COUNTIF is not case-sensitive. Use the EXACT function for case-sensitive counts.
  • COUNTIF only supports one condition. Use the COUNTIFS function for multiple criteria.
  • Text strings in criteria must be enclosed in double quotes (""), i.e. "apple", ">32", "ja*"
  • Cell references in criteria are not enclosed in quotes, i.e. "<"&A1
  • The wildcard characters ? and * can be used in criteria. A question mark matches any one character and an asterisk matches any sequence of characters (zero or more).
  • To match a literal question mark or asterisk, use a tilde (~) in front question mark or asterisk (i.e. ~?, ~*).
  • COUNTIF requires a range, you can't substitute an array.
  • COUNTIF returns incorrect results when used to match strings longer than 255 characters.
  • COUNTIF will return a #VALUE error when referencing another workbook that is closed.

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