Quick, clean, and to the point

Count matches between two columns

Excel formula: Count matches between two columns
Generic formula 

To compare two columns and count matches in corresponding rows, you can use the SUMPRODUCT function. In the example shown, the formula in G6 is:


The result is 9 because there are nine values in the range B5:B15 that match values in D5:D15 in corresponding rows.

Note: this formula counts matches in corresponding rows. To count all matches in two ranges, regardless of row, see this example.


In this example, the goal is to compare two columns and return the count of matches in corresponding rows. A good way to solve this problem is to use the SUMPRODUCT function or the SUM function, as explained below.


The SUMPRODUCT function is a versatile function that handles array operations natively without any special array syntax. Its behavior is simple: it multiplies, then sums the product of arrays. Working from the inside out, we compare the range B5:B15 to D5:D15 like this:


Because there are 11 values in the first range, the result is an array with 11 TRUE and FALSE values like this:


In this array, the TRUE values correspond to cells in B5:B15 that match corresponding cells in D5:D15. In this state, SUMPRODUCT will actually return zero because TRUE and FALSE values are not counted as numbers in Excel by default. To get SUMPRODUCT to treat TRUE as 1 and FALSE as zero, we need to "coerce" them into numbers. The double negative (--) is a simple way to do that:


This results in an array containing only 1s and 0s, which is returned directly to the SUMPRODUCT function:

=SUMPRODUCT({1;1;1;1;0;1;1;1;1;0;1}) // returns 9

With no other arrays to multiply, SUMPRODUCT simply sums the values and returns 9.

Count non-matching rows

To count non-matching values, you can reverse the logic and use the not equal to operator (<>). The formula in G7 is:


This formula returns 2, since there are two non-matching cells.

SUM function

Traditionally, the SUMPRODUCT function has been used instead of the SUM function in Legacy Excel, because SUMPRODUCT can handle array operations without Control + Shift + Enter. In Excel 365 and Excel 2021, the formula engine handles array formulas natively, so you can use the SUM function instead without special treatment:

=SUM(--(B5:B15=D5:D15)) // count matches
=SUM(--(B5:B15<>D5:D15)) // count non-matches

For more details, see this article.

Dave Bruns

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