# Count unique text values in a range

=SUMPRODUCT(--(FREQUENCY(MATCH(data,data,0),ROW(data)-ROW(data.firstcell)+1)>0))

To count unique text values in a range, you can use a formula that uses several functions: FREQUENCY, MATCH, ROW and SUMPRODUCT.In the example shown, the formula in F5 is:

=SUMPRODUCT(--(FREQUENCY(MATCH(B5:B14,B5:B14,0),ROW(B5:B14)-ROW(B5)+1)>0))

which returns 4, since there are 4 unique names in B5:B14.

*Note: Another way to count unique values is to use the COUNTIF function. This is a much simpler formula, but it can run slowly on large data sets. With Excel 365, you can use a simpler and faster formula based on UNIQUE.*

### How this formula works

This formula is more complicated than a similar formula that uses FREQUENCY to count unique numeric values because FREQUENCY doesn't work with non-numeric values. As a result, a large part of the formula simply transforms the non-numeric data into numeric data that FREQUENCY can handle.

Working from the inside-out, the MATCH function is used to get the position of each item that appears in the data:

MATCH(B5:B14,B5:B14,0)

The result from MATCH is an array like this:

{1;1;1;4;4;6;6;6;9;9}

Because MATCH always returns the position of the *first* match, values that appear more than once in the data return the same position. For example, because "Jim" appears 3 times in the list, he shows up in this array 3 times as the number 1.

This array is fed into FREQUENCY as the **data_array** argument.` `

The **bins_array** argument is constructed from this part of the formula:

which builds a sequential list of numbers for each value in the data:

{1;2;3;4;5;6;7;8;9;10}

At this point, FREQUENCY is configured like this:

FREQUENCY({1;1;1;4;4;6;6;6;9;9},{1;2;3;4;5;6;7;8;9;10})

FREQUENCY returns an array of numbers that indicate a count for each number in the data array, organized by bin. When a number has already been counted, FREQUENCY will return zero. This is a key feature in the operation of this formula. The result from FREQUENCY is an array like this:

{3;0;0;2;0;3;0;0;2;0;0} // output from FREQUENCY

*Note: FREQUENCY always returns an array with one more item than the bins_array.*

We can now rewrite the formula like this:

=SUMPRODUCT(--({3;0;0;2;0;3;0;0;2;0;0}>0))

Next, we check for values greater than zero (>0), which converts the numbers to TRUE or FALSE, then use a double-negative (--) to convert the TRUE and FALSE values to 1s and 0s. Now we have:

=SUMPRODUCT({1;0;0;1;0;1;0;0;1;0;0})

Finally, SUMPRODUCT simply adds the numbers up and returns the total, which in this case is 4.

### Handling blank cells

Empty cells in the range will cause the formula to return an #N/A error. To handle empty cells, you can use a more complicated array formula that uses the IF function to filter out blank values:

*Note: adding IF makes this into an array formula that requires control-shift-enter.*

For more information, see this page.

*Control-Shift-Enter.*

### Other ways to count unique values

If you have Excel 365, you can use the UNIQUE function to count unique values with a much simpler formula.

A pivot table is also an excellent way to count unique values.

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