The Excel COUNT function counts the number of cells in a given range that contain numbers.
- value1 is a numeric value, cell reference, or range of cells you wish to count
- value2,… (optional) is any additional numeric value, cell reference, or range of cells you wish to count (you can add up to 255 references, separated by commas)
The function returns the total number of cells in the range that contain numbers.
In Plain English
The COUNT functions searches in the range of cells you provide as input, and counts every cell that contains numbers.
So how do you use the COUNT function?
- Decide on a cell range in which you want to count cells that contain numbers.
- Start the formula by typing in =COUNT(
- Without hitting Enter, use your mouse to select the cell range you decided on in step 1.
- If you wish, you can add more cell references, but remember to separate them with commas.
- End off the formula by typing in the closing bracket ) and hit Enter.
For example, we can add the number of telephone numbers in a list of customer contact details, like this:
This will return an answer of 4.
- The COUNT function will count any cell that refers to a number.
- Dates are counted, since dates are expressed in Excel as numbers.
- Any text that refers to a number are counted, such as a number in quotation marks, e.g. “2”.
- Logical values such as TRUE or FALSE are counted, since these are expressed in Excel as 1 and 0, respectively.
- The COUNT function won’t count cells that are empty.
- The COUNT function won’t count cells that contain errors.
- Text strings, other than numbers entered as text, are not counted.
- Be careful that the range you selected does not include the cell containing the COUNT function. If it does, a circular reference error will be triggered.
Count the numeric values in several cell ranges
This is easily done by separating several cell references with a comma.
Use real numbers in the COUNT function
In addition to using cell references in the COUNT function, we can also insert real numbers, or text representing real numbers, into the COUNT function itself, like this.
Here, the answer is 10 because Excel counts the 3 items in the COUNT function as well as the 7 items in the cell range B2:B12.
Share your thoughts
Do you have any other useful tips for users of the COUNT function? Please share it in the comments below.