Microsoft Excel COUNTIF Function Tutorial

Since 1998

Microsoft Excel COUNTIF Function Tutorial

Excel Function Tutorial

The COUNTIF Function counts how many cell values that meet a specified condition or criteria within a given worksheet area. It is a great logic tester to see if data that is in one table exists in another. A workhorse in data processing and dashboard construction.

What is the Microsoft Excel COUNTIF Function?

The COUNTIF function is a computer program that you run from a worksheet cell formula. It counts how many cell values that meet a specified condition or criteria within a given worksheet area (called a range). You run the COUNTIF worksheet function by typing its name in a formula then followed by the information it is suppose to evaluate. The COUNTIF worksheet function is most commonly used on rows or columns of information on the worksheet. The function also has the capability to search for parts of text within other text when evaluating its condition. The COUNTIF worksheet function is good for determining how many of something you have like how many of a certain part type were returned or how many of a certain product were sold. It is also great logic tester to see if data that is in one table exists in another.

How Do You Type the COUNTIF Worksheet Function in a Formula?

Whenever you type a formula in a worksheet cell, this is called syntax or grammar. The general COUNTIF function syntax has a format like this when you type it in a worksheet cell:

= COUNTIF( range, criteria )

Where range, criteria are called the function argument list. Remember, you are running a computer program at this point so the program needs information to operate and that is why there is an argument list. When you see an argument list and you see square brackets [ ] around the argument name, this means the argument is optional and you do not have to include it when typing unless you need it. So for the syntax above, you need to include 2 arguments for the COUNTIF function when typing it in a worksheet cell formula in order for it to calculate correctly. What argument values can be used are discussed below. Remember functions expect certain things in their argument lists, if you do not put the correct information in the list they will generate an error when run.

COUNTIF Worksheet Function Argument Definitions

How Do You Run the COUNTIF Function?

Since the COUNTIF function is a computer program, it runs when you press Enter to enter the formula that contains it. If any of the arguments are wrong, the function will return an error.

What Do I Type for a COUNTIF Function Argument?

When typing the COUNTIF function in a worksheet cell formula, you need to replace the argument list with arguments separating each one with a comma (,). Some typical arguments you can use are:

Argument Type Cell Formula Example Explanation
Range References, = = COUNTIF( A1:A10, "=Widget1" ) Count all the values that match what is equal to Widget1 in A1:A10
Range References, > = COUNTIF( A1:A10, ">16" ) Count all the values that match what is greater than 16 in A1:A1
Range References, < = COUNTIF( A1:A10, "<16" ) Count all the values that match what is less than 16 in A1:A1
Range References, >= = COUNTIF( A1:A10, ">=16" ) Count all the values that match what is greater than or equal to 16 in A1:A1
Range References, <= = COUNTIF( A1:A10, "<=16" ) Count all the values that match what is less than or equal to 16 in A1:A1
Range References, <> = COUNTIF( A1:A10, "<>16" ) Count all the values that match what is not equal to 16 in A1:A10
Range References,*txt = COUNTIF( A1:A10, "=*xsx" ) Count all the values that match what ends with xsx in A1:A10
Range References, txt* = COUNTIF( A1:A10, "=ca*" ) Count all the values that match what begins with ca in A1:A10
Range References, *txt* = COUNTIF( A1:A10, "=*91362*" ) Count all the values that match what contains 91362 in A1:A10
Range References, &, Formula = COUNTIF( A1:A10, ">" & D1+E1 ) Count all the values that match what is greater than D1+E1 in A1:A10
Range References, &, Function = COUNTIF( A1:A10, ">" & SUM( G1:G4 ) ) Count all the values that match what is greater than the sum of G1:G4 in A1:A10
Column References, = = COUNTIF( A:A, "=Widget1" ) Count all the values that match what is equal to Widget1 in column A
Row References, = = COUNTIF( 1:1, "=Widget1" ) Count all the values that match what is equal to Widget1 in row 1
Range Names = COUNTIF( Products, "=Widget1" ) Count all the values where they equal Widget1 in the range named Products*

* It is possible to name a cell or group of cells on a worksheet and use that name in place of a range reference or cell reference. Consult Excel help on how to name a cell.

Additional COUNTIF Function Examples

The worksheet seen below contains some typical worksheet formulas that run the COUNTIF worksheet function. Pay close attention to the argument list and the syntax used to write the formula.

A B C
1 Product Quantity
2 A 100
3 B 200
4 A 300
5 B 400
6 A 500
7
8 3 =COUNTIF( A1:A6 , "=A" )
9
10 Region Quantity
11 1 100
12 2 200
13 3 300
14 4 400
15 5 500
16 6 600
17 7 700
18 8 800
19 9 900
20 10 100
21
22 1 = COUNTIF( A10:A20, "=7" )
23 3 = COUNTIF( A10:A20, ">7" )
24 6 = COUNTIF( A10:A20, "<7" )
25 4 = COUNTIF( A10:A20, ">=7" )
26 7 = COUNTIF( A10:A20, "<=7" )
27 9 = COUNTIF( A10:A20, "<>7" )
28
29 The COUNTIF function is used as a logic tester to see if the Item X is contained in the B30 to B35 range. Just like in a larger table comparison. If COUNTIF returns an answer greater than 0, then the IF function will return Exists if not then it will return N/A. Very simple but effective table comparison formula.
30 Master Item New Item = IF( COUNTIF( $B$30:$B$35, "=" & A31) > 0 , "Exists", "N/A" )
31 X Y
32 Y Z
33 Z A
34 A B
35 B C  

Things to Know About the COUNTIF Function

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