How to Use COUNTIF Function in Excel (10 Suitable Applications)

In Microsoft Excel, the COUNTIF function is widely used to count cells with a given condition or criterion. In this article, you’ll get to learn how you can use this COUNTIF function efficiently in Excel with proper illustrations.

countif function overview in excel

The above screenshot is an overview of the article, representing an application of the COUNTIF function in Excel. You’ll learn more about the dataset as well as the methods to use the COUNTIF function properly in the following sections of this article.


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You can download the Excel workbook that we’ve used to prepare this article.


Introduction to the COUNTIF Function

countif function syntax

  • Function Objective:

Counts the number of cells within a range that meets the given condition.

  • Syntax:

=COUNTIF(range, criteria)

  • Arguments Explanation:
Argument Required/Optional Explanation
range Required Range of cells where the criteria will be assigned for counting.
criteria Required Condition or criterion for the selected range of cells.
  • Return Parameter:

Total counts of the cells in a numerical value.


10 Suitable Applications of COUNTIF Functions in Excel

1. Use of COUNTIF Function with Comparison Operator in Excel

Before getting down to the uses of the COUNTIF function, let’s get introduced to our dataset first. The following picture represents a table containing data of a contest among participants from different states.

In this section, we’ll use a comparison operator inside the COUNTIF function to show how many participants have scored more than 70 in the contest.

countif with comparison operator in excel

📌 Steps:

➤ Select the output Cell C24 and type:

=COUNTIF(F5:F19,C22)

Or,

=COUNTIF(F5:F19,">70")

➤ Now press Enter and you’ll be shown the number of participants who have scored more than 70 in the contest.

countif with comparison operator in excel


2. Using COUNTIF Function with Text Criteria in Excel

In the criteria argument of the COUNTIF function, we can use a text value to find out the number of occurrences based on that text value. From our table, we can pull out how many participants are from the state of Alabama.

📌 Steps:

➤ In the output Cell C24, the related formula will be:

=COUNTIF(E5:E19,C22)

Or,

=COUNTIF(E5:E19,"Alabama")

➤ Press Enter and the function will return 4, so a total of 4 participants are from Alabama state.

countif with text value criteria in excel


3. COUNTIF Function to Count Blank or Non-Blank Cells

Sometimes, our dataset may contain a few blank cells in a column. We can use the COUNTIF function to find the number of blank and non-blank cells easily. Assuming, Column B in the following table has some empty cells and we’ll find out the total number of the cells in that column excluding all empty cells.

📌 Steps:

➤ The required formula in the output Cell C24 will be:

=COUNTIF(B5:B19,"<>")

➤ After pressing Enter, you’ll be displayed the resultant value right away.

countif to count blank or non blank cells in excel

And if we need to count the blank cells in Column B, then the required formula in Cell C24 will be:

=COUNTIF(B5:B19,"")

Then press Enter and you’ll find the total number of blank cells in the output cell.

countif to count blank or non blank cells in excel


4. Including Dates Criteria inside the COUNTIF Function in Excel

Now our dataset contains a column that includes the birth dates of all the participants. We’ll find out the number of participants who were born after 1995.

📌 Steps:

➤ Select Cell C24 and type:

=COUNTIF(D5:D19,">12/31/1995")

➤ Press Enter and the resultant value will be 10.

You have to keep in mind the date format in the criteria argument has to be MM/DD/YYYY.

countif with dates criteria in excel


5. Application of Wildcards inside the COUNTIF Function for Partial Match Criteria

By using a wildcard character such as Asterisk (*), we can find out the total counts of a text data will the partial match. For example, in Column E, we can apply this wildcard character to find how many participants are from a state that contains a text ‘lab’ inside its name.

📌 Steps:

➤ In the output Cell C22, the related formula for the partial match should be:

=COUNTIF(E5:E19,C22)

Or,

=COUNTIF(E5:E19,"*lab*")

➤ Now press Enter and you’ll find the total number of the participants from the Alabama state as it contains the defined text ‘lab’ in its name.

countif with wildcard in excel


6. COUNTIF Function for Values Greater Than and Less Than Criteria

In this section of the article, we’ll figure out the number of participants whose ages are greater than 23 but less than 27. What we’ll do here is find the total number of participants aged greater than 23 years old first. Then we’ll pull out the number of participants aged equal to or more than 27 years old. Finally, we’ll subtract the second output from the first one to determine the total number of participants based on our defined criteria.

📌 Steps:

➤ Select the output Cell C24 and you have to type:

=COUNTIF(D5:D19,">23")-COUNTIF(D5:D19,">=27")

➤ After pressing Enter, you’ll get the total number of participants whose ages are between 23 and 27 years.

countif with greater than less than criteria in excel


7. Use of COUNTIF with Multiple OR Criteria in Excel

Now we’ll apply two different criteria in a single column. We’ll find out the number of total participants from Texas and Colorado states.

📌 Steps:

➤ In the output Cell C24, the required formula will be:

=COUNTIF(E5:E19,D21)+COUNTIF(E5:E19,D22)

Or,

=COUNTIF(E5:E19,"Texas")+COUNTIF(E5:E19,"Colorado")

➤ Press Enter and you’ll be shown the resultant value at once.

countif with multiple or criteria in excel


8. Using COUNTIF to Find Duplicates in Two Columns

There are two lists of random names in Column B and Column C in the picture below. We’ll use the COUNTIF function here to determine the total number of duplicates or matches of the names between these two columns.

📌 Steps:

➤ Select the output Cell B22 and type:

=SUMPRODUCT(--(COUNTIF(B5:B19,C5:C19)>=1))

➤ Press Enter and you’ll see a total of 4 names that are present in both columns.

countif to count duplicate values in two columns in excel

🔎 How Does This Formula Work?

➤ Here COUNTIF function extracts the total number of matches for each name in an array and returns:

{1;0;0;1;0;0;0;1;0;0;0;0;1;0;0}

➤ With the comparison operator, the resultant values convert the numbers equal to or more than 1 into a logical value- TRUE and for 0, it returns FALSE. So, the overall return values look like then:

{TRUE;FALSE;FALSE;TRUE;FALSE;FALSE;FALSE;TRUE;FALSE;FALSE;FALSE;FALSE;TRUE;FALSE;FALSE}

➤ The Double-Unary(–) used before the COUNTIF function converts all of these booleans into numerical values- 1(TRUE) and 0(FALSE). So, the function will return:

{1;0;0;1;0;0;0;1;0;0;0;0;1;0;0}

➤ Finally, the SUMPRODUCT function sums all these numerical values and returns 4.


9. Use of COUNTIF to Extract Unique Values from Two Columns in Excel

To find the total counts of the unique values from two columns, we have to use almost a similar formula mentioned in the previous section. This time we have to apply the logical formula COUNTIF() = 0 to see in an array if the names in List 1 or Column B are unique or not.

📌 Steps:

➤ The related formula in the output Cell B22 to find the number of unique values from two different columns will be:

=SUMPRODUCT(--(COUNTIF(B5:B19,C5:C19)=0))

➤ After pressing Enter, you’ll get the desired output right away.

countif to count unique values in two columns in excel


10. Inserting Named Range in the COUNTIF Function to Count Cell with Criteria

We can use the named range as the criteria or the criteria range inside the COUNTIF function. To name a range of cells we have to select the specific cells first. In the Name Box situated at the top-left corner in the picture below, you have to edit the name of the selected range of cells or an array. For example, here I have selected the range of cells under the Age header in Column D and defined them with the name- Age.

By using this named range- Age, we’ll find out the total number of participants whose ages are between 23 and 27 years.

countif to count cells with named range in excel

📌 Steps:

➤ Select the output Cell C24 and type:

=COUNTIF(Age,">23") - COUNTIF(Age,">=27")

➤ Press Enter and the formula will return 5.

countif to count cells with named range in excel


💡 Things to Keep in Mind

🔺 You cannot input more than one criterion in the COUNTIF function. You have to use the COUNTIFS function for the inputs of multiple criteria.

🔺 COUNTIF function is not case-sensitive. If you need to count case-sensitive cells, then you have to use the EXACT function.

🔺 If you use cell reference with comparison operator then you have to use Ampersand(&) to connect the comparison operator and cell reference, such as “>”&A1 in the criteria argument.

🔺 If you use 255 or more characters in the COUNTIF function, the function will return an incorrect result.


Concluding Words

I hope all of the methods mentioned above to use the COUNTIF function will now help you to apply them in your Excel spreadsheets with more productivity. If you have any questions or feedback, please let me know in the comment section. Or you can check out our other articles related to Excel functions on this website.


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Nehad Ulfat

Hello, Welcome to my profile. I'm a Technical Content Creator as well as a Naval Architect & Marine Engineer. I have preferences to do analytical reasoning & writing articles on various statistical data. Here, you'll find my published articles on Microsoft Excel & other topics related to my interests!

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