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Count Text or Numeric Entries with COUNTA instead of COUNT

October 27, 2001 - by Bill Jelen

Paul has a column of names.

Is there a function which will count the number of text entries in the column?

Yes, Paul, this is frustrating. I will bet you are a recent Lotus 1-2-3 user. In Lotus, of course, @COUNT(A1:A100) would work, but alas in Excel, the COUNT() function only counts numeric entries. These small changes are one of the frustrating challenges in switching from Lotus to Excel. It would be so much easier if Microsoft were to include a help topic entitled, "Really Minor Changes we Made to the Most Popular @Functions."

The new function in Excel to count a column that contains text entries is


It's not a personal vendetta against former Lotus users - merely an effort to improve the product. You can now count everything with =COUNTA() or just count numeric data with =COUNT()...

Hey - by the way - if you are switching from Lotus, the @VLOOKUP has been improved - you will have to add a 4th argument of FALSE to get the Excel VLOOKUP to work like the Lotus @VLOOKUP...

Bill Jelen is the author / co-author of
MrExcel LIVe

A book for people who use Excel 40+ hours per week. Illustrated in full color.