How to use the COUNTA function in Excel

Updated on: March 23, 2023

Despite the COUNTIF and COUNTIFS functions, you might be wondering how you can simply count your cells, no matter if text, formulas, errors, or numbers are within.

Don’t wait any longer. You must know how to use the COUNTA function in Microsoft Excel!

What is the COUNTA function:

As you can imagine, this operation can give a numeric value of all non-empty cells by a specific range. This function is handy when you have large amounts of data that contain both text and numerical values, as it allows you to quickly and accurately count the total number of cells that contain any type of data.

Note: You must be careful because this operation counts all data types, including text, numbers, and errors. So if a cell contains an error value such as #N/A or #VALUE!, the COUNTA function will still count it as a non-empty cell.

How to insert and type the COUNTA function?

To use the COUNTA function, you must know how its syntax work:

=COUNTA(value1, [value2], [value3], ...)

As you can see, this formula is simple because it only requires the values or range to be evaluated. Thus, to be more precise, follow these steps:

  1. First, select the cell where you want to display the result.

Note: To use the COUNTA function, select the range of cells you want to count. You can do this by clicking and dragging your mouse over the cells or by selecting the first cell in the range and then holding down the Shift key while choosing the last cell.

  1. Type the equal sign (=) to start the formula.
  2. Type COUNTA, followed by an opening parenthesis.
  3. Enter the range or list of values you want to count, separated by commas. For example, if you count the number of non-empty cells in the range A1:A10, you would enter A1:A10 inside the parenthesis.
  4. Close the parenthesis and press Enter.

Ultimately, you will obtain this result: =COUNTA(A1:A10). If you have tables, you only need to put the column name or range =COUNTA(Table1[Product]).

Why does The COUNTA function differently from other operations?

One key difference between the COUNTA function and the COUNT function is that the COUNT function only counts cells that contain numerical values. In contrast, the COUNTA function counts all types of data. 

On the other hand, the COUNTIF function allows you to count the number of cells within a range that meet particular criteria, such as the COUNTIFS operation.

So remember: when deciding which function to use, consider the nature of your data and the question you want to answer. If you want to count cells based on criteria, use the COUNTIF function. If you want to count cells based on multiple criteria, use the COUNTIFS function.

Do you want to improve your Excel Skills?

If you want to know how this function works, you definitely must try our Excel course here at Skillademia

Lorena M. Rodas leverages her experience across film, writing, and production to make complex tech concepts accessible through storytelling. With a background spanning sci-fi, AI, and emerging tech, Lorena translates her depth of knowledge into engaging, educational content. She is an expert at decoding high-level topics to reach broad audiences.
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