COUNT vs. COUNTA in Excel: What’s the Difference?


In Excel, the COUNT and COUNTA functions both count the number of cells in a range, but they use slightly different behaviors:

  • The COUNT function counts the number of cells in a range that contain numbers.
  • The COUNTA function counts the number of cells in a range that are not empty.

The COUNT function is useful for counting the number of cells in a range that contain numeric values.

The COUNTA function is useful for counting the number of cells in a range that contain any value.

The following examples show how to use each function in practice.

Example 1: All Values in Range are Numeric

If we use the COUNT and COUTNA functions to count the number of cells in a range in which every cell is numeric (or blank), the two functions will return the same value:

In this case, there are 9 cells in the Sales column that contain numeric values and one cell that is blank.

The COUNT function tells us that there are 9 cells with numeric values in the Sales column.

The COUNTA function tells us that there are 9 cells with any value in the Sales column.

Example 2: Some Values in Range are Not Numeric

If we use the COUNT and COUTNA functions to count the number of cells in a range in which some cells are not numeric, the two functions will return different values:

In this case, there are seven cells in the Sales column that contain numeric values, two cells that contain character values, and one cell that is blank.

The COUNT function tells us that there are 7 cells with numeric values in the Sales column.

The COUNTA function tells us that there are 9 cells with any value in the Sales column.

Additional Resources

The following tutorials explain how to perform other common tasks in Excel:

How to Count Filtered Rows in Excel
How to Count Duplicates in Excel
How to Count by Group in Excel

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