Learn Excel – Part 12 – COUNT, COUNTA, AND COUNTBLANK Functions

These three functions are interrelated which is why I will be discussing them together. In the next part, I will take into account COUNTIF AND COUNTIFS functions as well. I will try to make it simple, so that there is no confusion.


The COUNT Function


The syntax of this function is as follows:


=COUNT(cell_range)


The cell range is all the cells included within the formula. When inputting a cell range, first put starting cell, e.g., B2, followed by a “:”, then the ending cell, e.g., B10. So, the formula can be put like this:


=COUNT(B2:B10) ------ Relative reference


Both types of Absolute and Relative references can be used:


=COUNT($B$2:$B$10) ----- Absolute reference


Using either absolute or relative reference does not affect the result of this formula. You can also use cells apart from each other, in that case, you have to use a “,” instead of a colon, e.g., (B2,C4,F5), etc.


Using range will get the result of the formula from the starting till the end cell, including all cells in between. Using different cells with a “,” will just get the results from those cells.


What does the COUNT function do?

The COUNT function will count all those cells having numbers in them. Like for example, look at the following example:

When we press Enter key, we will get the following result:

Note that we have used the range from C2 to C14 by writing like this C2:C14.


It’s that simple. COUNT function will count all the values with numbers in it, for example, dates, numbers represented as text, and the formulas returning the results as numbers.


So, you can count all those cells having numbers in them. Please remember that it will not count those cells having:

  • Text in it.

  • Error-values returned by a formula

  • A cell has no value or empty

  • Any logical value which is not a number

The COUNT function is very useful on its own to count values in complicated data which are numbers, but most often this function is used in combination with other functions in complicated formulas.


The COUNTA Function

The syntax of this function is as follows:


=COUNTA(cell_range)


As described above, the cell range can be used just like we used above.


The COUNTA function counts the number of cells that are not empty in a range. If you want to count cells that are not blank or not empty, you can use this function. But, remember that it will count cells containing any type of information, including error values and empty text (""). For example, if the range contains a formula that returns an empty value, the COUNTA function counts that value.


So, please remember, that a cell seems to be empty, but maybe it has got a formula that is returning an empty value and therefore, will be counted by the COUNTA function.


The COUNTBLANK Function

The syntax of this function is as follows:


=COUNTBLANK(cell_range)


COUNTBLANK function counts the number of empty cells in a range of cells. It will count even those cells which contain the formula and returning no value. But it will not count a cell with zero value.


I think you get the idea of how and for what purpose to use these three functions. Most of the time, as stated above, these functions are used in conjunction with other functions in complicated formulas. We will be dealing with certain such formulas later in our tutorial and you will see the usefulness of such and other simple functions.


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask in the comments. Ciao!

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