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Alice Keeler

COUNTA in Google Sheets™

How to use COUNTA in Google Sheets. This helpful formula works differently than COUNT. I will explain how.
COUNTA in Google Sheets™

What formula do I use the most in Google Sheets, it might be =COUNTA. Let me explain to you what COUNTA does and how it is different than =COUNT.

How to use COUNTA

=COUNT(range) will count how many numbers are in the selected range. Notice in the sample sheet that there are 48 numbers in the grid of numbers and words. However, of all the numbers and words, there are 133 cells with content. =COUNTA(range) counts both numbers and alphanumeric values in the cells.

In a cell type an equals sign and type COUNTA(
Then, highlight the range of cells that contain words and/or numbers.
Press Enter.


In this example, I have used absolute cell referencing around the cell range. This absolutely guarantees I am counting the values between cells D3 and J21. I would have obtained the same results if I had used =COUNTA(D3:J21). However, since I copied the cell A3 using =COUNT( on the same range, by adding the dollar signs I guaranteed that both were comparing the same range.

Tip: Use F4 to automatically add the dollar signs for your absolute cell referencing.

Change Some of the Values

In the sample spreadsheet, change some of the words to numbers or vice versa. You can also delete some of the values entirely. This will allow you to see how =COUNT works differently than =COUNTA.

I almost always use =COUNTA(

Since =COUNTA also counts numbers it pretty much works all the time. I reserve =COUNT for when I have a mixture of numerical cell values and textual cell values but I only want to count the numbers. In other words, I never use COUNT.

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