How to count unique values in Excel an easy way

The tutorial looks at how to leverage the new dynamic array functions to count unique values in Excel: formula to count unique entries in a column, with multiple criteria, ignoring blanks, and more.

A couple of years ago, we discussed various ways to count unique and distinct values in Excel. But like any other software program, Microsoft Excel continuously evolves, and new features appear with almost every release. Today, we will look at how counting unique values in Excel can be done with the recently introduced dynamic array functions. If you have not used any of these functions yet, you will be amazed to see how much simpler the formulas become in terms of building and convenience to use.

Note. All the formulas discussed in this tutorial rely on the UNIQUE function, which is only available in the latest version of Excel 365. If you are using Excel 2019, Excel 2016 or earlier, please check out this article for solutions.

Count unique values in column

The easiest way to count unique values in a column is to use the UNIQUE function together with the COUNTA function:

COUNTA(UNIQUE(range))

The formula works with this simple logic: UNIQUE returns an array of unique entries, and COUNTA counts all the elements of the array.

As an example, let's count unique names in the range B2:B10:

=COUNTA(UNIQUE(B2:B10))

The formula tells us that there are 5 different names in the winners list:
Excel formula to count unique values in a column

Tip. In this example, we count unique text values, but you can use this formula for other data types too including numbers, dates, times, etc.

Count unique values that occur just once

In the previous example, we counted all the different (distinct) entries in a column. This time, we want to know the number of unique records that occur only once. To have it done, build your formula in this way:

To get a list of one-time occurrences, set the 3rd argument of UNIQUE to TRUE:

UNIQUE(B2:B10,,TRUE))

To count the unique one-time occurrences, nest UNIQUE in the ROW function:

ROWS(UNIQUE(B2:B10,,TRUE))

Please note that COUNTA won't work in this case because it counts all non-blank cells, including error values. So, if no results are found, UNIQUE would return an error, and COUNTA would count it as 1, which is wrong!

To handle possible errors, wrap the IFERROR function around your formula and instruct it to output 0 if any error occurs:

=IFERROR(ROWS(UNIQUE(B2:B10,,TRUE)), 0)

As the result, you get a count based on the database concept of unique:
Counting unique values that occur only once

Count unique rows in Excel

Now that you know how to count unique cells in a column, any idea on how to find the number of unique rows?

Here's the solution:

ROWS(UNIQUE(range))

The trick is to "feed" the entire range to UNIQUE so that it finds the unique combinations of values in multiple columns. After that, you simply enclose the formula in the ROWS function to calculate the number of rows.

For example, to count the unique rows in the range A2:C10, we use this formula:

=ROWS(UNIQUE(A2:C10))

Excel formula to count unique rows

Count unique entries ignoring blank cells

To count unique values in Excel ignoring blanks, employ the FILTER function to filter out empty cells, and then warp it in the already familiar COUNTA UNIQUE formula:

COUNTA(UNIQUE(FILTER(range, range<>"")))

With the source data in B2:B11, the formula takes this form:

=COUNTA(UNIQUE(FILTER(B2:B11, B2:B11<>"")))

The screenshot below shows the result:
Counting unique entries ignoring blank cells

Count unique values with criteria

To extract unique values based on certain criteria, you again use the UNIQUE and FILTER functions together as explained in this example. And then, you use the ROWS function to count unique entries and IFERROR to trap all kinds of errors and replace them with 0:

IFERROR(ROWS(UNIQUE(range, criteria_range=criteria))), 0)

For example, to find how many different winners there are in a specific sport, use this formula:

=IFERROR(ROWS(UNIQUE(FILTER(A2:A10,B2:B10=E1))), 0)

Where A2:A10 is a range to search for unique names (range), B2:B10 are the sports in which the winners compete (criteria_range), and E1 is the sport of interest (criteria).
Counting unique values with criteria

Count unique values with multiple criteria

The formula for counting unique values based on multiple criteria is pretty much similar to the above example, though the criteria are constructed a bit differently:

IFERROR(ROWS(UNIQUE(range, (criteria_range1=criteria1) * (criteria_range2=criteria2)))), 0)

Those who are curious to know the inner mechanics, can find the explanation of the formula's logic here: Find unique values based on multiple criteria.

In this example, we are going to find out how many different winners there are in a specific sport in F1 (criteria 1) and under the age in F2 (criteria 2). For this, we are using this formula:

=IFERROR(ROWS(UNIQUE(FILTER(A2:A10, (B2:B10=F1) * (C2:C10<F2)))), 0)

Where A2:B10 is the list of names (range), C2:C10 are sports (criteria_range 1) and D2:D10 are ages (criteria_range 2).
Counting unique values with multiple criteria
That's how to count unique values in Excel with the new dynamic array functions. I am sure you appreciate how much simpler all the solutions become. Anyway, thank you for reading and hope to see you on our blog next week!

Practice workbook for download

Count unique values formula examples (.xlsx file)

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Table of contents

68 responses to "How to count unique values in Excel an easy way"

  1. Sunil Pinto says:

    Dear Ablebits...
    Please help me to fix this task
    I have data in “A” column and input in “B” column and required result is in ” C” column.
    I already found the result is in “E” Column. But this result needs to fix the corresponding raw of the A Column.

    Data1 Data2 Required Result Formula
    1 2 1 1
    5 5 7
    7 9 7 11
    9 16 11
    9 25
    11 11 25
    11 11 33
    16 35
    16 58
    25 25 60

    Array Formula in E2 Column is :=IFERROR(IFERROR(INDEX($A$2:$A$21, SMALL(IF(COUNTIF($B$2:$B$21,$A$2:$A$21)=0, MATCH(ROW($A$2:$A$21),ROW($A$2:$A$21)), ""), ROWS($E$2:E2))), INDEX($B$2:$B$21, SMALL(IF(COUNTIF($A$2:$A$21,$B$2:$B$21)=0, MATCH(ROW($B$2:$B$21),ROW($B$2:$B$21)), ""), ROWS($E$2:E2)-SUM((COUNTIF($B$2:$B$21, $E$2:$E2)=0)+0))))," ")

  2. Shashikumar H says:

    Dark Chocolate 25gm box 12 pcs
    Dark Chocolate 20gm*24 box
    White Chocolate 15gm
    White Chocolate 25gm*24
    Biscuits W/Marshmallow300gm
    Chocolate 40gm
    Can some plz help to extract the numbers before "gm", for example : 25,20,15,25,300,40

  3. Ben says:

    Dear experts,
    I saw an article on getting distinct values. While i understand the array distinct formula, i am not able to understand the regular distinct formula.
    MATCH(0, INDEX(COUNTIF($B$1:B1, $A$2:$A$10), 0, 0), 0))
    not sure why there is a index function as it always return a value of 1 instead of an array not matter what is the range of column "B". Example MATCH(0, INDEX(COUNTIF($B$1:B3, $A$2:$A$10), 0, 0), 0))
    However, I tested this formula, it works. Just do not understand the rationale behind how this works.

  4. Jeffry says:

    Good day to Ablebits Team!

    i have a column of dates with ten entries (Random future dates) for each ten different material, i wanted to have a notification that would tell me how many of those materials will expire 30 days before the dates mentioned in their respective columns. any help would do.

  5. Alfred Peverelli says:

    Tab Unique values multiple criteria, when entering a value of 10 in F2, then E5 displays a #CALC! error message as expected, but F5 displays a value of 1 as COUNTA also calculates the cell which contains a string. Using such a formula may render incorrect results, which aren't very obvious for users, without thorough checking. Unfortunately cannot use the COUNTBLANK formula to add to the existing formula and subtract records when containing a string to come to the correct result. Any other workaround?

    • Hello Alfred!
      Thank you for pointing out this issue! We will check all the formulas in this tutorial for "non-matched" criteria and fix the erroneous ones.

      In the meantime, you can use these formulas:
      E5
      =IFERROR(UNIQUE(FILTER(A2:A10, (B2:B10=F1) * (C2:C10<F2))),"")

      F5
      =SUM(--NOT(ISERROR(UNIQUE(FILTER(A2:A10,(B2:B10=F1)*(C2:C10<F2))))))

      I hope it’ll be helpful.

    • Hi Alfred,

      Thank you very much for catching this error! And my apologies for not testing the formula when the criteria are not met. In addition to Alexander's response, I can suggest the following solution:

      You can use the ROWS function to count unique entries (unlike COUNTA, it does not count error values) and IFERROR to trap all kinds of errors and replace them with 0. So, the formula in F5 would go as follows:

      =IFERROR(ROWS(UNIQUE(FILTER(A2:A10, (B2:B10=F1) * (C2:C10<F2)))), 0)

      We have updated this and a few other formulas in this tutorial. Thank you for helping me make this post a little better :)

  6. Petrine says:

    Hi,
    Thank you for this! Can you help me how to implement an extra condition? In your example it would correspond to adding the criteria of Age greater then 16 but below 19. When adding an extra condition it just counts 0 which is not the right case. See below implementation:
    =IFERROR(ROWS(UNIQUE(FILTER(A2:A10, (B2:B10=F1) * (C2:C1016))), 0)

  7. Anthony Emmanuel says:

    some commonly use function in excel explan with example

  8. Jack says:

    Hello, I'm trying to count unique individuals whose work location(s) are Ashburn (Column E) which could be depicted as 123 main st., Ashburn VA. An individual (Column A) can work at multiple Ashburn locations but I am only interested in counting them once. As an example, there are nine people working in Ashburn locations, but there are only three unique individuals working in Ashburn. I've looked at tons of examples but I simply can't get any of the formulas to work. Any ideas?

  9. Rakesh says:

    is there any way to count the unique value based on a text string in another column ?
    In the above example, count the unique values , if the other column contain "ball" ( basketball /Volleyball )

  10. Ani says:

    Hi,
    I have a sheet where there are multiple rows for a given text in a column, i need to pull data if there is only one unique row , if there is more than 1 row then need to display the number of rows

  11. Simone says:

    Hi,
    Your formulas an explanantions are very helpful thanks! I am struggling with getting the correct results and I'm not sure where the issue is. This is the formula I'm using, and it's giving me a reulst of 0 for all...
    =IFERROR(ROWS(UNIQUE(FILTER(Table_SDCdata[Site], (Table_SDCdata[Format]=[@Format]) * (Table_SDCdata[Region]=[@Region])))), 0)

    Just for the data size example: Main table I'm counting and filtering has 37 columns and 140 500 rows.
    So it's suppose to count the unique 'Site' values in the Main table (becuase there are many duplicates) if the 'Region' and 'Format' matches that in the current table.
    I used "=COUNTA(UNIQUE(FILTER(" before but it was giving a value of "1" for everything if I use it on big data sets, for smaller ones it works. From what I read online "COUNTA" doesn't work well with big data sets, so I have to find an alternative. Any reason as to why it's not working? Will it also be because of the data size?

    • Hello!
      Unfortunately, without seeing your data it is impossible to give you advice.

      I'm sorry, it is not very clear what result you want to get. Could you please describe your task in more detail and send us a small sample workbook with the source data and expected result to support@ablebits.com? Please include the link to your blog comment.

      We'll look into your task and try to help.

      • Simone says:

        Hi,

        Thank you in advance for the help: I've emailed the sample file as requested.

        What I'm trying to achieve is the following: Count all the unique 'Site' codes in the Master table, if the 'Region' and 'Format' matches that from the template table. There are many duplicates in the Masterfile for each site that matches the region and format, therefore I only want to count unique once. A small example (in case anyone else reads the post for future):
        MASTER TEMPLATE
        Format Region Site Format Region Count
        Corp EC EC1 Corp EC 2 (This would be EC1 and EC2)
        Corp WC WC1 Fran EC 1
        Fran EC EF1 Exp EC 1
        Exp EC EE1 Fran EC 1
        Corp EC EC1 Fran EC 1
        Fran WC WF1 Corp EC 2
        Corp EC EC2

        • Hello!
          Your formula is working correctly. However, Excel does not work correctly with so much data. If you replace your formula with

          =IFERROR(ROWS(UNIQUE(FILTER($B$2:$B$1000, ($A$2:$A$1000=A2) * ($D$2:$D$1000=D2)))), 0)

          then it counts the number of unique values correctly.

          An alternative option for counting unique values by 2 conditions is

          =SUMPRODUCT((($A$2:$A$10000=A2) * ($D$2:$D$10000=D2)) / COUNTIFS($A$2:$A$10000, $A$2:$A$10000, $D$2:$D$10000, $D$2:$D$10000, $B$2:$B$10000, $B$2:$B$10000))

          This formula also works correctly, but if you increase the range to 100,000 rows, it returns 0.

  12. Beatriz Amador says:

    Why if I put this formula
    =IFERROR(ROWS(UNIQUE(FILTER(C2:C210,J2:J210=J2))), 0), it get me some value
    if I increase the range from 210 to for example 400... It gives me 0 as result?
    thanks

  13. Yogesh Suvarna says:

    Hi ,
    I need help with count distinct in the below table-
    Variant Subcat CustomerCode CustomerName ProductName Jan Feb
    CREAM CREAM 6079 AL AHLI S/M CHOCOLATE CREAM 11105026 21 5
    CREAM CREAM 6079 AL AHLI S/M MANGO CREAM 11105029 21
    CREAM CREAM 6079 AL AHLI S/M ORANGE CREAM 11105028 21 4
    CREAM CREAM 99 AL DHAFRA SM ORANGE CREAM 11105028 21
    CREAM PROMO 99 AL DHAFRA SM CREAM BISC 11205001 269 30
    CREAM CREAM 7935 AL DOURIZ CHOCOLATE CREAM 11105026 21
    CREAM CREAM 7935 AL DOURIZ MANGO CREAM 11105029 22 4
    CREAM CREAM 4900 AL MADINA HYPERMARKET MANGO CREAM 11105029 21
    CREAM CREAM 4900 AL MADINA HYPERMARKET ORANGE CREAM 11105028 21

    CREAM CREAM No of customers who purchased Variant Cream 4 3
    CREAM PROMO 1 1

    I need to count the no of customers who purchased cream under each month , irrespective of the flavor.
    In the table , no of people who purchased cream was Jan - 4 , feb -3
    Similarly people who purchased cream promo was Jan =1 and Feb =1.
    Countif function counts all the product names as well .

  14. Prof. Dr. Elias M. Choueiri says:

    As usual, your tutorial gets directly to the point in a friendly manner. I encourage everyone to follow your tutorials 'cause they present the steps needed to accomplish a certain task in Excel in an easy way.

    Keep up the great work, and many thanks for the professional work you spread around with your tutorials!

  15. Deepak Kumar Sahu says:

    you can use Flash fill or Power Query

  16. Kelly says:

    Hi Experts,

    Can you please help me, I am not the best at Excel but I try!

    I need to find a simple way of counting the unique customer count against a particular Salesman. I can get the total unique values no problem and if I split down the Salesman that is fine also but I would like one formula rather than splitting the data every time i need to do this report!

    Help! I'm using O365

  17. Nicolas says:

    Hi! Is there a way to list (and keep updated) unique values from multiple worksheets? EG: I have sales report in tables in sheets per month (Jan, Feb, Etc). I would like to list unique values (EG: Client) across all active sheets. Thanks!

  18. Waseem Akram says:

    Hi,
    I have duplicate Numeric Data in Column A, against the cell B with a different unique Names and want to unique count in column C with every unique Name.

    Please anyone guide me...

  19. Sian Sands says:

    Hello, I am hoping you can help me with the below.

    If column C within my data matches the date I am looking for I would like to count the unique text values within column G.

    I have tried various options using a google search. If you could send me a simplified explanation that would be great.

    Thank you.

  20. Benjamin Altman says:

    I want to detect if there are multiple offer types listed in column F so I basically want to detect all unique cells in column F containing the word "offer" (unique in the sense that if some text with "offer" occurs multiple times it should only be considered once). I experimented based on your article and came up with this which worked:
    =SUM(--ISNUMBER(SEARCH("offer",UNIQUE($F:$F))))

    Is it possible to do something similar but across multiple worksheets? Doing this didn't work:
    =SUM(--ISNUMBER(SEARCH("offer",UNIQUE('Sheet1:Sheet3'!$F:$F))))

    Thanks!

  21. Alex Roth says:

    Hello,

    Im trying to count all cells with unique values within a column range (K2:K101) excluding any cells with value 0.
    I believe the formula should look something like =COUNTA(UNIQUE(FILTER(K2:K101, K2:K101"0"))) however this consistently gives me incorrect results.
    Do you have suggestions?

  22. Chandrika says:

    count unique values with the below data

    Sales Person Items Account
    A X XYZ
    A X XYZ
    A Y ABC
    B X PQR
    C Z MNL
    C Y HGF
    D X MTR
    D Y GTR

  23. AGM says:

    Hi all,

    Trying to find a formula for a stock portfolio and it seems i struggle a lot.

    I have a DB of purchases and sales in one tab (column with portoflio names - 5 and column with the ticker) and a summary page where i have all stocks and their performances with eventual rebalancing actions to be taken.

    What I want to make sure is that the number of stocks reported in the summary page are the unique number of stocks i have in the db tab (aim is to get a warn if i didn't include a new bought or sold stock in the summary page as rebalancing may be wrong

    Condition 1: Unique stock counts (number of - in the DB i have more purchases of the same stock)
    Condition 2: Count of Unique stock number among 5 different portfolios.

    I hope i clarified it and thanks in advance!

  24. Rough Lily says:

    Thanks, your "Count unique values with multiple criteria" section worked a treat!

  25. EB says:

    I have a formula I use but this one does not count distinct numbers

    =IF((COUNTIFS(Data!$J:$J,A8,Data!$I:$I,'Staff Enc'!$B$4))=0,"",(COUNTIFS(Data!$J:$J,A8,Data!$I:$I,'Staff Enc'!$B$4)))

    Does anyone have a suggestion on how to do something similar but count distinct numbers?

    I can send a sample report of how the formula works for me. Don't see were I could post it though.

  26. Neil says:

    I have data which records in the Cell the year the equipment is being replaced. I have in another cell the cost of all equipment purchased. I would like excel to give me the total cost of equipment replacement in each of the following 5 years. Dates have been setup to have a total after excel searches the year and adds the amount. Could you assist please.

  27. Vita says:

    Hi,
    I have data, let's say A to F, A to E is the criteria and i need to count distinct or unique from column F with criteria from A to E, but all i got is not how much distinct counts, it's only count how much times the duplicate is. Can you help me ?

  28. Jens Bay says:

    Hi

    I have three collums with similar values, the goal is to find the values occuring the most.

    I want to find the unique values in the two/three collumns and use a countif statement. However, whenever i use unique on more than one collumn its registered as unique rows rather than analysing the individual cells - how is this mitigated?

    Best Regards
    Jens

    • Hello!
      Your first phrase contradicts the second phrase. Do you want to find the most common values or unique values?
      Based on your description, it is hard to completely understand your task. I am assuming you want to extract unique values from cells of multiple columns.
      However, I’ll try to guess and offer you the following array formula:

      =INDIRECT(TEXT(MIN(IF(($A$2:$C$9<>"") * (COUNTIF($E$1:E1,$A$2:$C$9)=0), ROW($2:$9)*100+COLUMN($A:$C),7^8)),"R0C00"),)&""

      Assuming your values are in the range A2:C9, enter the formula in cell E2.
      In the above formula, A2:C9 indicates the range of cells from which you want to extract unique values.
      E1 is the first cell in the column where you want to place the result.
      $2:$9 is the rows containing the cells you want to use.
      $A:$C indicates that these columns contain the cells you want to use. Please change them to your own.
      Press Shift + Ctrl + Enter and then drag the fill handle to extract unique values until blank cells appear.

  29. Christina says:

    Hi there, thank you for this very helpful tutorial! I've created the below formula based on your tips:

    =IFERROR(ROWS(UNIQUE(FILTER('All Session Data'!$G:$G,('All Session Data'!B:B=EN1)*('All Session Data'!C:C=EN2)*('All Session Data'!I:I=EN4)*('All Session Data'!R:R=EN9)*('All Session Data'!T:T=EN8)))),0)

    The formula is supposed to count all unique values in column G based on the 5 criteria I've listed. I'm getting a 0 for the result. I'm working with 24,500 rows in Google Sheets. Any suggestions for a solution?

  30. Bedig says:

    Hello there I need a favor.
    I need someone to help me to put a formula in a excel
    I use the 2016 Version
    can anyone help me?

    • Hi,
      For me to be able to help you better, please describe your task in more detail. Please specify what you were trying to find, what formula you used and what problem or error occurred. Give an example of the source data and the expected result.
      It’ll help me understand it better and find a solution for you.

  31. Bedig says:

    I have many columns where each one has different dates
    For example Column A
    Box A1 is 02/24/2021
    Box A2 is 02/25/2021
    Box A3 is 02/26/2021
    Box A2 is 02/24/2021
    I should Know the date 24 how many times is found in this Column and put it in a Box and Multiply it By 5$
    So: IF Column A has let's say 3 times (02/24/2021) that means 3 x 5$ should be equal to 15$
    How Can I do this???

  32. Mariliana says:

    I am trying to count unique value with criteria. The criteria are to recognize the word starting with letter A in the second column. I changed the function FIND by SEARCH to use the wildcat but it is not working, maybe you can advise. I
    IFERROR(ROWS(UNIQUE(FILTER(G2:G2367,ISNUMBER(SEARCH("*A*",H2:H2367,1))))), 0)

  33. Tom says:

    Hi,

    I am looking for a method of how to return a list of cells and count with a partial match. I have used the formula below for returns with cells for a complete match.

    =IFERROR(INDEX($A$2:$A$115, MATCH(0, IF($C$2:$C$115="monitor", COUNTIF($H$6:$H6, $A$2:$A$115), ""), 0)),"")

    I have used the COUNTIFS function to list the count for the partial matches but it is not replicating the same outcome with partial matches - is this possible?

    Thanks, Tom

    • Hello!
      To count the number of partial matches of the word "monitor" in a range, use a formula like this:

      =SUM(--(ISNUMBER(SEARCH("monitor",B1:B25,1))))

      I hope this will help.

      • Tom says:

        Hi Alex,

        Apologies I forgot to mention that the list would be pulling the data from adjacent cells and then populating the lists, i.e. column A has variables and column B has comments.
        - The formula I used in the opening statement pulls from a complete match
        - The formula I need would be with a partial match

        I have sent an email to support address with the workbook if it makes more sense!

        Thanks, Tom

  34. Daniel says:

    Hi Alex,

    I have successfully applied the UNIQUE function, but I want to see how many times all unique (distinct) inputs were present in the original column. For example:
    A
    1
    1
    2

    The UNIQUE formula would give me: 1 and 2. In addition I want to see how many times the 1 and the 2 values were present in column A. Is this possible?

    Thanks, Daniel

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