How to count unique values in Excel

In this tutorial, you will learn how to count unique values in Excel with formulas, and how to get an automatic count of distinct values in a pivot table. We will also discuss a number of formula examples for counting unique names, texts, numbers, cased-sensitive unique values, and more.

When working with a large dataset in Excel, you may often need to know how many duplicate and unique values are there. And sometimes, you may want to count only the distinct (different) values.

If you have been visiting this blog on a regular basic, you already know the Excel formula to count duplicates. And today, we are going to explore different ways to count unique values in Excel. But for the sake of clarity, let's define the terms first.

  • Unique values - these are the values that appear in the list only once.
  • Distinct values - these are all different values in the list, i.e. unique values plus 1st occurrences of duplicate values.

The following screenshot demonstrates the difference:
Unique and distinct values

And now, let's see how you can count unique and distinct values in Excel using formulas and PivotTable features.

How to count unique values in Excel

Here's a common task that all Excel users have to perform once in a while. You have a list of data and you need to find out the number of unique values in that list. How do you do that? Easier than you may think :) Below you will find a few formulas to count unique values of different types.

Count unique values in a column

Supposing you have a column of names in your Excel worksheet, and you need to count unique names in that column. The solution is to use the SUM function in combination with IF and COUNTIF:

=SUM(IF(COUNTIF(range, range)=1,1,0))

Note. This is an array formula, so be sure to press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to complete it. Once you do this, Excel will automatically enclose the formula in {curly braces} like in the screenshot below. In no case should you type the curly braces manually, that won't work.

In this example, we are counting unique names in range A2:A10, so our formula takes the following shape:

Counting unique values in Excel

Further on in this tutorial, we are going to discuss a handful of other formulas to count unique values of different types. And because all those formulas are variations of the basic Excel unique values formula, it makes sense to break down the above formula, so you can fully understand how it works and tweak it for your data. If someone is not interested in technicalities, you can skip right to the next formula example.

How the Excel count unique values formula works

As you see, 3 different functions are used in our unique values formula - SUM, IF and COUNTIF. Looking from the inside out, here's what each function does:

  • The COUNTIF function counts how many times each individual value appears in the specified range.

    In this example, COUNTIF(A2:A10,A2:A10) returns the array {1;2;2;1;2;2;2;1;2}.

  • The IF function evaluates each value in the array returned by COUNTIF, keeps all 1's (unique values), and replaces all other values with zeros.

    So, the function IF(COUNTIF(A2:A10,A2:A10)=1,1,0) becomes IF(1;2;2;1;2;2;2;1;2) = 1,1,0, which turns into the array {1;0;0;1;0;0;0;1;0} where 1 is a unique value and 0 is a duplicate value.

  • Finally, the SUM function adds up the values in the array returned by IF and outputs the total number of unique values, which is exactly what we wanted.

Tip. To see what a specific part of your Excel unique values formula evaluates to, select that part in the formula bar and press the F9 key.

Count unique text values in Excel

If your Excel list contains both numerical and text values, and you want to count only unique text values, add the ISTEXT function to the array formula discussed above:


As you know, the Excel ISTEXT function returns TRUE if an evaluated value is text, FALSE otherwise. Since the asterisk (*) works as the AND operator in array formulas, the IF function returns 1 only if a value is both text and unique, 0 otherwise. And after the SUM function adds up all 1's, you will get a count of unique text values in the specified range.

Don't forget to press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to correctly enter the array formula, and you will get a result similar to this:
Counting unique text values in Excel

As you can see in the screenshot above, the formula returns the total number of unique text values, excluding blank cells, numbers, logical values of TRUE and FALSE, and errors.

Count unique numeric values in Excel

To count unique numbers in a list of data, utilize an array formula like we've just used for counting unique text values, with the only difference that you embed ISNUMBER instead of ISTEXT in your unique values formula:

Counting unique numeric values in Excel

Note. Since Microsoft Excel stores dates and times as serial numbers, they are also counted.

Count case-sensitive unique values in Excel

If your table contains case-sensitive data, the easiest way to count unique values would be creating a helper column with the following array formula to identify duplicate and unique items:


And then, use a simple COUNTIF function to count unique values:

=COUNTIF(B2:B10, "unique")
Counting case-sensitive unique values in Excel

Count distinct values in Excel (unique and 1st duplicate occurrences)

To get a count of distinct values in a list, use the following formula:

=SUM(1/COUNTIF(range, range))

Remember, it's an array formula, and therefore you should press the Ctrl + Shift + Enter shortcut instead of the usual Enter keystroke.

Alternatively, you can use the SUMPRODUCT function and complete the formula in the usual way by pressing the Enter key:

=SUMPRODUCT(1/COUNTIF(range, range))

For example, to count the distinct values in range A2:A10, you can go with either:



Counting distinct values in Excel

How the Excel distinct formula works

As you already know, we use the COUNTIF function to find out how many times each individual value appears in the specified range. In the above example, the result of the COUNTIF function is the following array: {2;2;3;1;2;2;3;1;3}.

After that, a number of division operations are performed, where each value of the array is used as a divisor with 1 as the dividend. This turns all duplicates values into fractional numbers corresponding to the number of duplicate occurrences. For example, if a value appears 2 times in the list, it generates 2 items in the array with a value of 0.5 (1/2=0.5). And if a value appears 3 times, it produces 3 items in the array with a value of 0.3(3). In our example, the result of 1/COUNTIF(A2:A10,A2:A10)) is the array {0.5;0.5;0.3(3);1;0.5;0.5;0.3(3);1;0.3(3)}.

Doesn't make much sense so far? That's because we haven't applied the SUM / SUMPRODUCT function yet. When one of these functions adds up the values in the array, the sum of all fractional numbers for each individual item always yields 1, no matter how many occurrences of that item exist in the list. And because all unique values appear in the array as 1's (1/1=1), the final result returned by the formula is the total number of all different values in the list.

Formulas to count distinct values of different types

As is the case with counting unique values in Excel, you can use variations of the basic Excel count distinct formula to handle specific value types such as numbers, text, and case-sensitive values.

Please remember that all of the below formulas are array formulas and require pressing Ctrl + Shift + Enter.

Count distinct values ignoring empty cells

If a column where you want to count distinct values might contain blank cells, you should add an IF function that will check the specified range for blanks (the basic Excel distinct formula discussed above would return the #DIV/0 error in this case):

=SUM(IF(range<>"",1/COUNTIF(range, range), 0))

For example, to count distinct values in range A2:A10, use the following array formula:

=SUM(IF(A2:A10<>"",1/COUNTIF(A2:A10, A2:A10), 0))
The formula to count distinct values ignoring empty cells

Formula to count distinct text values

To count distinct text values in a column, we'll be using the same approach that we've just used to exclude empty cells.

As you can easily guess, we will simply embed the ISTEXT function into our Excel count distinct formula:

=SUM(IF(ISTEXT(range),1/COUNTIF(range, range),""))

And here's a real-life formula example:

=SUM(IF(ISTEXT(A2:A10),1/COUNTIF(A2:A10, A2:A10),""))

Formula to count distinct numbers

To count distinct numeric values (numbers, dates and times), use the ISNUMBER function:

=SUM(IF(ISNUMBER(range),1/COUNTIF(range, range),""))

For example, to count all different numbers in range A2:A10, use the following formula:

=SUM(IF(ISNUMBER(A2:A10),1/COUNTIF(A2:A10, A2:A10),""))

Count case-sensitive distinct values in Excel

Similarly to counting case-sensitive unique values, the easiest way to count case-sensitive distinct values is to add a helper column with the array formula that identifies unique values including first duplicate occurrences. The formula is basically the same as the one we used to count case-sensitive unique values, with one small change in a cell reference that makes a great difference:


As you remember, all array formulas in Excel require pressing Ctrl + Shift + Enter.

After the above formula is finished, you can count "distinct" values with a usual COUNTIF formula like this:

=COUNTIF(B2:B10, "distinct")
Counting case-sensitive distinct values in Excel

If there is no way you can add a helper column to your worksheet, you can use the following complex array formula to count case-sensitive distinct values without creating an additional column:

=SUM(IFERROR(1/IF($A$2:$A$10<>"", FREQUENCY(IF(EXACT($A$2:$A$10, TRANSPOSE($A$2:$A$10)), MATCH(ROW($A$2:$A$10), ROW($A$2:$A$10)), ""), MATCH(ROW($A$2:$A$10), ROW($A$2:$A$10))), 0), 0))

Count unique and distinct rows in Excel

Counting unique / distinct rows in Excel is akin to counting unique and distinct values, with the only difference that you use the COUNTIFS function instead of COUNTIF, which lets you specify several columns to check for unique values.

For example, to count unique or distinct names based on the values in columns A (First Name) and B (Last Name), use one of the following formulas:

Formula to count unique rows:

=SUM(IF(COUNTIFS(A2:A10,A2:A10, B2:B10,B2:B10)=1,1,0))

Formula to count distinct rows:

Counting unique and distinct rows in Excel

Naturally, you are not limited to counting unique rows based only on two columns, the Excel COUNTIFS function can process up to 127 range/criteria pairs.

Count distinct values in Excel using a PivotTable

The latest versions of Excel 2013 and Excel 2016 have a special feature that allows counting distinct values automatically in a pivot table. The following screenshot gives an idea of how the Excel Distinct Count looks like:
Distinct count in a pivot table

To create a pivot table with the distinct count for a certain column, perform the following steps.

  1. Select the data to be included in a pivot table, switch to the Insert tab, Tables group, and click the PivotTable button.
  2. In the Create PivotTable dialog, choose whether to place your pivot table in a new or existing worksheet, and be sure to select the Add this data to the Data Model checkbox.
    Select the 'Add this data to the Data Model' checkbox.
  3. When your pivot table opens, arrange the Rows, Columns and Values areas the way you want. If you don't have much experience with Excel pivot tables, the following detailed guidelines may prove helpful: Creating a PivotTable in Excel.
  4. Move the field whose distinct count you want to calculate (Item field in this example) to the Values area, click on it, and select Field Value Settings… from the drop-down menu:
    Move the field whose distinct count you want to calculate to the Values area, and select Field Value Settings…
  5. The Value Field Settings dialog window will open, you scroll down to Distinct Count, which is the very last option in the list, select it and click OK.

You can also give a custom name to your Distinct Count if you want to.
Scroll down to the very last option and select Distinct Count.

Done! The newly created pivot table will display the distinct count like shown in the very first screenshot in this section.

Tip. After updating your source data, remember to update the PivotTable to bring the distinct count up to date. To refresh a pivot table, just click the Refresh button on the Analyze tab, in the Data group.

This is how you count distinct and unique values in Excel. If someone wants to have a closer look at the formulas discussed in this tutorial, you are welcome to download the sample Excel Count Unique workbook.

I thank you for reading and hope to see you again next week. In the next article, we are going to discuss various ways to find, filter, extract and highlights unique values in Excel. Please stay tuned!


  1. Good Day, I need to count unique names in a column but only the first six characters is relevant in each name. So for instance name "Sale Price" I only need for example "Sale P" so =LEFT(A2,6) but need a count of distinct occurrences such as "Sale P"; Sold; Purch. etc. ( I know some will return incomplete its not words I want but distinct occurrences.) I want to know if that column contain any sales or purchases etc. I don't want a filter with predetermined names I could have unexpected names.

  2. How would you convert your formula for DISTINCT values using CSE, ie. {=SUM(1/COUNTIF(range, range))} in Excel 365?

    • Hi! I'm not quite sure what you want. This formula counts distinct values. This formula and other formulas are described in detail in the paragraph above: Count distinct values in Excel (unique and 1st duplicate occurrences). Explain your question in detail.

      • The formula above, and the one using SUMPRODUCT, require C+S+E. Is there another way of writing these formulas using dynamic arrays ( not using C+S+E )?

  3. Can you confirm the formula to count distinct text values ignoring empty cells. I should probably be able to work it out from what you've given us so far but I can't! Thanks.

  4. needed to count distinct values and it took a while until I found your page. You made it easy. Thank you.

    Emphasize the importance of CRTL-SHIFT-ENTER, but it works great.

  5. Hi there,

    I have a report that contains multiple rows that contain the same number in Column A.

    What formula would I use to get a count of unique values in Column A (i.e. exclude duplicates) that re-totals when the report is filtered on a different column (Column H in this case)?

    Any tips would be appreciated :)


  6. I have a list of invoices numbers in Col F and I have the date of each invoice in Col D. I want to Write a formula that looks at Cell O4 that (Month-Year) and get a count of distinct invoices from that month. I do not want to use pivot tables becasue they take up too much storage and my file is already large.

    Any help would be very apprecitaed.

    • Hi! You can use the information from the article above or these instructions: COUNTIF formulas for dates. Unfortunately, this information is not enough to recommend a formula to you. Which value is written in cell O4 - date or text?
      If there are duplicates in column F and you want to count only unique values, use these instructions: Count unique values with criteria.
      To recommend a formula, please describe the problem in detail.

  7. Hi,
    I want to count distinct value in a dynamic table.
    I have applied "slicer" and want to count distinct value from visible rows of table.
    Count should change as I change slicer criteria.


  8. always struggled with this scenario

    col a col b
    1 1
    1 0
    2 1
    3 1
    4 1
    4 0
    5 1
    2 0

    the question in column b is "is the value in column A unique ?" 1 for yes and 0 for no. I've only achieved this with sorting the data and then using A2=A3 true/false

  9. I have a bunch of excel files, each file contain a contact name, company name, phone number and email address. I would like to extract those information (contact name, company name, phone number and email address) from all the individual excel files sitting in a file folder and put them into one excel file called Customers under 4 headings (contact name, company name, phone number, email address).

    All the information are located in the same cell locations for all the individual excel files.

  10. Column A Column B I want
    1 John John
    0 0 John
    0 0 John
    0 0 John
    2 Charles Charles
    0 0 Charles
    0 0 Charles
    0 0 Charles

    When new serial starts in Column A, corresponding value in Column repeats itself. Kindly guide how?

  11. I want to get the distinct count of 1st row wrt to the second row
    Row1 Row2
    Apples Nov
    Apples Nov
    Orange Nov
    Banana Dec
    Apples Dec
    Orange Dec
    Banana Dec

    Now looking that in Nov there are count of different fruits are 2 and in Dec count of different fruits are 3

    require formula for same

  12. A B
    F51 12345
    F31 12346
    F53 12347
    F31 23456
    F48 23456
    F51 12345
    F51 12349
    F53 12347
    I want this result (to show count of distinct values).
    F51 = 2
    F31 = 2
    F53 = 1
    F48 = 1

    • Pay attention to the following paragraph of the article above: How to count unique rows in Excel.
      It covers your case completely.

  13. looking to have all unique values in a column return a "1" the first time they show up, and every other time that name shows up return a "0"
    Matt - 1
    John - 1
    Fred - 1
    Matt - 0
    Bob - 1
    Fred - 0

  14. This was a very helpful page, but I wanted to count blank cells. This seemed to work:
    =SUM(IF(ISTEXT(),1/COUNTIF(, ),"")) + IF(COUNTBLANK(),1,0)

  15. If I have a list of numbers (a column that represent the number of days receivable outstanding - column Days Outstanding), how do I have excel count the numbers in a specified range (Age Ranges) and enter the results in (Expected results)). For example

    Days Outstanding Age Ranges Expected Results
    35 0-20 1
    53 21-40 1
    60 41-60 2
    5 61-80 1
    75 81-100 1

    Thanks much

  16. Column A Column B Column C
    Student No. Student No BA No of occurrences
    79700001 79700001 4
    79700001 79700002 5
    79700001 79700003 4
    79700001 79700004 8
    79700002 79700005 7
    79700002 79700006 7
    79700002 79700007
    79700002 79700008
    79700002 79700009

    Which formula to use to count the of occurrences per student. The total to in Column C, as per example (manual)

  17. Hi

    I want to use sumıf functions but my number is 20 character that's why my formula dosent work. These are the unique numbers but sumıf functions seems whole number are same

    88662511009190000314 = SUMIF(Z:Z;AE3;AA:AA) = 21 :(


  18. 15039819 469072
    15039819 418462
    15039844 616305
    15039844 723803
    15039844 723803

    i expect result

    15039819 469072 2
    15039819 418462 2
    15039844 616305 2
    15039844 723803 2
    15039844 723803 2

    i have to count how many unique value in column B have for every value of column 1.

  19. How do I do a unique count of products by supplier.

    I have a distinct list of suppliers, and then a data summary of products used in a seperate table.

    I've tried =if(table2[supplier]=a3,dcount(table2[product description],0) but it's not working??

  20. Hi, how do I count the number of unique items in a column that fall between 2 dates. For example, how do I count each invoice number that falls between 1/1/22-2/1/22 . I was able to figure out how to count the number of invoices that fall within that date, but now I need to find the number of invoices that fall within that period.

  21. I feel stupid. I put this formula in, and replace the range of 50 numbers with many distinct values, and the result is 1. I don't know what I'm doing wrong.

    =SUM(IF(ISTEXT(C2:C50),1/COUNTIF(C2:C50, C2:C50),""))

  22. Hi,
    I have a column where each cell has multiple values separated by commas. Is there a way to list out each distinct value in each cell and display a count next to it? For example, in cell A1 I have "WTG, WTG, WTH, WTG, WTH". In B1, I want to show "WTG (3), WTH (2)".

    Thank you!

  23. Is it possible to combine a countif/ sumif formula? I have a list of different names in column 'A' and another list in column 'H'.

    Example of what I need:

    If the name in column 'A' is Andrew, sum the distinct values in column 'H'.

  24. Hi All,

    I have an excel where I need an formula to determine the count of projects from column A (there are duplicate values in this column)
    This has to be combinated with the name of the Project Manager from column F.

    Data looks like this

    PS230000 - John Doe
    PS230000 - John Doe
    PS230000 - John Doe
    PS230001 - Jane Doe
    PS230001 - Jane Doe
    PS230002 - John Doe

    For the count of the projects I used =SUMPRODUCT((B5:B130"")/COUNTIF(B5:B130;B5:B130&"")) but I dont know how to add this to the name of the Project Manager so that I know how many projects John has and how many projects Jane has.

      • Hi,

        Thank you very much! unfortunately this won't work.
        I forgot to mention that the Excel I have available is 2019 so the FILTER function does not exist.

  25. Hello! I am struggling to find the right formula or table to give me the calculation I want. I'm hoping you can help! Column A has the dates, column E has a list of school district names - same school district name is used multiple times, and column I has the number of tests that have been started. I need the count of how many distinct school districts have started (I>0) as of a specific date. For example, the data looks a bit like this:
    Date District Name Total Student Started
    3/20/2023 K-12 Schools #1 0
    3/20/2023 K-12 Schools #1 13
    3/20/2023 K-12 Schools #2 33
    3/20/2023 K-12 Schools #2 2
    3/20/2023 K-12 Schools #3 2
    3/20/2023 K-12 Schools #3 34

      • Oh my gosh, yes! That's exactly what I wanted!

  26. Greetings!
    I have a column in which numbers appear in an increasing sequence, example:
    (Y20:Y30) - 1,6,9,12,13,18,24,31,31,36,36, ...
    I need a formula that will show in the second column in the corresponding row the number of occurrences of numbers by increasing value > of 20, for example:
    (Z20:Z30) - 0,0,0,0,0,0,1,2,0,1,0, ...
    This example should display (Z20:Z30) for the numbers that appeared in (Y20:Y30). As can be seen in the example, the problem arises when the same values appear, (31,31,/36,36). When the same number appears to me, perhaps several times, then "0" or "" an empty cell should be displayed, and for further occurrences of increasing values, counting in order should be continued.
    Example : - 0,0,0,0,0,0,1,2,0,1,0, ... 3,4,5,6, ... I tried a lot of formulas and of course I didn't succeed.. . i tried : =IF(Y20:Y30>29,Y20:Y30,"")
    =COUNTIFS(Y19:Y20,">30") / =COUNTIFS(Y19:Y21,">30") / =COUNTIFS(Y19:Y22,">30")/=COUNTIFS(Y19:Y23,">30" )/Y24, ...Y30.
    =IF(AB20>AB19,AB20,"0") / =IF(AB21>AB20,AB21,"0") /
    =IF(AB22>AB21,AB22,"0") / ...
    =IF(Y27>Y26,Y27,"0") / =IF(Y28>Y27,Y28,"0") / =IF(Y29>Y28,Y29,"0") Help Goran

    • Hi!
      If I understand your task correctly, the following formula should work for you:


      • I am very grateful to you! Works !

  27. Hi I have a tables with dates in column a, projects in column B, and employee names in column c. The employee names repeat on the table and so do the project.

    I have a another table with the project names removed with duplicates. I need help with a formula that would count how many employees worked on that job, leaving out duplicates, based on the project name in the column beside it. Any suggestions?

  28. Thank you, this is super helpful! I am trying to count distinct values in a column using a wildcard value. In other words, I want to distinctly count all the values that start with "abc" in a column and separately, I want to also distinctly count all the values that start with "xyz" in the same column. What is the "if" statement that I can use in front of the 1/COUNTIF part of the formula?

  29. Thank you very much for this formula {=SUM(IF(A2:A10"",1/COUNTIF(A2:A10, A2:A10), 0))}

  30. Dear friends,
    I am trying to do a distinct count of Purchase orders numbers, excluding blanks in Column B. This I can do with the above help, but I am struggling to find a way to add an extra condition, that the distinct count should be only from 1 requisition type from the 5 types in column A.
    A little nudge in the right direction would save my life!

    Thank you so much, I appreciate so much your wonderful explanations.

      • Thank you so much for your reply.
        I have tried to look at that article but I am not sure how I could use it to find a distinct count of order numbers and not unique order numbers. I am trying to get the results show in column D. So sorry to ask again for help, but I really do appreciate it!

        Column A Column B Column C Column D
        Requisition type: Order Number: Distinct Orders by Req Type:
        Purchase Req 500. Purchase Req 2
        Purchase Req. 500. Inventory Replenishment 2
        Purchase Req. 501
        Inventory Replenishment 502
        Inventory Replenishment 502
        Inventory Replenishment 503
        Inventory Replenishment 503

        • Hi!
          I’m sorry but your description doesn’t give me a complete understanding of your task. Correct me if I’m wrong, you want to get a list of unique order numbers. This can be done on a separate column using the UNIQUE function. Then use the COUNTIFS function to count the number for each of them.
          If this is not what you wanted, provide me with an example of the expected result.

  31. Hello,

    Is there a way if i can make a sheet about late commers ( if i check his name out i can seeee how many time he is late )?

    with lookups

    If you know what a mean

    kind regards

  32. Hello Friends, I need to find the top 3 fruits and its total count using a single formula without pivot/list.



    • Yes! you Can by using assigned function

      =CONCATENATE("Banana = ",COUNTIF($B$4:$B$27,"Banana"), ", Apple = ",COUNTIF($B$4:$B$27,"Apple"), ", Mango = ",COUNTIF($B$4:$B$27,"Mango"),", Orange = ",COUNTIF($B$4:$B$27,"Orange"))

  33. Hi. Is there any formula to count the distinct numbers or texts across multiple spreadsheets? There are some duplicates across different spreadsheets. thank u so much.

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