Excel formula to count cells with certain text (exact and partial match)

The tutorial shows how to count number of cells with certain text in Excel. You will find formula examples for exact match, partial match and filtered cells.

Last week we looked at how to count cells with text in Excel, meaning all cells with any text. When analyzing large chunks of information, you may also want to know how many cells contain specific text. This tutorial explains how to do it in a simple way.

How to count cells with specific text in Excel

Microsoft Excel has a special function to conditionally count cells, the COUNTIF function. All you have to do is to supply the target text string in the criteria argument.

Here's a generic Excel formula to count number of cells containing specific text:

COUNTIF(range, "text")

The following example shows it in action. Supposing, you have a list of item IDs in A2:A10 and you want to count the number of cells with a particular id, say "AA-01". Type this string in the second argument, and you will get this simple formula:

=COUNTIF(A2:A10, "AA-01")

To enable your users to count cells with any given text without the need to modify the formula, input the text in a predefined cell, say D1, and supply the cell reference:

=COUNTIF(A2:A10, D1)
Excel formula to count cells with specific text

Note. The Excel COUNTIF function is case-insensitive, meaning it does not differentiate letter case. To treat uppercase and lowercase characters differently, use this case-sensitive formula.

How to count cells with certain text (partial match)

The formula discussed in the previous example matches the criteria exactly. If there is at least one different character in a cell, for instance an extra space in the end, that won't be an exact match and such a cell won't be counted.

To find the number of cells that contain certain text as part of their contents, use wildcard characters in your criteria, namely an asterisk (*) that represents any sequence or characters. Depending on your goal, a formula can look like one of the following.

Count cells that contain specific text at the very start:

COUNTIF(range, "text*")

Count cells that contain certain text in any position:

COUNTIF(range, "*text*")

For example, to find how many cells in the range A2:A10 begin with "AA", use this formula:

=COUNTIF(A2:A10, "AA*")

To get the count of cells containing "AA" in any position, use this one:

=COUNTIF(A2:A10, "*AA*")

To make the formulas more dynamic, replace the hardcoded strings with cell references.

To count cells that begin with certain text:

=COUNTIF(A2:A10, D1&"*")

To count cells with certain text anywhere in them:

=COUNTIF(A2:A10, "*"&D1&"*")

The screenshot below shows the results:
Formula to count cells containing a given text string

Count cells that contain specific text (case-sensitive)

In situation when you need to differentiate uppercase and lowercase characters, the COUNTIF function won't work. Depending on whether you are looking for an exact or partial match, you will have to build a different formula.

Case-sensitive formula to count cells with specific text (exact match)

To count the number of cells with certain text recognizing the text case, we will use a combination of the SUMPRODUCT and EXACT functions:

SUMPRODUCT(--EXACT("text", range))

How this formula works:

  • EXACT compares each cell in the range against the sample text and returns an array of TRUE and FALSE values, TRUE representing exact matches and FALSE all other cells. A double hyphen (called a double unary) coerces TRUE and FALSE into 1's and 0's.
  • SUMPRODUCT sums all the elements of the array. That sum is the number of 1's, which is the number of matches.

For example, to get the number of cells in A2:A10 that contain the text in D1 and handle uppercase and lowercase as different characters, use this formula:

Case-sensitive formula to get the number of cells with particular text

Case-sensitive formula to count cells with specific text (partial match)

To build a case-sensitive formula that can find a text string of interest anywhere in a cell, we are using 3 different functions:

SUMPRODUCT(--(ISNUMBER(FIND("text", range))))

How this formula works:

  • The case-sensitive FIND function searches for the target text in each cell of the range. If it succeeds, the function returns the position of the first character, otherwise the #VALUE! error. For the sake of clarity, we do not need to know the exact position, any number (as opposed to error) means that the cell contains the target text.
  • The ISNUMBER function handles the array of numbers and errors returned by FIND and converts the numbers to TRUE and anything else to FALSE. A double unary (--) coerces the logical values into ones and zeros.
  • SUMPRODUCT sums the array of 1's and 0's and returns the count of cells that contain the specified text as part of their contents.

To test the formula on real-life data, let's find how many cells in A2:A10 contain the substring input in D1:


And this returns a count of 3 (cells A2, A3 and A6):
Case-sensitive formula to count cells containing certain text anywhere in them

How to count filtered cells with specific text

To count visible items in a filtered list, you will need to use a combination of 4 or more functions depending on whether you want an exact or partial match. To make the examples easier to follow, let's take a quick look at the source data first.

Assuming, you have a table with Order IDs in column B and Quantity in column C like shown in the image below. For the moment, you are interested only in quantities greater than 1 and you filtered your table accordingly. The question is – how do you count filtered cells with a particular id?
How to count filtered cells with certain text

Formula to count filtered cells with specific text (exact match)

To count filtered cells whose contents match the sample text string exactly, use one of the following formulas:


=SUMPRODUCT(SUBTOTAL(103, OFFSET(A2:A10, ROW(A2:A10) - MIN(ROW(A2:A10)),,1)), --(B2:B10=F1))

Where F1 is the sample text and B2:B10 are the cells to count.
Formula to count filtered cells with particular text

How these formulas work:

At the core of both formulas, you perform 2 checks:

  1. Identify visible and hidden rows. For this, you use the SUBTOTAL function with the function_num argument set to 103. To supply all the individual cell references to SUBTOTAL, utilize either INDIRECT (in the first formula) or a combination of OFFSET, ROW and MIN (in the second formula). Since we aim to locate visible and hidden rows, it does not really matter which column to reference (A in our example). The result of this operation is an array of 1's and 0's where ones represent visible rows and zeros - hidden rows.
  2. Find cells containing given text. For this, compare the sample text (F1) against the range of cells (B2:B10). The result of this operation is an array of TRUE and FALSE values, which are coerced to 1's and 0's with the help of the double unary operator.

Finally, the SUMPRODUCT function multiplies the elements of the two arrays in the same positions, and then sums the resulting array. Because multiplying by zero gives zero, only the cells that have 1 in both arrays have 1 in the final array. The sum of 1's is the number of filtered cells that contain the specified text.

Formula to count filtered cells with specific text (partial match)

To count filtered cells containing certain text as part of the cell contents, modify the above formulas in the following way. Instead of comparing the sample text against the range of cells, search for the target text by using ISNUMBER and FIND as explained in one of the previous examples:


=SUMPRODUCT(SUBTOTAL(103, OFFSET(A2:A10, ROW(A2:A10) - MIN(ROW(A2:A10)),,1)), --(ISNUMBER(FIND(F1, B2:B10))))

As the result, the formulas will locate a given text string in any position in a cell:
Formula to count filtered cells with a certain text string in any position

Note. The SUBTOTAL function with 103 in the function_num argument, identifies all hidden cells, filtered out and hidden manually. As the result, the above formulas count only visible cells regardless of how invisible cells were hidden. To exclude only filtered out cells but include the ones hidden manually, use 3 for function_num.

That's how to count the number of cells with certain text in Excel. I thank you for reading and hope to see you on our blog next week!

Available downloads

Excel formulas to count cells with certain text


  1. Hello Sir!

    I want to verify if a specific set of numbers is included in a range. The specific number might be in any position in the range cells.

    As an example, I tried the formula below, but then it doesn't take into count the cells that are exactly the same as search value.
    21 ,12
    This becomes as "N" even though one of the range cell is exactly the same as search value.
    But it works perfectly for the range below which there are mix of cells (some with exact value, some with the value located in a random position in the cell) and the result is "Y".
    123, 12
    21, 123
    12, 21

  2. Hello,
    I've got a list of food additives abbreviated by the corresponding numbers and I want to count the amount of dishes for each combination.

    Salad 12
    Pasta 124
    Meat 245

    SUMPRODUCT(--EXACT(D4;$B$4:$B$500)) [D4="12"] gave me 2 hits since it counted "Salad" and "Pasta".
    How can I fix this?

      • There was an oversight on my part.
        Thank you for your response - I wouldn't have found the error that fast without you!

  3. Hi, I cannot find a solution to this problem. I have a large column with fruit and veg types in them. Some cells have just one item, other cells have multiple items separated by columns. I would like to extrapolate how many times each fruit or veg item occurs in the range. I don't want to search by specific fruit and veg type as the list is too large, but instead want a count of each unique item in the column.


    Parsnip, Turmeric
    Jerusalem Artichoke
    Jerusalem Artichoke
    Ginger, Jerusalem Artichoke
    Chive, Onion
    Jerusalem Artichoke, Potato
    Cabbage, Potato

    The list should output the following:

    Onion 3
    Parsnip 1
    Turmeric 1
    Jerusalem Artichoke 4
    Potato 3
    Ginger 1
    Chive 1
    Cabbage 1

    Thank you for your help!

    • I forgot, I would also like to be able to do the same again, but for a specific box size.

      Column E2:E12 and F2:F12 look like this:

      XLVB Onion
      XLVB Potato
      LVB Parsnip, Turmeric
      LVB Jerusalem Artichoke
      LVB Onion
      MVB Jerusalem Artichoke
      MVB Ginger, Jerusalem Artichoke
      MVB Chive, Onion
      SVB Jerusalem Artichoke, Potato
      SVB Cabbage, Potato

      So, I would like to know how many Jerusalem artichokes are in the MVB, for instance. Again, without me specifying the item name.

      For example,

      MVB Jerusalem artichoke 2
      MVB Ginger 1
      MVB Chive 1
      MVB Onion 1

      Thanks again.

  4. How do I do this and not get results back that are contained in what I am searching for? i.e. I want to look across values and count the number of times "reading" appears within sentences but i do not want to count the word "read" or "ding" (etc...). The word to look for is stored in a cell.

    • Hi! You can create an additional column where you use a formula to write 1 if the word is found. For example:


      For more information, please read: How to find substring in Excel
      To count how many times a word is found, sum the values in the column.
      You can also split the text into words using the TEXTSPLIT function. Then count the number of matches with the desired word using the SUM formula.

      =SUM(--(TEXTSPLIT(A1,," ")=D1))

      I hope it’ll be helpful. If this is not what you wanted, please describe the problem in more detail.

      • Thank you Alexander! but it didn't work for my use case, was getting #SPILL when trying to use a range.

        For example, i have a list of strings to find:

        strings to find on col D, with expected results (row by column):

        D E
        1 reading 2
        2 writing 0
        3 spelling 2

        range to search (G2:G12):


        • Hi! If you are comparing whole cell values, you can try this formula to count the number of matches:


          All the necessary information is in the article above.

  5. Please, how to count values ​​from a column whose name I enter on another sheet. I want it to find the right column on the sheet according to the name I entered on another sheet and from there count the occurrence of a certain value. Thank you.

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