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10 Excel Secrets Everyone Should Know

SalesHQ and Richard Rinyai

August 18, 2009

6. Counting Sums

You are near completion of a sales tracking spreadsheet and your boss asks you to find out how many clients have purchased a particular product, how many times they have purchased this year, last year, etc. You think to yourself, “How would I get this done, since it’s such a large spreadsheet and would take me hours to count it by hand?”

There’s a very simple solution to this problem. There are two functions in Microsoft Excel that can help you accomplish this task within a matter of seconds.

The two functions are “count” and “counta”. Don’t worry, the latter one isn’t misspelled.

1. The “count” function is used for counting numbers.

2. The “counta” function is used for counting everything but numbers, such as client’s names, company names, etc.

To use the count function:

1. Click on the particular cell that you want to have your count shown in.

2. Type “=count(“ without the quotes, then select the range of cells that you want to capture, such as a list of sales, then type “)” without the quotes and hit enter.

To use the counta function, simply follow the steps above, but replace “count” with “counta”. Make sure that you are using this function for non-numerical data.

Now you can show your boss that you can get these details in a snap!