Google Sheets: How to Count Frequency of a Word’s Appearance

Counting how many times a word appears in Google Sheets is a breeze once you get the hang of it. You’ll be using a combination of functions to search through your data and tally up the occurrences. Ready to learn how? Let’s dive in!

Step by Step Tutorial: Counting Words in Google Sheets

Before we start clicking and typing away, it’s good to know what we’re aiming for. We’ll be using a function called COUNTIF, which, as the name suggests, counts the number of times a specific condition is met. In this case, that condition is the number of times a word appears.

Step 1: Select the range of cells you want to search

Click and drag to highlight the cells where your word might be hiding.

This is where you decide the scope of your search. You can select a column, a row, or a specific set of cells where you think the word might appear.

Step 2: Type the COUNTIF function

In an empty cell, type =COUNTIF(range, "word"), replacing ‘range’ with your selected cells and ‘word’ with the word you’re counting.

This magical formula is the key to your query. Make sure to include quotation marks around the word you’re searching for, so Google Sheets knows exactly what to look for.

Step 3: Press Enter

After typing the function, hit the Enter key to execute it.

And just like that, Google Sheets will do the number-crunching for you. The cell where you typed the function will now display the number of times your specified word appears in the selected range.

After completing these steps, you’ll have a cell that displays the count of your specified word within the range you selected. It’s a powerful way to analyze text data in your spreadsheet.

Tips for Counting Words in Google Sheets

  • Make sure your data is clean and consistent to get accurate counts. For example, "dog" and "Dog" would be counted separately because of the difference in capitalization.
  • Use wildcards in your COUNTIF function to broaden your search. For instance, "dog" will count all instances that contain the word "dog," even if it’s part of a larger word or phrase.
  • Remember that COUNTIF is case-sensitive. To count words without considering case, use the LOWER function to convert all text to lowercase first.
  • If you’re dealing with a large data set, consider breaking it into smaller ranges to make your counts more manageable.
  • Combine COUNTIF with other functions, like SUM, to aggregate counts across multiple ranges or criteria.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I want to count multiple words?

Use separate COUNTIF functions for each word, then add the results together.

For example, =COUNTIF(range,"dog")+COUNTIF(range,"cat") will give you the total count for both "dog" and "cat" in the range.

Can I count the number of times a word appears in the entire spreadsheet?

Yes, simply select all the cells in the spreadsheet (Ctrl+A or Cmd+A) as your range in the COUNTIF function.

Keep in mind that this might slow down your Google Sheets if you have a lot of data.

Is it possible to count words in a case-insensitive manner?

Yes, convert your range and word to lowercase using the LOWER function before counting.

The formula would look something like =COUNTIF(LOWER(range), LOWER("word")).

How can I count the occurrences of a phrase rather than a single word?

Enclose the phrase in quotation marks within the COUNTIF function, like this: =COUNTIF(range, "your phrase").

Ensure your phrase is exact, as the function will only count exact matches.

Can I use the COUNTIF function to count numbers as well?

Absolutely, COUNTIF works with both text and numbers. Just replace "word" with the number you want to count.

Remember not to use quotation marks around numbers unless you’re counting them as text.


  1. Select the range of cells for your search.
  2. Type the COUNTIF function with your word and range.
  3. Press Enter to execute the function.


So there you have it, folks—a straightforward guide to counting how many times a word appears in Google Sheets. Whether you’re a student analyzing data for a project, a business owner sorting through customer feedback, or just someone who loves keeping things organized, this skill is bound to come in handy. Plus, being proficient with Google Sheets is an excellent addition to your digital toolkit, making you more efficient and effective in your work.

If you’ve followed the steps, read through the tips, and checked out the FAQs, you’re well on your way to becoming a Google Sheets counting wizard. Remember, practice makes perfect. So, why not whip up a practice sheet and start honing your skills? Before long, you’ll be counting words like a pro, impressing your colleagues, classmates, or perhaps just making your data analysis that much easier.

And hey, if you’re still hungry for knowledge, there’s a whole world of Google Sheets functions out there waiting for you to discover. Why stop at counting words? Explore, experiment, and excel. After all, the more you know, the more you can achieve. Happy counting!

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