How to Count a Certain Word in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Counting a certain word in Excel is as simple as using a formula. Just type in the formula =COUNTIF(range, "word") into a cell, and Excel will do the rest. It will search through the specified range and count how many times the word appears. Easy peasy, right? Now, let’s dive into the details to make you an Excel word-counting whiz!

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Count a Certain Word in Excel

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s understand what we’re aiming for. By following these steps, you’ll be able to count how many times a specific word appears in a range of cells in your Excel spreadsheet. This can be super handy for all sorts of things, like analyzing survey results or tracking how often certain terms are used in a document.

Step 1: Select the cell where you want the result to appear

Click on the cell where you wish to see the count.

This cell is where the magic number will pop up – the total count of your chosen word. Make sure it’s not a cell you’re already using because the formula will override any existing data.

Step 2: Type in the COUNTIF formula

Enter =COUNTIF(range, "word") into the selected cell.

Remember to replace ‘range’ with the actual range of cells you want to check (like A1:A10), and ‘word’ with the word you’re counting. Keep the word in quotation marks, so Excel knows what to look for.

Step 3: Press Enter

Hit the Enter key to run the formula.

Once you press Enter, Excel will chug away, tally up the word count, and display the result in the cell you selected. If it doesn’t work, double-check your formula for any typos.

After you complete these steps, the cell you selected will display the total count of how many times your specified word appears in the chosen range. It’s a simple yet powerful way to analyze data in your spreadsheet.

Tips for Counting a Certain Word in Excel

  • Ensure your word is in the right case. Excel is case-sensitive, so "DOG" and "dog" would be counted separately.
  • Use wildcards. If you want to count variations of a word (like "run" and "running"), use a wildcard like "run*".
  • Don’t forget about spaces. If you’re looking for a word that might have a space before or after it, include the space in the quotation marks.
  • Expand your range as needed. If you’re not sure which cells contain the word, make your range bigger rather than smaller.
  • Check for errors. If your result seems off, make sure your formula is correct and there aren’t any typos.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I count multiple words at once?

Yes, you can use separate COUNTIF formulas for each word, or combine them with a SUM formula.

To count multiple words, you’d need a separate COUNTIF formula for each word. Alternatively, you could use the SUM formula to add up the counts from multiple COUNTIF formulas. For example: =SUM(COUNTIF(range, "word1"), COUNTIF(range, "word2")).

What if my word is part of another word?

Excel will count it unless you specify otherwise.

If your word is part of another word (like "at" in "cat"), Excel will count it unless you use exact matching by adding spaces. To count only the standalone word "at," you’d use: =COUNTIF(range, " at ").

Can I count words in a column or a row?

Absolutely, just adjust the range to include your entire column or row.

When counting words in a specific column or row, your range should cover that entire column or row. For example, A:A for the first column or 1:1 for the first row.

Does it matter if the word is capitalized?

It matters because Excel is case-sensitive.

Because Excel is case-sensitive, "Word" and "word" would be counted as two different words. If you want to count them together, you could use the UPPER or LOWER functions to standardize the case before counting.

Can I count words across multiple sheets?

Yes, but you’ll need to use a formula for each sheet and then add them up.

To count words across multiple sheets, you’ll need a COUNTIF formula for each sheet, and then you can use a SUM formula to combine the counts. For example, to count the word "apple" on two sheets named Sheet1 and Sheet2, you’d use: =SUM(COUNTIF(Sheet1!range, "apple"), COUNTIF(Sheet2!range, "apple")).


  1. Select the cell for the result
  2. Type the COUNTIF formula
  3. Press Enter


Counting words in Excel might seem like a task only suited for the pros, but now you know that isn’t the case. With the simple steps outlined above, anyone can become a pro at using the COUNTIF function to keep tabs on word usage. Whether you’re analyzing customer feedback, keeping track of inventory, or just curious about your word frequency, Excel has got you covered.

Remember, formulas are your friends. They can seem daunting at first, but once you get the hang of them, they’ll save you tons of time and headaches. And the COUNTIF function is just the tip of the iceberg. Excel is packed with features and functions waiting to make your life easier.

So why not put your newfound knowledge to the test? Whip out that spreadsheet, get counting, and watch as those rows and columns start to make a lot more sense. Who knows? You might just find yourself falling in love with Excel. And if you ever hit a snag, remember that the Excel community is vast, and there’s always someone out there ready to help you count a certain word in Excel. Happy counting!

Get Our Free Newsletter

How-to guides and tech deals

You may opt out at any time.
Read our Privacy Policy