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

Counting words in Excel may seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually quite simple once you know the steps. With just a few clicks, you can easily find out how many words are in a cell, a range of cells, or even your entire Excel worksheet. Let’s dive in and learn how to do a word count in Excel.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Do Word Count in Excel

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s understand what we’re trying to achieve here. We want to count the number of words present in a particular cell or a range of cells in an Excel spreadsheet. This can be particularly useful when dealing with large amounts of text data.

Step 1: Open the Excel worksheet

Open the Excel worksheet where you want to count the words.

This is pretty self-explanatory. Just make sure you have the right worksheet open before you begin the process.

Step 2: Select the cell or range of cells

Click on the cell or select the range of cells where you want to do the word count.

If you’re counting the words in a single cell, just click on that cell. If you want to count the words in multiple cells, click and drag to select the range.

Step 3: Use the LEN and SUBSTITUTE formula

Type the formula =LEN(TRIM(cell))-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(cell, " ", ""))+1 into the formula bar.

This formula counts the number of characters in a cell (using LEN), removes all the spaces (using SUBSTITUTE), and then adds 1 to get the total number of words. Remember to replace ‘cell’ with the actual cell reference, like A1.

Step 4: Press Enter

After typing the formula, press Enter to apply it to the cell.

The word count will immediately appear in the cell where you entered the formula. If you’re counting words across multiple cells, drag the fill handle (the small square at the bottom-right corner of the cell) down or across to apply the formula to other cells.

Step 5: Check the word count

The number that appears is the word count for the selected cell or range of cells.

And there you have it! You now know the total number of words in your selected cell(s).

After completing these steps, you’ll have a clear count of how many words are in your selected Excel cells. This can be particularly useful for content creators, editors, or anyone who needs to keep track of word counts for reports, essays, or articles.

Tips: Enhancing Your Excel Word Count Experience

  • Ensure that the cells you’re counting words in don’t contain leading, trailing, or multiple consecutive spaces, as this can throw off the word count.
  • Remember that this method counts anything separated by a space as a word, so numbers, dates, and other non-text elements will be counted as well.
  • Use the TRIM function to remove any unwanted spaces before counting the words.
  • If you’re working with a large dataset, consider creating a dedicated column for word counts to keep things organized.
  • For improved accuracy, especially with complex data, consider using additional Excel functions or even VBA scripts if you’re comfortable with programming.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my cell contains numbers and text?

The word count formula will count numbers as words if they are separated by spaces.

Can I count words in multiple columns at once?

Yes, simply select the range of cells across multiple columns, and make sure to drag the fill handle accordingly.

Does this method count hyphenated words as one or two words?

Hyphenated words are counted as a single word since they’re not separated by a space.

Is there a way to count characters instead of words?

Absolutely, use the LEN function alone to get a character count without spaces.

Can I use this method to count words in Excel Online?

Yes, this method works in Excel Online and the desktop version of Excel.


  1. Open the Excel worksheet.
  2. Select the cell or range of cells.
  3. Use the LEN and SUBSTITUTE formula.
  4. Press Enter.
  5. Check the word count.


Mastering how to do a word count in Excel can streamline your data analysis and content management, allowing you to easily monitor and track the amount of text within your spreadsheets. Whether you’re a student compiling research data, a marketer analyzing feedback, or a writer keeping tabs on your word output, this simple yet effective technique can save you time and hassle. Although Excel isn’t primarily designed for word processing, its versatile functions enable users to perform a vast array of tasks – word counting being one of them. Remember, practice makes perfect. So why not open up Excel and give it a try? You might just find that counting words in Excel becomes second nature before you know it.

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