How to Count Unique Values in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Count Unique Values in Excel

Counting unique values in Excel can seem tricky at first, but it’s actually pretty simple once you get the hang of it. Whether you’re handling a small list of items or a large dataset, using a combination of Excel functions like COUNTIF and UNIQUE will help you get the job done quickly and effectively. Follow these steps for an easy guide to counting unique values in Excel.

Step-by-Step Tutorial for Counting Unique Values in Excel

In this section, you’ll learn how to count unique values in Excel step by step. This method will help you find out how many distinct items are in your list without any duplicates.

Step 1: Enter Your Data

First, enter your data into an Excel spreadsheet.

Make sure all your data is in a single column for easier processing. For instance, if you’re working with a list of names, put them all in column A.

Step 2: Select an Empty Cell

Next, select an empty cell where you want the unique count to appear.

It’s helpful to choose a cell that’s not too far from your data so you can easily see the results without scrolling.

Step 3: Use the UNIQUE Function

In the empty cell, type =UNIQUE(A1:A10).

Replace A1:A10 with the actual range of your data. This function will list all unique values from your dataset.

Step 4: Use the COUNTA Function

To count those unique values, type =COUNTA(UNIQUE(A1:A10)).

This combination of functions will give you the count of unique items in your data range. Press Enter to see the result.

Step 5: Check Your Results

Finally, check your results to make sure they match your expectations.

If the count seems off, double-check your data range and the cells you selected.

After completing these steps, Excel will display the number of unique values in your specified data range. This is especially useful for large datasets where manually counting unique items would be impractical.

Tips for Counting Unique Values in Excel

  • If your data spans multiple columns, you can adjust the range in the UNIQUE function accordingly, like =UNIQUE(A1:B10).

  • For dynamic ranges that may change in size, consider using Excel Tables, which automatically adjust the range.

  • Use the SORT function with UNIQUE if you want the unique values listed in alphabetical or numerical order.

  • If you’re working with very large datasets, the formula might take a moment to process. Be patient!

  • Keep an eye on blank cells in your range, as they can affect the unique count.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my data has blank cells?

Blank cells can sometimes be counted as unique. Make sure to filter them out if they affect your results.

Can I count unique values across multiple columns?

Yes! Just adjust the range in the UNIQUE function to cover all the necessary columns.

What’s the difference between COUNTIF and COUNTA?

COUNTA counts all non-blank cells, while COUNTIF counts cells that meet a specific condition.

Can I use this method in older versions of Excel?

The UNIQUE function is available only in Excel for Microsoft 365 and Excel 2019. For older versions, you might need to use a combination of other functions like COUNTIF and SUMPRODUCT.

How do I count unique text values?

The method described counts both numbers and text. If you only want to count text values, you may need to use additional functions or filters.


  1. Enter your data.
  2. Select an empty cell.
  3. Use the UNIQUE function.
  4. Use the COUNTA function.
  5. Check your results.


Counting unique values in Excel is a valuable skill that can save you time and ensure accuracy in your data analysis. By using the combination of UNIQUE and COUNTA functions, you can quickly find and count all distinct items in your dataset. This method is efficient and straightforward, even for those new to Excel.

If you’re frequently working with large datasets, mastering this technique is crucial. It’ll streamline your workflow and make you more efficient. Plus, understanding these functions opens the door to even more advanced Excel capabilities.

So, why wait? Start practicing today and take your Excel skills to the next level. For further reading, check out more Excel tutorials and guides. Happy counting!

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