How to Count Words in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide for All Skill Levels

Counting Words in Excel

Counting words in Excel is a handy skill that can save you tons of time, whether you’re handling data for a report, a project, or just curious about text length. With a few simple steps, you’ll be able to count words in any Excel cell or range of cells using built-in functions and formulas. Let’s dive into the details!

How to Count Words in Excel

In this section, we’ll walk you through the steps to count words in Excel. By the end of these steps, you’ll be able to use a formula to count words in a single cell and across multiple cells.

Step 1: Open Your Excel Spreadsheet

Start by opening the Excel spreadsheet where you want to count the words.

Make sure your data is already entered into the cells. If not, go ahead and type or paste the text you need to analyze.

Step 2: Select an Empty Cell

Choose an empty cell where you want the word count result to appear.

This cell will display the total word count after you apply the formula.

Step 3: Enter the Formula

Type the following formula into the selected empty cell: =LEN(TRIM(A1))-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A1," ",""))+1.

This formula works by counting the spaces in a cell and adding one to get the total word count. The TRIM function ensures there are no leading or trailing spaces, and SUBSTITUTE replaces spaces with nothing.

Step 4: Press Enter

After typing the formula, press the Enter key.

Excel will now display the word count for the cell referenced in the formula (in this case, A1).

Step 5: Copy the Formula for Other Cells

If you need to count words in multiple cells, drag the fill handle of the cell containing the formula to the other cells where you want to apply it.

This step will auto-populate the word count formula for the other cells, giving you word counts for each.

Once you’ve followed these steps, your Excel sheet will show the word counts for the specified cells. You can now analyze or report the data as needed.

Tips for Counting Words in Excel

  1. Use Named Ranges: Assigning names to cell ranges can make your formulas easier to manage and understand.
  2. Check for Extra Spaces: Ensure there are no extra spaces in your cells that might affect the word count.
  3. Use Shortcuts: Familiarize yourself with Excel shortcuts to speed up your work process.
  4. Combine with Other Functions: Combine the word count formula with other Excel functions for more complex data analysis.
  5. Use Conditional Formatting: Highlight cells with specific word counts using conditional formatting to make your data more readable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I count words in a range of cells?

Yes, you can use a combined formula to sum word counts from multiple cells.

What if my cell contains no text?

The formula will return 1, which is technically incorrect. You can modify the formula to return 0 for empty cells.

Can I count specific words?

Yes, you can use the COUNTIF function to count specific words within a range.

Does the formula work with numbers?

No, the formula only counts words and spaces, not numbers or special characters.

What if my text has punctuation?

Punctuation is ignored, but it can split words if not adjacent to a space.


  1. Open Your Excel Spreadsheet
  2. Select an Empty Cell
  3. Enter the Formula
  4. Press Enter
  5. Copy the Formula for Other Cells


Counting words in Excel might seem complicated at first, but with a straightforward formula, you can quickly get the hang of it. Whether you’re a student, a data analyst, or just someone who loves to keep things organized, knowing how to count words in Excel can save you loads of time and effort.

If you found this article helpful, why not share it with a friend or colleague? Excel has many hidden gems, and the more you explore, the more efficient you’ll become. Happy counting!

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