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

If you need to count unique values in Excel, it’s easier than you’d think. By using functions like COUNTIF or removing duplicates, you can quickly tally up the unique items in your list. Follow the step-by-step guide to see how it’s done.

How to Get a Count of Unique Values in Excel

In this section, you’ll learn how to count the number of unique values in a list using Excel. By following these steps, you will be able to determine the unique entries without hassle.

Step 1: Open Your Excel File

First, open the Excel file that contains the list of values you want to count.

Once you have your Excel file open, make sure you know where your data is located. This is important because the following steps rely on accurately selecting the correct range of cells.

Step 2: Select Your Range of Data

Next, highlight the cells containing the values you want to count.

When selecting your range, ensure all the relevant data is included. You can click and drag your mouse over the cells or hold down the Shift key while using the arrow keys for precise selection.

Step 3: Use the Remove Duplicates Tool

Then, go to the Data tab and click on the "Remove Duplicates" button.

This step will help you eliminate any repeated values in your selected range, leaving only unique ones behind. Excel will prompt you to confirm the columns you want to check for duplicates.

Step 4: Review the Results

After clicking "Remove Duplicates," Excel will show a message indicating how many duplicate values were removed and how many unique values remain.

This immediate feedback helps you understand the makeup of your data. Make a note of the unique values count displayed in the message box.

Step 5: Use the COUNTIF Function

Alternatively, you can use the COUNTIF function to count unique values. Type the formula =SUM(1/COUNTIF(range, range)) in an empty cell.

This formula breaks down the counting process by dividing 1 by the count of each value in the range, summing only the unique occurrences. It’s a more technical method but equally effective.

After completing these steps, you’ll be able to see how many unique values are in your Excel list. Whether you use the Remove Duplicates tool or the COUNTIF function, either method will give you the information you need efficiently.

Tips for How to Get a Count of Unique Values in Excel

  • Always double-check your selected range to ensure all necessary data is included.
  • Save a backup of your original data before using the Remove Duplicates tool.
  • Use Conditional Formatting to highlight duplicates before removing them.
  • Use the UNIQUE function in Excel 365 or Excel 2019 for a straightforward approach.
  • Familiarize yourself with array formulas if you frequently work with large data sets.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my data includes blank cells?

Blank cells won’t affect the Remove Duplicates feature but may affect COUNTIF formulas, so consider filtering them out first.

Can I count unique values across multiple columns?

Yes, use the Remove Duplicates tool and select all relevant columns. For formulas, you’ll need to combine columns in a helper column.

Do I need a specific version of Excel to count unique values?

No, all versions of Excel support counting unique values through the methods described.

What if the Remove Duplicates button is greyed out?

Ensure your worksheet is not protected and that you are in Edit mode.

How do I count unique text values?

The same methods apply whether your values are text or numbers.


  1. Open your Excel file.
  2. Select your range of data.
  3. Use the Remove Duplicates tool.
  4. Review the results.
  5. Use the COUNTIF function as an alternative.


Counting unique values in Excel is a breeze once you know the steps. Whether you prefer the quick, user-friendly Remove Duplicates tool or the precision of the COUNTIF function, Excel provides multiple ways to streamline your data analysis. This guide has walked you through each step to ensure you can efficiently handle unique value counting in your worksheets.

For those hungry for even more Excel prowess, consider diving into Conditional Formatting or exploring Excel’s newer UNIQUE function if you have a more recent version. These tools can further enhance your data management skills, making you an Excel whiz in no time.

So go ahead, fire up that Excel file, and start counting those unique values. With these tips and tricks under your belt, you’ll find the task not just manageable, but downright simple. Happy Excel-ing!

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