Counting within Criteria

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 16, 2013)

There may be times when you need to count the number of cells in a range which fit a specific criteria. For instance, you may want to know how many cells in a range are over a specific threshold. The natural worksheet function to do this task is COUNTIF. As an example, you may want to know how many cells in the range of A1 through C15 contain a value of 120 or more. The following formula provides the proper count:

=COUNTIF(A1:C15,">119")

The only problem is if you want to add a second criterion to the formula. COUNTIF does not allow you to specify multiple criteria, so you need to resort to formula that is a bit more complex. For instance, if you wanted to know how many cells in the range of A1 through C15 contain a value between 120 and 129, inclusive, you could use the following:

=COUNTIF(A1:C15,">119")-COUNTIF(A1:C15,"<130")

This formula first calculates the number of cells with values at 120 or above and then subtracts the number of cells with values of 129 or below. Astute readers will see an immediate problem with this formula, however—it delivers an erroneous result if there are any cells in the range below 120. They are not counted by the first part of the formula, but they are counted in the result by the second part of the formula. To fix this problem the formula should instead appear as follows:

=COUNT(A1:C15)-COUNTIF(A1:C15,">119")-COUNTIF(A1:C15,"<130")

Another way to solve this problem without using the COUNT function is to simply count the cells that contain a value of less than 130 and then subtract the cells that contain a value of less than 120. This formula gives the same result as the last one:

=COUNTIF(A1:C15,"<130")-COUNTIF(A1:C15,"<120")

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2166) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Editing Custom Dictionaries

Custom dictionaries can be great, but they take quite a bit of time to create. Word provides a way you can edit your custom ...

Discover More

Paragraph Formatting Shortcuts

Paragraphs are one of the elemental building blocks in a Word document. Formatting those paragraphs is easy to do if you ...

Discover More

Locked File Puzzle

What would you do if every time you opened a workbook Excel told you it was locked? Here's how you can try to recover from ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Counting with Two Criteria

When you use Excel as a simple database program to store individual records, you may have a need to count the records which ...

Discover More

Adding Up Tops and Bottoms

When you are working with sequenced values in a list, you'll often want to take some action based on the top X or bottom Y ...

Discover More

Using the FORECAST Function

Excel provides a handy worksheet function that allows you to forecast values based upon a set of known values. This function, ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 7 - 0?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.