Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Counting Non-Blank Cells.

Counting Non-Blank Cells

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 18, 2017)

You may already know that you can use the COUNTBLANK function to return the number of blank cells in a range. What if you want to count the number of non-blank cells in the same range? One way is to use the COUNTA function, as shown here:


The only problem with this formula is that it doesn't return the complementary value to what COUNTBLANK returns. In other words, the result of COUNTA added to the result of COUNTBLANK doesn't equal the total number of cells in the original range. The reason for this is that both COUNTBLANK and COUNTA treat formulas different. COUNTBLANK includes, as blank, formulas that return a blank value. COUNTA does not consider such cells blank (even though a blank is returned), so it includes them in its count.

If you consider non-blank cells to be those that are not returned by COUNTBLANK, then you will need to use a longer formula:


This formula subtracts the COUNTBLANK result from the total number of cells in the same range.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2996) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Counting Non-Blank Cells.

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. ...


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