# COUNTIF function

This article describes the formula syntax and usage of the **COUNTIF** function (function: A prewritten formula that takes a value or values, performs an operation, and returns a value or values. Use functions to simplify and shorten formulas on a worksheet, especially those that perform lengthy or complex calculations.) in Microsoft Excel.

## Description

The **COUNTIF** function counts the number of cells within a range that meet a single criterion that you specify. For example, you can count all the cells that start with a certain letter, or you can count all the cells that contain a number that is larger or smaller than a number you specify. For example, suppose you have a worksheet that contains a list of tasks in column A, and the first name of the person assigned to each task in column B. You can use the **COUNTIF** function to count how many times a person's name appears in column B and, in that way, determine how many tasks are assigned to that person. For example:

=COUNTIF(B2:B25,"Nancy")

** Note ** To count cells based on multiple criteria, see COUNTIFS function.

## Syntax

COUNTIF(range, criteria)

The COUNTIF function syntax has the following arguments (argument: A value that provides information to an action, an event, a method, a property, a function, or a procedure.):

**range**Required. One or more cells to count, including numbers or names, arrays, or references that contain numbers. Blank and text values are ignored.**criteria**Required. A number, expression, cell reference, or text string that defines which cells will be counted. For example, criteria can be expressed as 32, ">32", B4, "apples", or "32".

** Notes **

- You can use the wildcard characters — the question mark (
**?**) and the asterisk (*****) — in criteria. A question mark matches any single character, and an asterisk matches any sequence of characters. If you want to find an actual question mark or asterisk, type a tilde (**~**) before the character. - Criteria are case insensitive; for example, the string "apples" and the string "APPLES" will match the same cells.

## Remarks

- The COUNTIF function returns incorrect results when you use it to match strings longer than 255 characters to the string #VALUE!.

## Examples

The workbook below shows examples of this function. Inspect them, change existing formulas, or enter your own formulas to learn how the function works.

To work more in-depth with the example data in Excel, download the embedded workbook to your computer, and then open it in Excel.