Count All Types of Data with Google Spreadsheets COUNTA

Keep track of your data in a Google Sheets

Count in Google Sheets with COUNTA

Use the Google Sheets COUNTA function to count text, numbers, error values, and more in a selected range of cells. Learn how with these step-by-step instructions.

COUNTA Function Overview

The Google Sheets COUNT function counts the number of cells in a selected range that contain only a specific type of data. The COUNTA function counts the number of cells in a range containing all types of data such as: 

  • Numbers
  • Error values such as #DIV/0! in cell A3
  • Dates
  • Formulas
  • Text data
  • Boolean values (TRUE/FALSE)

The function ignores blank or empty cells. If data is later added to an empty cell, the function automatically updates the total to include the addition.

The COUNTA Function Syntax and Arguments

A function's syntax refers to the layout of the function and includes the function's name, brackets, comma separators, and arguments.

The syntax for the COUNTA function is:

=COUNTA(value_1,value_2, ... value_30)

The arguments are:

  • value_1 (required): Cells with or without data that are to be included in the count.
  • value_2, ... value_30 (optional): Additional cells to be included in the count. The maximum number of entries allowed is 30.

The value arguments can contain:

Example: Count Cells with COUNTA

In the example shown in the image below, the range of cells from A2 to B6 contains data that is formatted in a variety of ways plus one blank cell to show the types of data that can be counted with COUNTA.

Several cells contain formulas that are used to generate different data types, such as:

  • Cell A3 uses a formula (= B2/B3) to generate the error value #DIV/0!.
  • Cell A4 uses a comparison formula (=B2 > A6) to generate the Boolean value TRUE.
Set up your Google spreadsheet

To follow along with this tutorial, set up a blank spreadsheet to look like the one above, using the two formulas listed here.

Enter COUNTA with Auto-Suggest

Google Sheets does not use dialog boxes to enter functions and arguments as found in Excel. Instead, Sheets displays an auto-suggest box as the name of the function is typed in a cell.

To enter the COUNTA function into cell C2 shown in the image above:

  1. Select cell C2 to make it the active cell. This is the location where the function results will display.

  2. Enter =COUNTA.

  3. As you type, auto-suggest displays the names and syntax of functions that begin with the letter C.

    Google Sheets enter COUNTA function
  4. When the name COUNTA appears at the top, press Enter to enter the function name and an open parenthesis (round bracket) in cell C2.

  5. Highlight cells A2 through B6 to include these cells as the function arguments.

    Google Sheets highlight formula range
  6. Press Enter to add the closing parenthesis and complete the function.

  7. The answer 9 appears in cell C2 since only nine of the ten cells in the range contain data. Cell B3 is empty.

    Google Sheets COUNTA result
  8. Deleting the data in some cells and adding it to others in the range A2:B6 causes the function results to update to reflect the changes.

  9. Select cell C2 to display the completed formula =COUNTA(A2:B6) in the formula bar above the worksheet.

COUNT vs. COUNTA

To show the difference between the COUNT and COUNTA functions, the example in the image below compares the results for both COUNTA (cell C2) and the better-known COUNT function (cell C3).

Google Sheets COUNT formula

The COUNT function counts cells containing number data and returns a result of five. COUNTA counts all types of data in the range and returns a result of nine.

Dates and times are considered numbers in Google Sheets, which is why the data in cells B4 and B5 is counted by both functions.

The number 27 in cell A5 was entered as text — as indicated by the default alignment of the data on the left side of the cell — and is only counted by COUNTA.