Excel allows a user to count cells that begin with certain characters, by using the **COUNTIF** function. This step by step tutorial will assist all levels of Excel users in counting cells in a range that begin with a specific text.

*Figure 1. The result of the COUNTIF function*

**Syntax of the COUNTIF Formula**

The generic formula for the COUNTIF function is:

**=COUNTIF(criteria_range, criteria)**

The parameters of the COUNTIFS function are:

**criteria_range**– a range where we want to apply our criteria**criteria**– a criteria which we want to count

**Setting up Our Data for the COUNTIF Function**

* Figure 2. Data that we will use in the COUNTIF example*

In the data table, we have 4 columns: “Delivery Number” (column B), “Delivery Date” (column C), “City” (column D) and “Amount” (column E). In the cell H2, we have a criteria for the function, while in H3 we want to get a result.

**Count Cells That Begin With a Certain Text**

In our example, we want to count how many cells from the column D begin with “CA”.

The formula looks like:

**=COUNTIF(D3:D9, H2)**

The parameter** criteria_range** is D3:D9 and the **criteria** is in the cell H2. We have to put an asterisk in criteria (CA*). An asterisk stands for any character.

To apply the COUNTIF function, we need to follow these steps:

- Select cell H3 and click on it
- Insert the formula:
`=COUNTIF(D3:D9, H2)`

- Press enter

* Figure 3. Counting the cells that begins with a certain text*

As you can see, cells D3, D4, D8 and D9 begin with “CA”, so the result of the function in the cell H3 is 4.

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