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Excel has many specialized functions to perform various unique calculations and some calculations are performed with combination of two or more functions together. When we talk about counting cells containing specific values then we need to deal with COUNT and COUNTA functions in Excel. Syntax of both of these functions is quite similar but they are designed to count cells containing different kind of values in Excel.


In this article you need to learn difference between COUNT and COUNTA functions and how their results are different from each other. First you need to know what syntax of both of these functions is and what is definition of these functions?  

COUNT function returns count of cells that contain numeric values as well as argument containing numeric values. You can use either ranges of cells, cell references, values or mixture of all in this function to count numeric values. It can handle up to 255 arguments.

Syntax of COUNT function is;

=COUNT (value1, [value2], ...)


COUNTA function returns the count of non-blank cells, containing numbers, text, logical values, error values, and formula returning empty text string (“”). You can use ranges, cell references, values or combination of all. . It can also handle up to 255 arguments.

Syntax of COUNTA function is;

=COUNTA (value1, [value2], ...)


So, the difference between COUNT and COUNTA is the type of values that cells contain. Here are some points that differentiate both of these functions.



  • COUNT function counts cells that contain only numbers, but COUNTA function counts cells that are not blank, including numbers. As Date and Time values are stored as serial numbers in Excel so these values are counted in both of these functions.
  • COUNT function does not count logical values (TRUE and FALSE), but COUNTA function counts these values.
  • Logical values (TRUE and FALSE) and text representation of number, like “5”, are only counted if these values are directly entered in COUNT function, but these values are counted whether they are entered directly or as cell reference in COUNTA function.
  • Formula returning empty text string (“”) and Text values are not counted in COUNT functions, but these are counted in COUNTA function.


For example you have range of cells that contain mixture of values, containing numbers, text, date, time, empty cells and logical values. First you need to see the difference of COUNT Vs COUNTA applied on each cell value in a range, such as;


Now if you supply same cell range A2:A9 in both functions then it gives you following count results.


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