September 15, 2020

How to Count Non-Empty Cells in Google Sheets

Google Sheet spreadsheet

When using Google Sheets, there may be times where you have cells with no data. In these cases, you may want to count the number of cells that are not blank. This is possible by using Google Sheet COUNT functions!

COUNTA is a function for counting cells that are not empty. Sometimes, however, the COUNTA function doesn't catch hidden special characters, so we can use SUMPRODUCT or COUNTIF to resolve this issue.

If you do not know how to use these functions, this tutorial is for you.

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COUNTA Method

In Google Sheets, the COUNTA function counts all the number of cells within a range that have values or a text string in it. It ignores cells that are empty while completing the count. 

As an example, here is data that has blank cells within a range:

Google Sheet table with Customer Name and Total Ordered Amount. Several blank rows are interspersed throughout

To count the number of cells that are not blank, just follow these steps.

  1. Select a blank cell and type the =COUNTA function including the range of cells that you want to count. For example, we used =COUNTA(A2:A11).
  2. Just hit enter, and the COUNTA function will automatically count the cells that are not blank.
  3. You now have the total number of cells that have values in it!
Same table as above, but now with a circled cell counting the non-blank cells in Column A and the function circled

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SUMPRODUCT Method

COUNTA function is very useful in counting cells that are blank or have no data in it. However, there may be times that COUNTA counts cells that seem empty. This is because, technically, those cells are not blank but just have a white space appearing on it. It happens, for instance, when you use conditional formatting that makes it appear as blank or sneaking a function =‚ÄĚ‚ÄĚ in it!

Same table as above except with new cell in Column B counting non-blanks (but having the wrong amount due to the COUNTA function)

To avoid this from happening, use SUMPRODUCT instead by following these steps:

  1. Click on an empty cell and input the function =SUMPRODUCT(--(LEN(range)>0)) to count the cells that do not appear empty. In the process, the LEN function returns a value that is greater than zero while counting the number of characters that appear in the sheet.
  2. Just click Enter and the number of the cells that have values in it will automatically appear.
Same table as above, but with a correct non-blank count for Column B using the SUMPRODUCT function

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COUNTIF Method

If you have read the previous tutorials, Google Sheets hide some special characters from view because of their special functions: this include the apostrophe, that it uses to indicate that the number characters should be interpreted as a string (we used this to input phone numbers to Google Sheets). To solve this, we will learn how to use COUNTIF to count cells that are not blank and do not have special characters hidden.

As an example, let us look at this table:

Google Sheets table with only 9 entries entered


How many cells have entries in the table? There are nine (9) entries in that table. However, if you apply COUNTA function to count the entries, the result would be thirteen (13):

Google Sheets table with only 9 entries entered, but COUNTA showing 13


The reason is that there are stray apostrophes and spaces in that table, and COUNTA counted them in. To exclude them from the count, we apply the COUNTIF function with a special attribute:

=COUNTIF(B3:E7,">0"&"*")

What happened? The ‚Äú>0‚ÄĚ&‚ÄĚ*‚ÄĚ serves as the condition to filter out cells that contain hidden characters, thus only the ones with letters and numbers are counted.¬†

Want to know more about Google Sheets?

Do you have more questions in mind about using Google Sheet? Check out our other spreadsheet resources and learn more functions and tricks that you can use when working!

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