Over 1.8 million professionals use CFI to learn accounting, financial analysis, modeling and more. Start with a free account to explore 20+ always-free courses and hundreds of finance templates and cheat sheets.
The guide below will teach you how to count words in Excel with step-by-step instructions and screenshots. If you’re a fan of the word counting function in MS Word, you will, unfortunately, be disappointed to know that standard Excel Functions do not have the same feature. There is, however, a special formula you can use to count the words in a single cell, or a selection of cells. Read on and learn how to count words in Excel, step by step.
Excel Word Count Formula
Below is the Excel word count formula you can use to determine how many words are contained in a cell:
By using a combination of LEN, TRIM, and SUBSTITUTE formulas, you can get Excel to count up the number of words for you.
Let’s review what each of these formulas does:
LEN = returns the length of a string (i.e., tells you all the characters including spaces in a cell)
TRIM = removes all spaces from a string of text except for spaces between words
SUBSTITUTE = replaces all instances of something in a cell (in this case replaces ” ” all spaces with no space””)
So, how does it actually work?
The formula just takes the difference between (1) the length of characters in the cell with spaces and (2) the length of characters in the cell without spaces. The difference, plus one, must be equal to the number of words in the cell.
Count Words in Excel Example
Let’s look at an example of how to count words in Excel by putting the formula into action. Below is a list of cells that contain various combinations of words, sentences, and characters. Let’s see how the formula counts the words.
As you can see above, the formula is able to determine the number of words in each cell.
Here is an explanation for each example:
Cells B3, B4, and B5 are all “normal” word counts
Cell B6 shows that the “!” is not counted as long as there is no space before it
Cell B7 indicated that a symbol such as “!” will count as a word if it has space before it
Cell B8 shows that if there is no space between the words, the two words will count as one
Thank you for reading CFI’s guide on how to count words in Excel and the formula you can use to do so. CFI is a leading provider of Excel Training Courses that help financial analysts become world-class at their jobs.
To continue learning, these CFI guides will also be helpful:
Take your learning and productivity to the next level with our Premium Templates.
Upgrading to a paid membership gives you access to our extensive collection of plug-and-play Templates designed to power your performance—as well as CFI's full course catalog and accredited Certification Programs.
Already have a Self-Study or Full-Immersion membership? Log in
Access Exclusive Templates
Gain unlimited access to more than 250 productivity Templates, CFI's full course catalog and accredited Certification Programs, hundreds of resources, expert reviews and support, the chance to work with real-world finance and research tools, and more.