COUNTA: Google Sheets Formulas Explained

Being a marketing expert means I have to deal with multiple campaigns and analyze their outcomes. And, like many marketing professionals, I use Google Sheets to keep track of my data. But, taking advantage of the powerful features of Google Sheets means understanding and mastering formulas. In this article, I'll explain one of the most useful formulas for any Google Sheets user - COUNTA.

What is COUNTA?

COUNTA is a built-in Google Sheets formula that counts the number of non-blank cells in a range of cells. It helps you determine the size of your dataset and eliminates the need for manual counting. COUNTA counts cells that contain text, numbers, logical values, and formulas. It can also recognize empty cells that contain formatting or comments.

Here's how the formula looks:

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

The formula takes one or more values as inputs. You can provide cell ranges or individual cells as arguments. For example, if you want to count all filled cells in the A1:A10 range, your formula will be:


How COUNTA Works

The COUNTA formula counts all non-blank cells in a given range. It considers any cell that isn't empty to be an entry, even if that cell contains a formula or a space. For example:

  • Cell A1 contains the formula: =SUM(B2:B5). Even though the cell looks empty, it isn't. COUNTA would count it as 1.
  • Cell A2 contains a single space. Although it looks empty, it technically isn't. COUNTA would also count it as an entry.

If you input a range that includes both empty and non-empty cells, COUNTA will count only non-empty ones. In other words, COUNTA will ignore blank, null, or undefined cells in its calculations. The formula only returns a positive integer value - there are no fractions, decimals, or negative numbers allowed.

Examples of COUNTA Use

COUNTA is a versatile formula that can apply to different fields. Here are some practical examples:

  • Suppose you have a large data set of emails for an email marketing campaign. You can use COUNTA to get an accurate count of the number of emails in that data set.
  • If you're an HR professional, you can use COUNTA to track the number of candidates who have passed a screening test as part of the recruitment process.
  • As a software development manager, you can use COUNTA to count the number of projects in an Agile board that are in progress.

One of my favorite uses of the COUNTA formula is to calculate the success rate of an email marketing campaign. You can use COUNTA to count the number of sent emails and received emails, and then divide the two to get the ratio. This way, I can track which email worked better and improve on my future campaigns.


COUNT, COUNTA, and COUNTBLANK are three formulas that are frequently used together in Google Sheets to manipulate data. While COUNTA counts non-empty cells, COUNT only calculates cells that contain a number. COUNTBLANK, as its name suggests, calculates the number of empty cells in a range.

When using multiple cells with different value types in your formulas, it's essential to choose the right formula to get the desired output. For example, if you're working with a dataset that only contains numbers, you'd use the COUNT formula. However, if the same dataset had cells with both numbers and text, you'd choose COUNTA.

To calculate the number of empty cells in a range, use COUNTBLANK. This formula doesn't include non-blank cells and only counts empty cells.

COUNTA Tips and Tricks

Counting cells is a simple task, but COUNTA makes it even easier. Here are some tips and tricks to use next time you work with this formula:

  • You can input up to 30 arguments in the COUNTA formula. Ensure your range doesn't exceed 30 cells.
  • If you're counting cells that contain a formula, make sure the formula is at least written correctly. Otherwise, the cell may not be considered non-blank and will not count in your calculation.
  • If a cell has a comment, COUNTA will count the cell as non-blank even if there is no content in the cell itself. Make sure to remove all comments in cells that you only want to be counted if they contain content.
  • Finally, test your formula on a small sample of data first before applying it to a more extensive dataset. This can help you spot any errors or discrepancies and refine your formula accordingly.


While there are many Google Sheets formulas, COUNTA is a versatile and practical formula that can make data management simpler and more accurate. By counting non-blank cells, COUNTA eliminates manual counting and allows you to focus on analyzing your data. Use the tips and tricks provided here to refine your COUNTA formula and make data analysis even easier.

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