Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Counting All Characters.

Counting All Characters

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 10, 2014)

When you work with worksheets—particularly those from other people—you may be looking for a way count the number of characters in a worksheet. The following macro is very handy in that regard. It counts the number of characters in an entire workbook, including any characters in any text boxes inserted in the various worksheets.

Sub CountCharacters()
    Dim wks As Worksheet
    Dim rng As Range
    Dim rCell As Range
    Dim shp As Shape

    Dim bPossibleError As Boolean
    Dim bSkipMe As Boolean

    Dim lTotal As Long
    Dim lTotal2 As Long
    Dim lConstants As Long
    Dim lFormulas As Long
    Dim lFormulaValues As Long
    Dim lTxtBox As Long
    Dim sMsg As String

    On Error GoTo ErrHandler
    Application.ScreenUpdating = False

    lTotal = 0
    lTotal2 = 0
    lConstants = 0
    lFormulas = 0
    lFormulaValues = 0
    lTxtBox = 0
    bPossibleError = False
    bSkipMe = False
    sMsg = ""

    For Each wks In ActiveWorkbook.Worksheets
        ' Count characters in text boxes
        For Each shp In wks.Shapes
            If TypeName(shp) <> "GroupObject" Then
                lTxtBox = lTxtBox + shp.TextFrame.Characters.Count
            End If
        Next shp

        ' Count characters in cells containing constants
        bPossibleError = True
        Set rng = wks.UsedRange.SpecialCells(xlCellTypeConstants)
        If bSkipMe Then
            bSkipMe = False
        Else
            For Each rCell In rng
                lConstants = lConstants + Len(rCell.Value)
            Next rCell
        End If

        ' Count characters in cells containing formulas
        bPossibleError = True
        Set rng = wks.UsedRange.SpecialCells(xlCellTypeFormulas)
        If bSkipMe Then
            bSkipMe = False
        Else
            For Each rCell In rng
                lFormulaValues = lFormulaValues + Len(rCell.Value)
                lFormulas = lFormulas + Len(rCell.Formula)
            Next rCell
        End If
    Next wks

    sMsg = Format(lTxtBox, "#,##0") & _
      " Characters in text boxes" & vbCrLf
    sMsg = sMsg & Format(lConstants, "#,##0") & _
      " Characters in constants" & vbCrLf & vbCrLf

    lTotal = lTxtBox + lConstants

    sMsg = sMsg & Format(lTotal, "#,##0") & _
      " Total characters (as constants)" & vbCrLf & vbCrLf

    sMsg = sMsg & Format(lFormulaValues, "#,##0") & _
      " Characters in formulas (as values)" & vbCrLf
    sMsg = sMsg & Format(lFormulas, "#,##0") & _
      " Characters in formulas (as formulas)" & vbCrLf & vbCrLf

    lTotal2 = lTotal + lFormulas
    lTotal = lTotal + lFormulaValues

    sMsg = sMsg & Format(lTotal, "#,##0") & _
      " Total characters (with formulas as values)" & vbCrLf
    sMsg = sMsg & Format(lTotal2, "#,##0") & _
      " Total characters (with formulas as formulas)"

    MsgBox Prompt:=sMsg, Title:="Character count"

ExitHandler:
    Application.ScreenUpdating = True
    Exit Sub

ErrHandler:
    If bPossibleError And Err.Number = 1004 Then
        bPossibleError = False
        bSkipMe = True
        Resume Next
    Else
        MsgBox Err.Number & ": " & Err.Description
        Resume ExitHandler
    End If
End Sub

The macro may seem quite long, but it is very well structured in exactly what it does. First, it looks through all the text boxes in a worksheet. If they are not grouped (you cannot count characters in grouped text boxes), then the characters in them are tallied up. Then the macro tallies up the characters in cells containing constants. Finally, it counts all the characters used in cells containing formulas. The balance of the macro is used to present the information in a message box.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8349) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Counting All Characters.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Sequentially Numbered Labels

A common task in Word is to create labels. This tip presents two approaches you can use when you need to create labels that ...

Discover More

Searching for Leading Apostrophes

Take a look at the Formula bar when you select a cell that contains text, and you may see an apostrophe at the beginning of ...

Discover More

Changing to the Right Thesaurus

Ever want Word to display a thesaurus for your country's version of English? This tip explains how to find the different ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Conditionally Displaying a Message Box

You can, from within your macros, easily display a message box containing a message of your choice. If you want to display ...

Discover More

Stepping Through a Macro with a Worksheet Visible

When developing a macro, it is often necessary to step through the various code lines so you can see what is happening on the ...

Discover More

Getting User Input in a Dialog Box

Want to get some input from the users of your workbooks? You can do it by using the InputBox function in a macro.

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five less than 5?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.