**Please Note: **
This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. 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: Number of Terms in a Formula.

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated August 6, 2021)**This tip applies to** Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365

Pradeep has a need to figure out the number of terms in any given formula. For instance, in the formula =5+80*3/6 there are four terms. He would like a formula he can use to tell him the number of terms (4) in the formula.

There is no built-in function you can use in Excel to garner this information. Thus, the cleanest approach would be to create your own function, such as the following:

Function TermsInFormula(TheCell As Range) Dim sFormula As String Dim vOps As Variant Dim iCount As Integer Dim J As Integer Dim AWF As WorksheetFunction Application.Volatile vOps = Array("+", "-", "*", "/", "^") Set AWF = Application.WorksheetFunction sFormula = TheCell.Formula iCount = 1 For J = LBound(vOps) To UBound(vOps) iCount = iCount + Len(sFormula) _ - Len(AWF.Substitute(sFormula, vOps(J), "")) Next TermsInFormula = iCount Set AWF = Nothing End Function

The function checks the formula in the referenced cell to see how many of the five mathematical operators it contains. The number of terms in the formula is generally one more than the number of operators, since each term is separated by an operator.

In order to use the function, you would enter the following formula into a cell, assuming that you want to know how many terms are in the formula in cell A1:

=TermsInFormula(A1)

The function will work on formulas, numbers, and text that looks like a formula. It will not, however, consider the "/" in dates as an operator since the display of the date is not part of the Formula property that the function examines. (The display of dates is part of the Text or Value property, not the Formula property.)

Earlier I stated that the number of terms in a formula is generally one more than the number of operators. The operative word here is "generally," as not all formulas are that simple. You'll want to make sure that you visually examine the types of formulas with which you are working and make sure that you are seeing the results you expect.

*Note:*

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the *ExcelTips* sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

*ExcelTips* is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training.
This tip (9458) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: **Number of Terms in a Formula**.

**Solve Real Business Problems** Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out *Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling* today!

Need a bit of help in figuring out how Excel is evaluating a particular formula? It's easy to figure out if you use the ...

Discover MoreIt is easy to use Excel functions to sum values based on criteria you establish, unless those criteria involve the ...

Discover MoreWhen you add a named range to a worksheet, you can specify if you want that named range to apply to the workbook or only ...

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

2021-08-07 12:08:15

J. Woolley

You can also use the FormulaParser macro in My Excel Toolbox, which simply passes the ActiveCell's formula to that site.

See https://sites.google.com/view/MyExcelToolbox/

2021-08-06 16:42:34

David J Bonin

Hmmm...

Would you consider the % sign as an operator?

2021-08-06 15:40:47

Rick Rothstein

Function TermsInFormula(TheCell As Range)

Dim Frmla As String, V As Variant

Frmla = Replace(TheCell.Formula, " ", "")

For Each V In Split("+ - * / ^")

Frmla = Replace(Frmla, V, " ")

Next

TermsInFormula = 1 + UBound(Split(Application.Trim(Frmla)))

End Function

2021-08-06 07:49:28

Billy Thomas

1. A simple expression such as "=2+3+4 " can be converted to text using the FORMULATEXT function.

2. With the FORMULATEXT function in Cell A1 for example, use LEN(A1)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A1,"+","")).

The result will be 2, the number of +'s in the formula and therefore the number of terms Continue to add "-LEN(SUBSTITUTE's" for other operators. The "=" can generally be ignored.

2014-11-23 11:41:58

John Morriss

2014-11-23 07:46:56

You misunderstand the formula. X doesn't represent the number of factors, it's the number of TYPES of factors you are looking for. If you are looking for "+", "-", "*", "/", no matter the number, use 4. If you add to the search list "^", use 5. It will work if each factor is used 1, 0 or 100 times in the formula.

See following example where first I only look for the "+" operator, then I look for everything else. The result is correct and independent of X.

http://i.imgur.com/rlt99d2.png

2014-11-22 05:50:50

Michael (Micky) Avidan

Sorry, but I find it hard to follow you.

Please take, a good, look at the linked picture.

I don't think I can make myself much clearer than that.

http://i61.tinypic.com/j90zl4.png

Michael (Micky) Avidan

“Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator

“Microsoft®” MVP – Excel (2009-2015)

ISRAEL

2014-11-21 05:43:05

For your example, write the formula whose terms you want to count in A1 with a leading apostrophe.

The formula to place in say, B1, is:

=LEN(A1)*4 + 1 - LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A1,"+",""))-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A1,"*",""))-

LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A1,"/",""))-

LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A1,"^",""))

The result is 6. It will also give the right result by replacing the 4 by 5 and adding another SUBSITUTE term for an additional operator not present in the formula (for example, - ):

=LEN(A1)*5 + 1 - LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A1,"+",""))-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A1,"*",""))-

LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A1,"/",""))-

LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A1,"^",""))-

LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A1,"-",""))

2014-11-20 05:54:49

Michael (Micky) Avidan

To the best of my knowledge, the task, in this tip, was to COUNT(!) the number of terms in any given formula.

For instance, in the formula: =5+80*3/6^3+213

the answer is : 6

Can you, please, demonstrate how your, suggested, formula RETURNS the figure: 6 (with or without adding an apostrophe) ?

Michael (Micky) Avidan

“Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator

“Microsoft®” MVP – Excel (2009-2015)

ISRAEL

2014-11-19 10:05:10

If you don't want to use a Worksheet Function you can always use native VBA stuff: INSTR to find the character and use the result as the starting position for the next INSTR. Loop for each character.

Another solution: Application.Match. Much like Substitute it accepts a matrix as searching parameter.

Yet another solution, without need of VBA (props to http://www.ozgrid.com/forum/showthread.php?t=45651 for inspiration):

=LEN(A1)*X + 1 -LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A1,"+","")) -LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A1,"-",""))...

Where X is the number of operators you look for (in this case 5). You just need to put an apostrophe manually before the formula to convert it to text (or use VBA... which kind of defeats the purpose of using a macroless formula).

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.

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

Copyright © 2023 Sharon Parq Associates, Inc.

## Comments