Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 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: Counting Commas in a Selection.

Counting Commas in a Selection

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 7, 2019)

2

At work, Mark regularly needs to count the number of commas in a range of selected cells. He can't find an Excel function to do this type of task, and is wondering if a macro might be able to do the trick.

While there is no worksheet function that will produce the desired count, there is a formula or two you can use. If you just want to know the number of cells that have at least one comma in them, the following formula will work just fine:

=COUNTIF(A1:A10,"*,*")

If you, instead, need to figure out the number of commas in the range when there could be multiple commas per cell, then you need to use a different formula:

=SUM(LEN(A1:A10))-SUM(LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A1:A10,",","")))

This formula should be entered as an array formula, which means that you should use Ctrl+Shift+Enter to enter the formula. If you need to derive the count for a different range, just change the range in two places in the formula.

If you prefer, you could also create a user-defined function to count the number of commas. There are multiple ways to approach such a task; the following is just one example.

Function CountComma(rng As Range)
    Dim iCount As Integer
    Dim rCell As Range
    Dim sTemp As String

    Application.Volatile
    iCount = 0
    For Each rCell In rng
        sTemp = Replace(rCell.Value, ",", "")
        iCount = iCount + _
          (Len(rCell.Value) - Len(sTemp))
    Next
    CountComma = iCount
    Set rCell = Nothing
    Set rng = Nothing
End Function

In order to use the function in the worksheet, enter the following into a cell:

=CountComma(A1:A10)

All of these methods described so far will count commas that are actually in the cell. They will not count commas that appear to be in the cell because of formatting. For instance, if a number appears as "1,234" in a cell, chances are good that the comma is there because of the way that the cell is formatted; it is not really in the cell itself. Such commas are not counted.

Of course, if all you need to do is know the number of commas and you don't need the value in your worksheet, you can bypass the use of formulas and macros all together. Follow these general steps:

  1. Select the range of cells in which you want to count commas.
  2. Press Ctrl+H to display the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  3. In the Find What box, enter a comma.
  4. In the Replace With box, enter a comma.
  5. Click Replace All.

Excel does the replacement and displays a dialog box that shows how many replacements were made.

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 (11029) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Counting Commas in a Selection.

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

Formatting Endnote Reference Marks

The reference marks used for endnotes are, by default, formatted "good enough" for most people. If you are one of those ...

Discover More

Referencing Worksheet Tabs

Ever want to use the name of a worksheet tab within a cell? Here's how you can access that information using the CELL ...

Discover More

Personal Workbook Fails to Load

The Personal workbook is special; it is where you can store macros you want to use all the time in Excel. What do you do, ...

Discover More

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!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Creating a Floating Macro Button

Macros can make your use of Excel much more powerful. If you have a macro that is triggered by an on-screen button, you ...

Discover More

Showing RGB Colors in a Cell

Excel allows you to specify the RGB (red, green, and blue) value for any color used in a cell. Here's a quick way to see ...

Discover More

Deleting Old Data from a Worksheet

If you keep on-going data in a worksheet, some of your data�"over time�"may need to be deleted. If you have an ...

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. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. 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 more than 5?

2019-06-08 10:47:11

Willy Vanhaelen

I like to make my macros as compact as possible. Here is my version of this tip's one:

Function CountComma(R As Range)
Dim Cel As Range, X As Integer
For Each Cel In R
X = X + Len(Cel) - Len(Replace(Cel, ",", ""))
Next
CountComma = X
End Function

Here is even a one-liner with the vba implementation of this tip's array formula:

Function CountComma(R As Range)
CountComma=Evaluate("SUM(LEN("&R.Address &"))-SUM(LEN(SUBSTITUTE("&R.Address &","","","""")))")
End Function

Syntax: =CountComma(your_range).
Since this UDF itself is not an array formula, enter it simply with Enter (instead of Ctrl+Shift+Enter).


2015-08-10 08:11:58

Phil Bennett

I find that this Formula >

=LEN(A2)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,",",""))

copied down beside each 'A' column cell does the job fine.

It has the added benefit of applying a filter to the results column and seeing how many "commas", or any other punctuation characters, are in each 'A' column cell as opposed to the total count in the A:A range.
A simple SUM on the results column provides the Total Count.


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.