**Please Note: **
This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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 Unique Values with Functions.

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated February 1, 2021)**This tip applies to** Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016

David has a worksheet in which there is a list of countries. This list, in cells A1:A100, can contain duplicates. David wants to determine the number of unique countries in the list.

There are several ways you can go about deriving a count, without resorting to using a macro. The method you should use depends on the characteristics of the data in the list. A good place to start, however, is to define a named range that represents the list of countries. In the following examples, it is assumed that the range is named Countries. (Catchy name, huh?)

If the list contains only text entries and does not contain any blank cells, then the following will provide a count:

=SUM(1/COUNTIF(Countries,Countries))

This should be entered as an array formula, by pressing **Ctrl+Shift+Enter**. If the list contains blank cells, then the formula will be a little different. The following long array formula will work if there are blanks:

=SUM((Countries<>"")/(COUNTIF(Countries,Countries)+(Countries="")))

Another array function works, but the formula is a little more complicated:

=SUM(IF(FREQUENCY(IF(LEN(Countries)>0,MATCH (Countries,Countries,0),""), IF(LEN(Countries) >0,MATCH(Countries,Countries,0),""))>0,1))

This approach—using the FREQUENCY function—is fully recounted in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=100122

If you prefer to not use array formulas (for whatever reason), then you can utilize a blank column to the right of your list. This column will contain regular formulas that indicate if the value to its left is unique in the list or not. The first time a value appears, the formula returns the number 1. On each subsequent appearance of the same value, the formula returns a 0. Start by sorting your list, and then place the following formula in cell B1:

=IF(ISNA(VLOOKUP(A2,$A$1:A1,1,)),1,0)

Just copy the formula from B1 to the range B2:B100. With these results in place, you can easily sum column B and have a count of the unique values in the list.

*ExcelTips* is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training.
This tip (11708) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: **Counting Unique Values with Functions**.

**Program Successfully in Excel!** John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out *Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA* today!

Do you need to figure out the rightmost value within a row in which not all cells may contain values? This tip provides a ...

Discover MoreNeed to find out how many times a certain letter appears in a text string? It's easy to do if you rely on the SUBSTITUTE ...

Discover MoreWhen you need to pull information from a lot of different worksheets into a single worksheet, it can be baffling to ...

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

2019-08-04 10:45:25

Willy Vanhaelen

The only difference is that, =SUMPRODUCT being an array formula by itself, you enter it normally without holding down the Ctrl+Shift keys which is easier.

=SUM is intrinsically not an array formula and to force it to act like one you must enter it by holding down the Ctrl+Shift keys.

2019-08-02 11:53:03

Willy Vanhaelen

Function Unique(R As Range)

Unique = Evaluate(Replace("SUM((@<>"""")/(COUNTIF(@,@)+(@="""")))", "@", R.Address))

End Function

The avantage is that you can use this very simple formula:

=Unique(range)

and that you are rid of having to hold down Ctrl+Shift while entering it.

You can either use a standard range e.g.

=Unique(A1:A100)

or a named range such as

=Unique(Countries).

2016-02-25 18:26:56

Raymond Spence

=IF(ISNA(VLOOKUP(A2,$A$1:A1,1,)),1,0)

I work from the sorted list in Col A and write this formula in Col B:

=A2=A1

When this is copied down to the end of the data, the Uniq Values calculate to FALSE.

I use this a lot.

Thanks

2016-02-23 07:33:48

Michael (Micky) Avidan

No one was offended - on the conterary.

Beginners/infrequent users should get a "push" as how to become professionals.

This site provides a stage for all the spectrum of Excel users (Experts & Novices) to help the novices to become Experts.

--------------------------

Michael (Micky) Avidan

“Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator

“Microsoft®” MVP – Excel (2009-2016)

ISRAEL

2016-02-23 07:26:27

Michael (Micky) Avidan

Well..., the resolution seems to be that we both will face a disagreeing state.

There are very rare cases (especially when I teach students the secrets of "Excel" Where I "break" a complicated formula to its segments and put them into several columns.

BUT(!) after they all understand the essence & idea - I ask them to wrap all up and end with one cell only.

--------------------------

Michael (Micky) Avidan

“Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator

“Microsoft®” MVP – Excel (2009-2016)

ISRAEL

2016-02-22 14:20:36

Wouter Steegh

2016-02-22 10:34:39

RKeev

2016-02-22 09:19:53

CJ

I'd also respectfully state that using helper columns or copy/paste does not necessarily make one a non-specialist. That seems a bit elitist.

2016-02-22 00:06:18

Bill McNair

The "FastExcel v3" Excel add-in provides a "COUNTDISTINCTS" formula that will do the job. It does not need to be array entered.

Also, the DAX function is actually called "DISTINCTCOUNT" as opposed to the COUNT(DISTINCT row) function used in SQL.

2016-02-21 14:50:49

Dennis Taylor

=UNIQUE(D2:D99)

that would give us the number of unique entries in a range.

2016-02-21 09:46:58

Bill McNair

If data set goes over 100,000 rows or so, throwing the data table into Power Pivot and using the DAX COUNTDISTINCT formula would be good alternative.

2016-02-20 16:05:24

Michael (Micky) Avidan

You really mean that the following SIMPLE formuala is complicated ?

=SUM(1/COUNTIF(A1:A50,A1:A50))

You can replace the SUM with SUMPRODUCT and the formula becomes regular simple.

Excel specialists DO NOT like to use COPY/PASTE and/or Helper Column(s).

--------------------------

Michael (Micky) Avidan

“Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator

“Microsoft®” MVP – Excel (2009-2016)

ISRAEL

2016-02-20 05:13:40

Wouter Steegh

Alternatively you could sort the range, put =(A2<>A1)*1 in B2, copy for the whole range (by double clicking the fill handle), and put =SUM(B2:B100) in B1. This is also very quickly done.

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