Counting Names Based on Two Criteria

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 17, 2019)


Rod has a Christmas card list in Excel. (Actually, this question could apply to any greeting card list.) Each name has a unique numeric ID associated with it and is color coded based on whether the name is family, friend, school friend, or work friend. He also has a True/False indicator in a column which indicates whether the person is to receive a card this year. Rod would like to count how many cards fit two criteria: the "gets card" indicator is True and the ID is 50 or below. Alternatively, he'd like a way to count the number of cards where the "gets card" indicator is True and the color code is red.

If you only have to get such sub-lists periodically, the easiest and most flexible solution might be to use the filtering capabilities of Excel and then use the SUBTOTAL function to determine the count. You can filter to display rows based upon almost any criteria you want. When the list represents what you want, then you can use a formula such as the following:


This variation on the SUBTOTAL function returns a count of all displayed rows in the specified range. The key here is that the only rows displayed are those that meet your filtering criteria, so the formula returns the count you want.

There are also formulas that will return the desired information. The COUNTIFS function will look at multiple criteria and return a count based upon the result of the comparisons. For instance, the following formula will provide the number of list members where the "gets card" indicator is true and the ID is 50 or below:


The formula only looks at list members in A2:A100, and it assumes that B2:B100 contains the True/False values serving as the "gets card" indicator.

You should remember that the COUNTIFS function was introduced beginning with Excel 2007. If you are creating a workbook that will also be used by those with an older version of Excel, then you may want to use an alternative function to return the count:


If you want to take cell color into account in your formulas, then it becomes a bit trickier. You can devise a user-defined function (a macro) that returns cell color and then use that in the formula. (Other issues of ExcelTips have discussed such functions.) An easier way which avoids the macro is to add a column to your data that contains a numeric value indicating which group (family, friend, school friend, or work friend) the individual belongs to. Then you can include the column value in your formulas.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12867) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365.

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. ...


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What is two more than 2?

2015-01-20 03:48:51


What about a good old fashioned Pivot table?

2014-01-07 16:44:44

Rod Hutson

Thanks for the comments, everyone!! Appreciated! You've given me several ways to look at the problem.

I had considered just using the filtering method to get a sub-total, but I wanted something "static" that when I added a new name, the sub-totals automatically updated properly.

I could have sworn I looked at COUNTIFS before asking for help - but if I did, I clearly didn't understand how it could be used.

Same thing with COUNT(IF... I didn't realize I could use the product of two column tests as a logical AND of multiple row cell states. That's a big help for more than this specific problem.

Anyway, now my list of mailed Christmas cards can be easily trimmed down, and the ones that go by email can take up the slack without fear of duplication.

Thanks again!!

2013-12-31 07:12:02

Shreepad S M Gandhi

Thanks Luc Horré for the info.

2013-12-31 06:22:06

Michael (Micky) Avidan

@Luc Horré,
Similar formula - using SUMPRODUCT instead of SUM - will eliminate the need to remember the CSE combination.
Michael (Micky) Avidan
“Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator
“Microsoft®” MVP – Excel (2009-2014)

2013-12-30 10:57:50

Luc Horré

If you're familiar with array functions then I prefer to use the SUM array function.

=SUM((B2:B5="red")*(D2:D5<=50)) (Reminder : Use Ctrl+Shift+Enter)

For me this looks less complex and more readible then the "=COUNT(IF(..." construction where you also need a blank cell range.

2013-12-30 08:35:39

Jennifer Thomas

@ Shreepad S M Gandhi:

Very nice solution, and easy to understand for novice users too! Thanks for your contribution.

2013-12-30 02:11:07

Shreepad S M Gandhi

You may directly use the =count(if()) array function. Suppose you have the following:

Col. A = Names of persons (Friend A, Friend B, Friend C etc.)
Col. B = Color codes (red, green etc.)
Col. C = Type (family friend, Work friend etc.)
Col. D = ID (34, 18, 27 etc.)
Col. E = Gets card (TRUE and FALSE)

Suppose you wish to return a count based on red color and ID less than 50, key in this formula


Since this is an array formula, press Ctrl+Shift+Enter so that the formula gets enclosed within a pair of braces { }.

You may add more conditions with the operator ‘*’. This means, if you wish to base your output on one more condition say Gets card (TRUE, FALSE), you may achieve so by the formula


Note : Always keep blank the cell range I12:I15. Else the formula may return incorrect values.

2013-12-29 09:55:19

Michael (Micky) Avidan

Function_num: 103 and 3 will count visible cells either after Filtering or Hiding rows,
where, Function_num: 3 WILL NOT count visible cells as a result of Hiding.
From the above I would suggest to use 103 instead of 3.
As for "looking" at the status bar - this is some sort of gimmick because it does not present the result in a dedicated cell.
I wiil be happy to learn of a way to Auto-copy the status-bar's information into cell(s).
Michael (Micky) Avidan
“Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator
“Microsoft®” MVP – Excel (2009-2014)

2013-12-28 05:48:43


Or, ... do it the easy way - just look at the status bar.
Immediately after using autofilter, Excel will automatically display the number of items selected, in the bottom left portion of the screen, in the status bar.

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