Counting the Results of a Formula Using Find and Replace

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 12, 2021)


Hank has a worksheet for each item his company manufactures, listing in columns, among other data, the estimated and actual costs for each component used in manufacturing the item. There could be anywhere from 600 to 3,000 rows for each worksheet. In column AL there is a calculated Total Variance for each row. In column AW Hank displays the word "Investigate" if the Total Variance is out of bounds. He needs to count the number of times the word "Investigate" appears in this column, but has not been successful using Find and Replace to do this.

If you are bound and determined to use Find and Replace to get your count, then you should follow these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl+F. Excel displays the Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  2. In the Find What box, type "Investigate" (without the quote marks).
  3. Using the Look In drop-down list, choose the Values option. (If you cannot see the Look In drop-down list, click the Options button.)
  4. Click Find All. Excel expands the Find and Replace dialog box downward to include a list of all cells found that contain the word "Investigate." At the bottom-left of the dialog box you can see a count of the number of matches found.

That being said, using Find and Replace may not be the best approach. You may get extraneous information in your results, such as an instance of the word "Investigate" that appears in a different cell than one in column AW. Instead, consider just using a simple formula:


This formula, if placed in a column other than AW, will return the total count of cells displaying "Investigate" in column AW. If there may be other characters on either side of the word (such as spaces), then you should change the formula slightly to include encasing asterisks:


ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (13871) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 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 3 - 3?

2021-06-18 14:53:02


Another way to perform this type of counting is by using a pivot table …

2021-06-14 07:06:22

Mike D.

What I love about your site is no matter how much I know (or think I know) I always learn more. I contributed to this answer and it is heart warming to know I did so in a positive manner.
What I learned is that you can reference a column entirely with just the letter [AW:AW] no matter how many rows are used with this formula. I wonder how many other places this will work.

Thank you for expanding my mind and teaching this old dog new tricks.

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