# Count Cells With Specific Text in Excel

While working on a client’s sales plan last week, I had to count the orders for a couple of specific customers.  Here’s a screenshot of some sample data, with the customer names in column B.

### Count cells that are an exact match

In Excel, you can use the COUNTIF function to count cells that meet a specific criterion. For example, you can use this formula to count the orders that were placed by the customer, BigMart.
=COUNTIF(\$B\$2:\$B\$14,”BigMart”)

• The first argument, \$B\$2:\$B\$14, is the range that contains the cells to be counted.
• The second argument, “BigMart”, is the value that we want to count.

There are 3 cells that contain the exact text, “BigMart”, so the COUNTIF formula returns 3.

### Use a cell reference in COUNTIF

Instead of typing the text in the COUNTIF formula, you can refer to a cell that contains the text you want to count. For example, if cell H1 contains the customer name, BigMart, use this formula to count their orders.
=COUNTIF(\$B\$2:\$B\$14, H1)

The COUNTIF formula returns 3, the same result that you got by typing the text in the formula.

### Count non-exact matches

In the sales plan data that I worked on, there were a few variations on some customer spellings, and I wanted to count all of them. In the screenshot at the start of this article, you can see that BigMart is also listed as Big-Mart and Big Mart.

##### Use the * wildcard

To count all the variations, you can use the wildcard character, *, to represent any characters, or no characters, in the text string. For example, if cell H1 contains the customer name with a wildcard, Big*Mart, use this formula to count all the variations.
=COUNTIF(\$B\$2:\$B\$14, H1)

The COUNTIF formula returns 7, because it counts BigMart, Big-Mart and Big Mart.

##### Use the ? wildcard

If you use the ? wildcard character instead of the * wildcard character, it represents one character.

Now the COUNTIF formula returns 4, because it counts Big-Mart and Big Mart, but not BigMart. It doesn’t count BigMart, because there isn’t a character between the g and the M.

### More COUNTIF Examples

For a few more examples of counting cells with specific text, you can visit the Excel Count Functions page on the Contextures website.
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