# Count Words in a Cell

## Count Words in a Range of Excel Worksheet Cells

Unlike Microsoft Word, Excel does not give us a ready made way to find out the number of words in a cell, or a range of cells containing text, or words. However, with the help of the SUBSTITUTE function/formula and the LEN function/formula we can. If you are not familiar with these functions/formulas I have written an explanation below.

SUBSTITUTE

Syntax
=substitute(text,old_text,new_text,instance_num)

What it does
Substitutes new_text for old_text in a text string. Use SUBSTITUTE when you want to replace specific text in a text string; use REPLACE when you want to replace any text that occurs in a specific location in a text string.

Example
=SUBSTITUTE(A1, "Sales", "Cost") If A1 had the text "Sales Data" the formula result would be "Cost Data".

LEN

Syntax
=len(text)

What it does
LEN returns the number of characters in a text string.

Example
=LEN(A1) If A1 had the text "Sales Data" the formula result would be 10 as A1 has 9 text characters and 1 space character.

Count Words in a Cell

The formula below will return the number of words (not characters) in cell A1

=LEN(A1)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A1," ",""))+1

Be aware that superfluous spaces are also counted and may give misleading results. To ensure accuracy we can simply nest the TRIM formula  function/formula in the first LEN

=LEN(TRIM(A1))-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A1," ",""))+1

Count Words in a Range of Cells

The formula below will return the number of words (not characters) in cells A1:A5

=LEN(TRIM(A1&A2&A3&A4&A5))-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A1&A2&A3&A4&A5," ",""))+5

Or

=LEN(TRIM(A1&A2&A3&A4&A5))-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A1&A2&A3&A4&A5," ",""))+Rows(A1:A5)

Keep in kind that the formula above WILL return 1 for an empty cell, due to +1. Overcome that problem by use of this function;

=LEN(TRIM(A1))-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(TRIM(A1)," ",""))+(LEN(A1)>1)

The +(LEN(A1)>1) will either return TRUE (1) or FALSE (0).

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