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Count One Instance of Each Entry in a List

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Count Repeated Items Once/Count One Occurrence Formula

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See Also Count Repeated Entries Once for a Custom Function Method

When you have a large list of items you may wish to perform a count on them without counting entries that appear more than once, multiple times. In other words you want to count each entry once only. Consider the list show below, which has been sorted to easily see multiple entries.

A normal count on this list (COUNTA) would result in the names; Bill W, Dave H, Fran T , Frank W and Mary O being counted more that once.

The function we can use  is the DCOUNTA. This is a good choice as it is by far the more efficient and easy to modify.

DCOUNTA From the Excel Help

Syntax: DCOUNTA(database,field,criteria)

Database: is the range of cells that makes up the list or database. A database is a list of related data in which rows of related information are records, and columns of data are fields. The first row of the list contains labels for each column.

Field: indicates which column is used in the function. Field can be given as text with the column label enclosed between double quotation marks, such as "Age" or "Yield," or as a number that represents the position of the column within the list: 1 for the first column, 2 for the second column, and so on.

Criteria: is the range of cells that contains the conditions you specify. You can use any range for the criteria argument, as long as it includes at least one column label and at least one cell below the column label for specifying a condition for the column


Ok, based on the list shown above, in cell D1 enter the word Criteria (or any heading that is NOT the same as your list heading).  Below this in cell D2 enter this formula:


Note the relative (A2) references and absolute ($A$2) references! These are vital to the criteria working.

Now, in the cell you want your result shown enter this function


This will give the the result you need!


The other method we can use, slower than the DCOUNTA shown above, is a combination of SUMPRODUCT & the COUNTIF function.


Array Formula Method

The Array Formula method is by far the least efficient and falls over if/when blanks occur in the list.


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