Count specific words in a cell

An excel formula to count specific words in a cell

Related Functions

 Count specific words in a cell

If you need to count how many times a specific a word (or any substring) appears inside a cell, you can use a formula that uses SUBSTITUTE and LEN. In the generic form of the formula above, a1 represents a cell that contains text, and txt represents the word or substring being counted.

In our example, we are using this formula:


Here's how the formula works:

B4 is the cell we're counting words in, and C4 contains the substring (word or any substring) you are counting.

SUBSTITUTE removes the substring from the original text and LEN calculates the length of the text without the substring. This number is then subtracted from the length of the original text. The result is the number of characters that were removed by SUBSTITUTE.

Finally, the number of characters removed is divided by the length of the substring. So, if a substring is 5 characters long, and there are 10 characters missing after it's been removed from the original text, we know the substring appeared twice in the original text.

SUBSTITUTE is a case-sensitive function, so it will match case when running a substitution. If you need to count both upper and lower case occurrences of a word or substring, use the UPPER function inside SUBSTITUTE to convert the text to uppercase before running the substitution:


Because this formula converts the substring and the text to uppercase before performing the substitution, it will work equally well with text in any case.

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