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Limit COUNTA fn to cells whose formula returns any text

Posted on 2011-02-25
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I have a spreadsheet which contains formulas down column A to pull in names from another spreadsheet column A.  I will refer to the other spreadsheet as [other].  Each cell in column A contains an IF statement =if([other]A1="","",[other]A1).  The spreadsheet column A looks like:

              COLUMN A
ROW 1:  Name 1
ROW 2:  Name 2
ROW 3:  Name 3
ROW 4:  Name 4
ROW 5:  
ROW 6:  

My problem is that at the bottom of column A, I want to count how many names I have, and not include any cells that contain merely the if statement.  A normal COUNTA(A1:A6) will return 6 but I need it to return 4.

How do I limit the COUNTA function in this way?  Or should I be doing it another way?
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Question by:witzph1
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Expert Comment

by:jppinto
ID: 34984442
Use COUNT() instead of COUNTA().
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Author Comment

by:witzph1
ID: 34984460
COUNT returns '0' because it is looking for numbers, not text.
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LVL 33

Expert Comment

by:jppinto
ID: 34984467
Sorry...forgot that you're counting text!
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Accepted Solution

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Patrick Matthews earned 250 total points
ID: 34984492
Try this:

=COUNTIF(A:A,"?*")

That will ignore blanks, zero-length strings, and numbers.
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Expert Comment

by:jppinto
ID: 34984500
=COUNTA(A1:A8)-COUNTBLANK(A1:A8)
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Author Comment

by:witzph1
ID: 34984545
Mathewspatrick, that works, but not sure I understand why "?*" does what it does.  Very interesting.  

ippinto, that also works.  Alas, Mathewspatrick was slightly quicker on the draw, and his solution is shorter, and thus more elegant.  

But thanks to both for your help!
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Author Closing Comment

by:witzph1
ID: 34984549
Thanks again for your help.
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LVL 33

Expert Comment

by:jppinto
ID: 34984574
Agree! I almost got there... :)
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