Microsoft Excel logo on a green background

Unlike Word where you can easily get the document’s character count using a tool in the menu bar, you’ll need to use the LEN function if you want to get a character count in Excel. Here’s how to use it.

How to Get the Character Count of a Single Cell

You can use the LEN function to quickly count the number of characters in a single cell in two different ways.

To use the LEN function to get the character count, click the cell you would like to place the character count in. After that, type =LEN(cell) , where¬†cell is the actual cell you want to get the character count of. So if you want to get the character count of cell A1, you’d enter:

=LEN(A1)

Enter the LEN function in a cell.

Click on any other cell and the character count will appear.

The character count of cell A1.

Or, you can simply copy the content of the cell you want to get the character count of, paste it in the formula in place of the reference cell, and wrap it in quotation marks. For example:

=LEN("How many characters are in this cell?")

Paste the content of the cell in the formula.

This will return the same result.

Advertisement

If you’re parsing data, you may also want to¬†split your text across multiple columns.

How to Get the Character Count of Multiple Cells

The LEN function can also be used in combination with the SUM function to get the character count of multiple cells. First, click the cell you would like to place the word count in. Next, enter this formula:

=SUM(LEN(A1),LEN(A2))

Replace the cell numbers with your own.

Enter the LEN and SUM function combination.

Click on any other cell and the character count will be returned.

The character count of cells A1 and A2.

You can add as many cells as you like in the formula.

It’s also easy to combine text from these different cells into one.

RELATED: How to Combine Text from Multiple Cells into One Cell in Excel

How to Get the Count of a Specific Character in a Cell

You can also use the LEN function to get the count of how many times a specific character appears in a cell. Select the cell you’d like the count to be returned in and then enter this formula:

=LEN(A1)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A1,"a",""))
Advertisement

Replace the cell ( A1 ) with your reference cell and a¬†with the character you’d like to get the count of. In our case, we’re searching for how many times a appears in cell A1.

Enter the LEN function to get the specific character count.

Click on any other cell and the count of the specified character will be returned.

The count of the specified character.

That’s all there is to it. Excel is full of extremely useful functions, from the COUNTIF function to the FREQUENCY function to many different Logical functions, all designed to streamline your workflow.

RELATED: Useful Functions You Should Get to Know

Profile Photo for Marshall Gunnell Marshall Gunnell
Marshall is a writer with experience in the data storage industry. He worked at Synology, and most recently as CMO and technical staff writer at StorageReview. He's currently an API/Software Technical Writer based in Tokyo, Japan, runs VGKAMI and ITEnterpriser, and spends what little free time he has learning Japanese.
Read Full Bio ¬Ľ

The above article may contain affiliate links, which help support How-To Geek.