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How to quickly count the first instance only of values in Excel?

If there is a list with some duplicate and unique values, and now you want to count all the first instance of values including duplicates as below screenshot shown, do you have any quick and easy ways to solve this task in Excel?

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Count first instance of items with formula

Count first instance of items with Kutools for Excel


arrow blue right bubble Count first instance of items with formula


To count the first instance of items, you can use a formula to find all the first instance of values, and then count them.

Kutools for Excel, with more than 120 handy Excel functions, enhance working efficiency and save working time.

1. Select a blank cell next to your data, and type this formula =(COUNTIF($A$1:$A1,$A1)=1)+0, press Enter key, and then drag the autofill handle down to the cell needed this formula. See screenshot:

Tip: With the formula $A$1 is the first cell of the data column, and $A1 is the cell you want to use. And get the result “1” indicates the corresponding cell is the first instance, and “0” is not.

doc count first instance 2
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2. Then select a cell and type =SUM(B1:B10) and press Enter key to get the counting result of first instance. See screenshot:

Tip: In this formula, B1:B10 is the formula cells you used in step1, you can change it based on your need.

doc count first instance 4doc rightdoc count first instance 5
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arrow blue right bubble Count first instance of items with Kutools for Excel

If you have Kutools for Excel installed, and you can use its Select Duplicate & Unique Cells utility to quickly count the first instance of items, and also can highlight them if you need.

Kutools for Excel, with more than 120 handy Excel functions, enhance your working efficiency and save your working time.

After free installing Kutools for Excel, please do as below:

1. Select all the cells you want to count the first instance, and then click Kutools > Select > Select Duplicate & Unique Cells. See screenshot:

doc count first instance 6

2. In the Select Duplicate & Unique Cells dialog, check All unique (Including 1st duplicates) option in the Rule section, and then you can choose whether fill the selected cells with background or font colors. See screenshot:

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3. Click Ok, and a dialog pops out to tell you the counting result of first instance in the selection. See screenshot:

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4. Click OK to close the dialogs, and you can see all the first instance of the items are selected and highlighted.

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