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How to sort list of cells by word count in Excel?

Author: Sun Last Modified: 2020-09-21

In this article, I am going to talking about sorting list of strings by the number of words. If you are interested in it, please go down to view detail.

Sort by word count with formula

Sort by word count with Count words in rangegood idea3

Sort by word count with formula

To sort the list by word count, you need to know the count of the word in each cell first.

1. Select a cell next to the list, type this formula =LEN(A1)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A1," ",""))+1, press Enter key, and drag fill handle down to the cells formulas you need.
doc sort by word count 1

2. Keep formula cells selected, and click Data > Sort A to Z, check the Expand the selection option in the Sort Warning dialog.
doc sort by word count 2

3. Click Sort. The list has been sorted by word count.
doc sort by word count 3


1. The above formula does not directly count words, but count spaces between words and add 1 to get the number of words, if there are some extra spaces such as leading space in the string, the result will be incorrect.
doc sort by word count 4

2. If you want to sort by character count, use this formula =LEN(A1) to count characters and then sort.

Sort by word count with Count words in range

To count the number of words in a cell or a range, the Count total words of Kutools for Excel can do a perfect favor.

Kutools for Excel, with more than 300 handy functions, makes your jobs more easier. 

After installing Kutools for Excel, please do as below:(Free Download Kutools for Excel Now!)

1. Select a cell next to the list of strings, and click Kutools > Formula Helper > StatisticalCount total words. See screenshot:
doc sort by word count 5

2. Then in the Formula Helper dialog, select the cell you use to count in Range, in default, the cells will be selecetd as absolute reference, you can change it to relative refenece. See screenshot:
doc sort by word count 6

3. Click Ok, and the number of words has been counted in the cell. Drag the fill handle down to apply the formula to the cells.
doc sort by word count 7

4. Keep the formula cells selected, click Data > Sort A to Z, and check Expand the selection in the popping dialog.
doc sort by word count 8

5. Click Sort, and the list has been sorted by word count.
doc sort by word count 9

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