Count comma separated values in a cell

In this tutorial, you will learn how to use a combination of the LEN, TRIM and SUBSTITUTE functions to count comma separated values in a cell in Excel.


How to count comma separated values in a cell in Excel?

As the below screenshot shown, there is a comma-separated string list in column B which you want to count the comma separated values in each cell, please do as follows to achieve it.

Generic formula

=LEN(TRIM(A1))-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(TRIM(A1),",",""))+1

Arguments

A1: Represents the cell containing the comma-separated string which you will count the comma separated values.

How to use this formula?

1. Select a blank cell to output the result. In this case, I select cell D3.

2. Enter the below formula into it and press the Enter key. And then drag its Fill Handle all the way down to apply it to other cells.

=LEN(TRIM(B3))-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(TRIM(B3),",",""))+1

Note: In this formula, B3 is the cell containing the comma-separated string you will count comma separated values inside. You can change it as you need.

How this formula works?

=LEN(TRIM(B3))-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(TRIM(B3),",",""))+1

1. LEN(TRIM(B3)): The TRIM function removes all extract spaces from the comma-separated string "AA, BB, CC, DD", and only keeps single space between words. And then the LEN function calculates the total length of "AA, BB, CC, DD" and returns the result as 14;

2. LEN(SUBSTITUTE(TRIM(B3),",",""))

  • SUBSTITUTE(TRIM(B3),",",""): As the above explanation shown, the TRIM function here removes all extract space from "AA, BB, CC, DD" and returns the result as "AA, BB, CC, DD". And then the SUBSTITUTE function replaces all commas in "AA, BB, CC, DD" with nothing and get the result "AA BB CC DD";
  • LEN("AA BB CC DD"): The LEN function returns the number of characters in a text string "AA BB CC DD". The result is 11.

3. 14-11+1: Here use the total length of "AA, BB, CC, DD" subtracting the total length of "AA BB CC DD" to get the total number of commas in the string (14-11=3). As there always be a word after the last comma, you need to add 1 to number 3 to get the total comma separated words in the string. Here the result is 4.


Related functions

Excel LEN function
The Excel LEN function returns the number of characters in a text string.

Excel SUBSTITUTE function
The Excel SUBSTITUTE function replaces text or characters within a text string with another text or characters.

Excel TRIM function
The Excel TRIM function removes all extra spaces from text string and only keeps single spaces between words.


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