Wouldn’t it be great if there was a function that could count colored cells in Excel? Sadly, there isn’t any inbuilt function to do this. BUT.. It can easily be done.

How to Count Colored Cells in Excel

In this tutorial, I will show you three ways to count colored cells in Excel (with and without VBA):

#1 Count Colored Cells Using Filter and SUBTOTAL

To count colored cells in Excel, you need to use the following two steps:

Filter colored cells Use the SUBTOTAL function to count colored cells that are visible (after filtering).

Suppose you have a dataset as shown below:

There are two background colors used in this data set (green and orange). Here are the steps count colored cells in Excel: As soon as you filter the cells, you will notice that the value in the SUBTOTAL function changes and returns only the number of cells that are visible after filtering. How does this work? The SUBTOTAL function uses 102 as the first argument, which is used to count visible cells (hidden rows are not counted) in the specified range. If the data if not filtered it returns 19, but if it is filtered, then it only returns the count of the visible cells. Try it Yourself.. Download the Example File

#2 Count Colored Cells Using GET.CELL Function

GET.CELL is a Macro4 function that has been kept due to compatibility reasons. It does not work if used as regular functions in the worksheet. However, it works in Excel named ranges. See Also: Know more about GET.CELL function. Here are the three steps to use GET.CELL to count colored cells in Excel:

Create a Named Range using GET.CELL function Use the Named Range to get color code in a column Using the Color Number to Count the number of Colored Cells (by color)

Let’s deep dive and see what to do in each of the three mentioned steps.

Creating a Named Range

Go to Formulas –> Define Name. In the New Name dialog box, enter: Name: GetColor Scope: Workbook Refers to: =GET.CELL(38,Sheet1!$A2) In the above formula, I have used Sheet1!$A2 as the second argument. You need to use the reference of the column where you have the cells with the background color. 

Getting the Color Code for Each Cell

In the cell adjacent to the data, use the formula =GetColor This formula would return 0 if there is NO background color in a cell and would return a specific number if there is a background color. This number is specific to a color, so all the cells with the same background color get the same number.

Count Colored Cells using the Color Code

If you follow the above process, you would have a column with numbers corresponding to the background color in it. To get the count of a specific color:

Somewhere below the dataset, give the same background color to a cell that you want to count. Make sure you are doing this in the same column that you used in creating the named range. For example, I used Column A, and hence I will use the cells in column ‘A’ only. In the adjacent cell, use the following formula:

=COUNTIF($F$2:$F$20,GetColor) This formula will give you the count of all the cells with the specified background color. How Does It Work? The COUNTIF function uses the named range (GetColor) as the criteria. The named range in the formula refers to the adjacent cell on the left (in column A) and returns the color code for that cell. Hence, this color code number is the criteria. The COUNTIF function uses the range ($F$2:$F$18) which holds the color code numbers of all the cells and returns the count based on the criteria number. Try it Yourself.. Download the Example File

#3 Count Colored Using VBA (by Creating a Custom Function)

In the above two methods, you learned how to count colored cells without using VBA. But, if you are fine with using VBA, this is the easiest of the three methods. Using VBA, we would create a custom function, that would work like a COUNTIF function and return the count of cells with the specific background color. Here is the code: To create this custom function:

With your workbook active, press Alt + F11 (or right click on the worksheet tab and select View Code). This would open the VB Editor. In the left pane, under the workbook in which you are working, right-click on any of the worksheets and select Insert –> Module. This would insert a new module. Copy and paste the code in the module code window. Double click on the module name (by default the name of the module in Module1) and paste the code in the code window. Close the VB Editor. That’s it! You now have a custom function in the worksheet called GetColorCount.

To use this function, simply use it as any regular excel function. Syntax: =GetColorCount(CountRange, CountColor)

CountRange: the range in which you want to count the cells with the specified background color. CountColor: the color for which you want to count the cells.

To use this formula, use the same background color (that you want to count) in a cell and use the formula. CountColor argument would be the same cell where you are entering the formula (as shown below):

Note: Since there is a code in the workbook, save it with a .xls or .xlsm extension. Try it Yourself.. Download the Example File
Do you know any other way to count colored cells in Excel? If yes, do share it with me by leaving a comment.

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Can any body help me to fix this problem I would really appreciate the help thanks Please help – this formula was perfect for my spreadsheet for work because I didn’t want to have to add another column to the spreadsheet to get this to work. Thanks, Jana I’m using your formula as part of a calendar to track equipment utilization by filling the cells with color when the equipment is used. The problem I’m having is that the formula does not automatically recalculate when new colored cells are entered. It does recalculate when you click on the cell containing the formula and press enter, but I’ve got hundreds of assets that I’m tracking and that’s not an efficient way of doing it. I’ve tried all the usual, F9, recalculate formula, recalculate worksheet, etc. nothing works. I’ve even recorded Macros of actually highlighting all formula cells and clicking enter. It works when I do it, but the macro returns a value error when used. Do you have a work around for this or another VB Macro that can be assigned to a radio button to recalculate the colored cell totals each time the calendar is updated? Function GetColorCount(CountRange As Range, CountColor As Range) Dim CountColorValue As Integer Dim TotalCount As Integer CountColorValue = CountColor.Interior.ColorIndex Set rCell = CountRange For Each rCell In CountRange If rCell.Interior.ColorIndex = CountColorValue Then TotalCount = TotalCount + 1 End If Next rCell GetColorCount = TotalCount End Function But, now I want to do a little more. For the range of cells, I want to have 4 separate functions. 1) Count cells IF they are a particular color, as well as ending in “*o” 2) Count cells IF they are a particular color, as well as ending in “*s” 3) Count cells IF they are a particular color, as well as having 2 text characters in the cell, “??” and 4) Count cells IF they are a particular color, as well as having a number greater than zero in the cell, “>0”. How can I modify the base “GetColorCount” code to incorporate this additional parameter for each instance? I have 17 cells in a column, all under a conditional formatting to turn the cell color “light red” if a certain condition is met. There are only 3 cells that are “light red” (meeting the condition) but your VBA script returns an answer of “17”, meaning it considers all cells “light red”. Then I manually went in and colored one cell (not already highlighted by the conditional formatting) blue, and your VBA returned an answer of “16”. Clearly then, it does not recognize the results of conditional formatting, only “manually entered” colors. Any solution? This is critical as the colored cells will be different depending on what conditions are met. I need a way to count them per each condition. (I learned a lot about adding a custom VBA code. Thanks!) =GetColorCount( ( A1, A4, A9 ), 50 ) Where, 50 = Green box color index. Public Function GetColorCount(ByRef Target As Excel.Range, ByRef rgColor As Excel.Range) As Long Dim rCell As Excel.Range Dim Color As Long Dim lgCounter As Long Color = rgColor.Interior.ColorIndex For Each rCell In Target If rCell.Interior.ColorIndex = Color Then lgCounter = lgCounter + 1 Next rCell GetColorCount = lgCounter End Function I started using your Count Cells Based on Background Color in Excel #3 using VBA. This wors very good. Thanks for it. But now I have a problem using the same function by checking cells where the background color is set by Conditional Formatting. I am checking for dates older than today() and mark these cells in red background; works well using conditional formatting but the count doesn’t work for these cells. thank you for any idea or hint Do you use a formula in your conditional formatting (CF)? If you do, it returns TRUE and you are coloring the cells that meet that condition. This means that if you put the CF formula into a COUNTIF formula, you can count the cells that meet the CF conditions! Gr, Raymond. No I’m not using a formula. I use a standard rule type: Cell Value “less than or equal to” =$A$1 In A+ I only update the day =today(). thx Nico I did a test and I realised I needed a help column to do the job. Say that range A2:A10 has your values where you apply the CF to. Formula in help column B: in B2 put ‘=OR(A2<$A$1,A2=$A$1)’, copy down and you will get a couple of TRUEs or FALSEs. The count formula anywhere can then be: =COUNTIF(B2:B10,TRUE). Or you can just use an IF formula in the help column, giving you 1 or 0 back. Then a simple SUM somewhere and there you are. I must be do-able without the help column but I don’t know how (yet)! Raymond A help column isn’t very usefull and would need many additional help columns, so I searched and searched. On http://www.excel-inside.de (a german Excel & VBA site) I found an example using .Font.ColorIndex . With this information I found .Interior.ColorIndex and my day was made 🙂 Next step: searching for the color indexes on https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/office/ff840443.aspx and it seems to work – refreshing manually after changes – but it works: ‘Function ColorRed(Area As Range) ‘ColorRed = 0 ‘For Each cell In Area ‘If cell.Interior.ColorIndex = 3 Then ‘ColorRed = ColorRed + cell.Count ‘End If ‘Next ‘End Function Nico Thanks for the update and also for you providing the resources that led to the solution you found! An UDF (User Defined Function) is harmless in your case because you are using it in only one cell to get the count. So that’s great. In complex workbooks, where formulas must be in several rows, UDF’s are not recommanded unless no other choice because they make the workbook slow. And as they say, there is always another way, a simple, faster and stronger way… I found a non-vba solution: an array formula. Put the following formula adjusted to your needs where you want your count. In this example, I assume the IF statement is the same as in your conditional format that gives the cells a red color when TRUE. The formula says: for each cell in range A2:A10, if the cell value is equal or less than the value of A1, give 1, otherwise give 0. Then give a sum of all the individual results. I’ve used 1 IF with an OR but it didn’t work so it became 2 IF’s. Instead of just pressing ENTER, press CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER to make it an array formula, which you can recognize by the { } that Excel automatically puts around it: =SUM(IF(A2:A10<$A$1,1,IF(A2:A10=$A$1,1,0))) So after CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER, you will see: {=SUM(IF(A2:A10<$A$1,1,IF(A2:A10=$A$1,1,0)))} No more manual refresh! More about the topic: http://www.cpearson.com/excel/arrayformulas.aspx Gr, Raymond. The only workaround I could came up with involves 2 steps: [1] Put ‘Application.Volatile True’ at the beginning of the the function code [2] Put the following code in the worksheet event area (it assumes that you want an update if you select any cell in range [A1:A10]; please adjust accordingly): Private Sub Worksheet_SelectionChange(ByVal Target As Range) ‘Application.StatusBar = False On Error Resume Next ‘To avoid error if the selection isn’t in [A1:A10] If Target.Address = Intersect(Target, Range(“A1:A10”)).Address Then ActiveSheet.Calculate ‘Application.StatusBar = “Calculated” End If End Sub Gr, Raymond. [1] Should I paste ‘Application.Volatile True’ after the following row? ‘Function GetColorCount(CountRange As Range, CountColor As Range)’ [2] Where should I put the code you have entered? I’m afraid I don’t know what the “worksheet event area” is or where I can find it. Thank you for your patience and a great guide! /Kara [1] Correct. [2] While in Excel, press ‘ALT+F11’ and that will bring you in the development environment. Then, follow the instructions I’ve put here (screenshot): http://www.ehbeo.rayorganization.com/vba/screenshots/worksheets/Events_SelectionChange.png Gr, Raymond. http://www.ehbeo.com Your code for the workaround however disables copying and pasting? Do you know how to fix this? -Amy Sorry about that. Yes, there is a fix. The first line of code should be: If Application.CutCopyMode Then Exit Sub So, the final worksheet ‘SelectionChange’ event should look like this: [CODE] Private Sub Worksheet_SelectionChange(ByVal Target As Range) ‘If we are copying, do nothing and exit If Application.CutCopyMode Then Exit Sub On Error Resume Next ‘To avoid error if the selection isn’t in [A1:A10] If Target.Address = Intersect(Target, Range(“A1:A10”)).Address Then ActiveSheet.Calculate End If End Sub [END CODE] -Raymond