Check Winning Numbers with COUNTIF Function

Today, we’ll see a little magic from the COUNTIF function – it can do the work of seven formulas in one!

The COUNTIF function can check a range of cells, and see if it contains a specific value. For example, type your lucky number in cell D2, and use a COUNTIF formula to see if that number is found in the list of winning numbers in cells I2:N2.

=COUNTIF(I2:N2,D2)

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The number, 26, is found once in the range I2:N2, so the COUNTIF result is 1. Your lucky number is a winner!

Check Multiple Numbers

What if we have multiple lucky numbers to check – not just one number? In the next screen shot, there are six numbers to check, entered in cells A2:F2. The winning numbers are still listed in cells I2:N2.

We could create a similar COUNTIF formula, to check each cell, to see if it is a winner. Here is the formula in B5 – the column references in I2:N2 are locked, so that reference won’t change when the formula is copied across to cell G5.

=COUNTIF($I2:$N2,D2)

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In cell H5, use the SUM function to find the total number of cells that match the winning numbers.

=SUM(B5:G5)

That shows a total of 1, so only one of the six lucky numbers is a winner.

Get the Total Count in One Step

Instead of creating 6 COUNTIF formulas, and a SUM, we could use an array-entered COUNTIF formula, to get the answer in one step.

In the next screen shot, the following formula is array-entered in cell B5 – press Ctrl + Shift + Enter, instead of just pressing Enter.

=SUM(COUNTIF(B2:G2,I2:N2))

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If you change the lucky number in cell E2 to 22, instead of 7, the number of winners changes to 2, instead of 1. I’ve added conditional formatting in cells B2:G2, to colour the winning numbers yellow.

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With cells B2:G2 selected, the conditional formatting formula is the same as our earlier formula:

=COUNTIF($I2:$N2,B2)

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Check Losing Teams

The same technique works with text too, and the range that’s being checked can be vertical, instead of horizontal.

In the next screen shot, 6 people have picked the teams that they think will win the four games being played today. When each game is finished, the losing team’s name is entered in column H.

A SUM/COUNTIF array formula calculates how many losing teams each person picked. So far, 3 games are finished, and it’s looking good for Al. He hasn’t picked any losing teams yet!

Here is the formula array-entered in cell F2 (Ctrl + Shift + Enter), and copied down to cell F8.

=SUM(COUNTIF(B2:E2,$H$2:$H$5))

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1 Response

  1. Trouttrap2 says:

    Great tip. I use this technique all the time, but with a variation. I wrap it all in SUMPRODUCT instead of SUM. I can avoid control+shift+enter that way.

    Instead of {=SUM(COUNTIF(B2:G2,I2:N2))}
    Try this =SUMPRODUCT(COUNTIF(B2:G2,I2:N2))

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