It’s a common data analysis task to count the number of cells with a value that is less than a specific threshold.
For example, if you have sales figures of different sales reps in a column, you may want to know how many sales reps were not able to meet the given sales target.
Or if you have student scores in a column, then you may want to know how many students have scored less than the passing marks.
In this tutorial, I will show you some simple formulas you can use to count cells that have a value less than a given value in Excel. This can easily be done using the COUNTIF or the COUNTIFS function.
COUNTIF Function to Count Cells Less Than a Value
COUNTIF is a simple Excel function that allows you to count the number of cells when a given condition is met.
Let me show you how it works with a simple example.
Below I have a data set where I have the student names in column A, and their scores in column B, and I want to count the total number of cells where the score is less than 35.
Here is the formula that will give me the count of cells that score less than 35.
The above COUNTIF function takes two arguments:
- B2:B20 – This is the range that has the cells that we want to count in case the given criterion is met
- “<50” – This is the condition that is used to evaluate every cell in the range, and the cell is counted if this criterion is met. Note that we need to put the criterion within double quotes.
In the above example, I’ve hard-coded the criteria into the formula itself. However, you can also use a cell reference Of a cell that has the value that is to be considered for the criteria.
For example, if I have the value 50 in cell D2, then I can use the below formula as well:
Note that in the above formula, only the less than sign (“<“) needs to be in double quotes.
SUM Function to Count Cells Less Than a Value
While the county function is the best way to count sales that have a value less than a given value, you can also do the same thing using another simple function – the SUM function.
Let me show you how it works.
Below I have the same data set where I have students’ names in column A and their scores in column B, and I want to count the number of cells where the score is less than 35.
Here is the SUM formula that will do this:
In the above formula, we use the condition (B2:B20<50) To check the entire range B2:B20, and it returns an array of TRUEs and FLASEs, where it gives it True when the value is less than 50 and False when the value is not less than 50.
A double negative sign is now used before this condition to convert the Trues and Falses into 1’s and 0’s.
And then, the SUM function is used that counts the total number of 1s in the array, which would also be the total number of cells that meet our given criterion.
COUNTIFS Function to Count Cells Less Than a Value (Multiple Columns)
In the above examples, we have counted the number of cells that have a value less than a specified value in a single column.
With the COUNTIFS function, you can also count the number of instances where multiple criteria are being met.
Let me explain with an example.
Below I have a data set where I have the student’s name and column A, their score in Math in column B, and their score in Physics in column C.
Now I want to count the number of students who have scored less than 50 in both Maths and Physic.
So, in this case, instead of analyzing just one column, we would have to simultaneously analyze two columns and then count only those instances of cells Where the value is less than 50 in both columns.
Below is the formula that will do this for us:
The above COUNTIF function uses four arguments:
- B2:B20 – This is the range that contains the Math score (which is our criteria_range1)
- “<50” – This is the first criterion that is checked against criteria_range1
- C2:C20 – This is the range that contains the Physics score (which is our criteria_range2)
- “<50” – This is the second criterion that is checked against criteria_range2
Our formula returns 4, which means that four students have scored less than 50 in both Math and Physics.
Note: In the above formula, I have hard-coded the criterion value (“<50”). You can also have this value in a cell reference and then use that cell reference in the formula (such as “<“&D2)
So these are three simple formulas you can use to count cells if they have a value less than the specific value.
If there is only one column in which you want to count the cells, you can use the COUNTIF function, and if there are multiple columns, then you can use the COUNTIFS function.
I hope you found this Excel tutorial useful.
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