# Show Me a Shortcut for Counting in Excel

Updated on December 1, 2015

If you are a beginner to Excel, you probably don’t know how to create, or write a “formula” for counting in your spreadsheet. Have you ever asked someone to "Show me a shortcut for counting in Excel".  Well, there is a really neat feature in the lower right corner of every spreadsheet that allows you to find out the number of items (or count) in a specific range that you have highlighted. You can also find out the average, maximum, minimum or the sum of any items in a range of cells. This area is called the “status bar.”

You don't have to take microsoft Excel classes in order to learn some of the shortcuts in this spreadsheet program, you just need to ask the right question, of the right person. There are helpful tips all over the internet.

Unlike a formula entered into a cell, this feature does not keep the results you find permanently in your spreadsheet. It is used when you just want to get a quick answer to a question on your input area. For example, if you were going to buy a large quantity of foods for an event you are hosting, and you had a list of prices from the various stores you were considering buying from, then you could put them into a spreadsheet and find out the cost (or the average price) of the total purchases - per store.

Perhaps you are thinking about having a party and you want to know what it’s going to cost you – per person – to buy the basic entrée, drink, side dish, and desert. You can load all the prices into an Excel spreadsheet than highlight the row or column of items and you can immediately see the average price per person. Yes, you can always do this using a calculator, but the calculator will not allow you to change your prices or products anywhere on the calculator tape. If you store the information in an Excel file, you can go back and change the prices if a sale occurs, and then immediately get the new average. The power of microsoft Excel software is really amazing once you learn the secrets.

The most important part to making this feature work at its best is that you must enter the information you want to sum, average, or count all in one row or column. You must be able to easily highlight a “range” of information to obtain the results you want. For example, you might want to list the store names as column headings, and the products you are buying in the rows below. This way the ranges are easy to see and capture in your range of cells. A sample is showing below.

To activate this cool feature, you must first highlight the range of information by clicking on the first cell in the range, then holding down your left mouse button, and sliding it until all of the cells are highlighted. Then, use your left mouse button and click anywhere in the status bar area. The 7 option choices will pop up on the screen. Click on the one you want to use for this search result. As soon as you finish clicking, the results will pop into the status bar. If you want to change your choice, just left click in the status bar and pick a new one.

There are many microsoft Excel tutorials available on the internet, but sometimes these are time consuming to locate and tedius to sift through, especially if you are just looking for someone to show me a shortcut for counting in Excel

I hope this easy formula trick I've explained here helps you start understanding some of the great features of Excel.  Keep checking back to read my future posts on more tips and shortcuts for the beginner Excel user.

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Susan Carter

8 years ago

Glad I could help. It's a quick little feature that I find very handy when I don't want to use a calculator tape. Thanks for the comment.

8 years ago from Michigan

Wow. I have used excel for years and written some complex formulas. I never noticed this feature and it works on office 97.

Thanks Susan.

• Susan Carter

8 years ago

Thank you so much for the compliment and the useful suggestion. I'll take your advice and make the changes right away. Take care.

• Elena

8 years ago from London, UK

Thanks - very useful info. Spreadsheets can be quite challenging for some.