Excel COUNTIF – A function review

I first applied this Excel function when I had a poll I want to count the answers. You know how many YES and NO answers you have.

Later I found the most limitation when I tried to count the YES answers by City and by Genre.

Here are the pros why you should use the COUNTIF function in Excel

  • It is easy to learn
  • It is easy to write
  • It is easy to read
  • Updates automatically when a change occurs
  • Allows you to use wild cards

Here are the cons why you should not use the COUNTIF function in Excel

  • does not evaluate multiple criteria
  • You are prone to commit errors when setting the vertical ranges

There are other useful applications of this function like findind duplicates or unique entries. the main limitation of not being able to evaluate multiple conditions force you to use other tricks like helper column or array formula.

Excel 2007 brought us the COUNTIFS to overcome this limitation.