# Excel: Count Records That Match a Criterion

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Problem: I have a large data set. I want to count the number of records that meet a certain criterion.

1. Count males and females.

Strategy: You use the COUNTIF function, which requires two arguments: a range of cells that you want to test and a criteria. To count the records where the gender is M, you use =COUNTIF(B5:B60,"M").

2. COUNTIF function looks through a range, counting matches.

Note that the second argument, "M", tells Excel to count records that are equal to M. Because this function is not case-sensitive, the function will count cells with values of M or m.

If you want to count the records where the age is a specific number, you can write the formula either with or without quotes around the number:

=COUNTIF(D5:D60,32)

=COUNTIF(D5:D60,"32")

You can also establish a criterion to look for items that are below or above a certain number:

=COUNTIF(D5:D60,"<21")

A criterion can include a wildcard character. To find any text that contains XYZ, you use the following formula:

=COUNTIF(A2:A999,"*XYZ*")