If you’re using Google Sheets and you want to count the occurrences of a certain letter or word, there’s a pretty easy function that you can use.
Looking for a word and only that word
In this first set of data in the image above and also in this linked spreadsheet, we will be counting any cells that contain the word “Yellow” and only that word. To count the occurrences of the word yellow in the range B2 to B9 you can use the count COUNTIF function as such:
=COUNTIF(B2:B9,"yellow"). It performs a conditional count. In this case, only if the cell or ranges of cells is equal to Yellow. Yellow is not case-sensitive so this is going to pick up three instances even though B7 is not capitalized. If the COUNTIF technique is doing everything you need, then you’re done and there is no need to try anything more involved.
Looking for a word occurring anywhere a cell
Looking at this second set of data, things will get a little bit more complicated. We are looking for a certain word that occurs anywhere in any of these cells. First, you want to use COUNTIF again and give it a range
=COUNTIF(C2:C9, "*Yellow*"). For this example, the range will be C2 to C9. If it has the word yellow and anything before which is what the asterisk means, and anything after it which is the second asterisk, then it should be counted. It just has to have yellow in some part of it. Anything can be nothing so it can start or end with yellow too. This function is also counting 3 because of the yellow plane, the yellow car, and the little yellow boat.
The COUNTIF function is not case-sensitive. To count cells with specific capitalization, follow the second example in this tutorial.
Using a plugin
As an alternative to the options above, you may want a plugin to do the heavy lifting for you. I like to use a plugin called Power Tools. This will give you a menu option with, among other things, advanced Find and Replace features. This will give you a list of all the occurrences of a word in your spreadsheet, but it won’t give you a count of them. Depending on the size of the spreadsheet, this may be the preferable option.
I hope that was helpful and now you know the formula for counting any occurrences of any word that you’re looking for.