Search form

Count the number of characters in a cell in Excel

This lesson introduces the LEN() function, which allows you to calculate the number of characters in a cell. This formula is useful on its own, or can be combined with other text functions such as RIGHT(), LEFT(), MID() and FIND().

LEN() function syntax

The LEN() function has the following syntax:

=LEN(text)

  • Where text is the text value for which you want to calculate the number of characters, or a reference to a cell that contains a text value.
  • Note that the LEN() function will count the number of characters in a cell regardless of whether the value in that cell is text or a number, or a combination of both.

Example of the LEN() function in action

To use the LEN() function, follow these steps:

  • Click on a cell and enter the function
  • Enter the reference to a cell that contains the text for which you want to calculate the length:
    Worked example of the LEN() function in Excel
  • Once you have finished, press Enter to complete the formula and see the result:
    Completed example of the LEN() function
  • You can use the LEN() function to calculate the length of values in a column of cells. This example also uses the AVERAGE(), MAX() and MIN() functions:
    Example of the LEN() function in Excel