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I'm trying to find the number of of +'s in a formula inside a single cell in excel.

If it were a normal cell with text inside, this would be quite easy. But due to the restrictions of the file I'm working with, I need to keep the formatting of the cell as it is.

In short:

  • Cell A1: =123,12+234,45+790,44
  • Cell A2: =2, as there were two +'s found in cell A1
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Is a VBA solution okay? – jonsca Jul 4 '11 at 10:27
up vote 3 down vote accepted

You can use a custom vba function (put this code in a module) :

Option Explicit

Function countChar(cell As Range, pattern As String)
    countChar = UBound(Split(cell.Formula, pattern))
End Function

And then use this function in your Worksheet :

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Good timing, and very succinct hehe! – jonsca Jul 4 '11 at 11:49
@jonsca: indeed, nice shot :) – JMax Jul 4 '11 at 12:15


Create a function using this code:

Function GETFORMULA(c As Range) As String
    If c.HasArray Then
        GETFORMULA = "{" & c.Formula & "}"
    ElseIf VarType(c) = vbString And Not c.HasFormula Then
        GETFORMULA = c.Value
        GETFORMULA = c.Formula
    End If
End Function

The ff. formula will display the number of occurences of "+" in it.



Highlight the cells that contain formulas. If you only need to deal with one cell, just add a ' before the = and skip the next step.

Press Ctrl + H. Enter = into the Find what and '= into Replace With. This will convert the formula to text.

Use this formula in a blank cell to count the number of occurences of "+".


To revert the cells back to the way they were, highlight them, press Ctrl + H and replace '= with =. Doing so will cause the formula above to show 0.

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This function will take the formula of the cell that is passed to it (that is you'd call it by =NumPlus(A1) on your worksheet) and walk along it and count the plus signs. You could modify it slightly to take a character that you want to count as an argument.

Option Explicit
Function NumPlus(cel As Variant) As Variant
    Dim formstr As String
    Dim i As Integer

    NumPlus = 0
    formstr = cel.Formula

    For i = 1 To Len(formstr)
        If Mid(formstr, i, 1) = "+" Then
            NumPlus = NumPlus + 1
        End If
    Next i
End Function
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