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Excel/Locking a COUNTA formula

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Question
I am using the COUNTA formula for counting names in a set of cells.  When I delete a name the formula changes.  For instance if I am counting for cells A5 to A15 the formula is COUNTA(A5:A15).  When I delete a name the formula automatically changes to COUNTA(A5:A14).  So when I add another name to the series of cells, the formula is now wrong and does not cover the range of cells I wish.  How do I make it so the formula does not change when I delete information from that cell range?

Answer
Say for example that you've got a label in cell A4 (the "header"), your actual list of names in A5:A15, and another label in A16 (the "footer"). Instead of using

COUNTA(A5:A15)

better to use

COUNTA(A4:A16) - 2

Then, as long as you don't delete the header or footer, you can add or delete whatever rows within A5:A15, and the COUNTA formula will continue to work.
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Stuart Resnick

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I can answer questions relating to MS Excel formulas, or to programming with vba (Visual Basic for Applications) in the Excel environment. Please follow the following guidelines: your question should focus on one specific issue you want to learn. It's beyond the scope of this free service for me to create entire projects or complex vba solutions for you from scratch. You should be able to do most of the work yourself, and come here when you need help with a specific point you're stuck on. ALWAYS include a simple, concrete example illustrating what you want to learn. Explain this example in detail in the text of your question (what data is in which cells of which sheets, etc). Be very precise about the results you want, using this sample to make the logic clear. Always keep these examples SIMPLE. Never e.g. use 18 worksheets in your example if using 2 or 3 will do. Never use ranges like AI567:BB865 if using a range like A1:B3 will do. Thanks.

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As a consultant, I've designed Excel tools since the 90s, working for the Federal Reserve Bank, AT&T, and (currently) Gap Inc.

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