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# excel – How to compare literals in COUNTIF

Questions:

Named lists in an excel sheet are referenced from another sheet on the same book.

E.g.

Sheet 2 has the named lists(GRPCNT) contain strings

``````> 5
5 - 9
10 - 20
> 20
``````

Sheet 1 uses GRPCNT to provide a list of options.
Say, there are three rows

``````A | > 5
B | > 20
C | > 5
``````

Sheet 1 has to determine the number of occurrences of each option from the list.

The problem is

``````COUNTIF(Range, "> 5")
``````

returns ‘0’ instead of ‘2’ for the example data above.

I need a literal comparision something along the lines of

``````COUNTIF( Range, Sheet2!A1 ) , or
COUNTIF( Range, "'> 5'" )
``````

Both above attempts failed to provide the desired result.

What am I doing wrong here?

``````COUNTIF(Range, "=> 5")
This count how many cells in the range matches (`=`) the content `> 5` (no “=>” is not an operator).
The equal sign is needed because `>` at the start already has a special meaning: count cells which integer values is greater than 5.