How to Count Colored Cells in Google Sheets: A Step-by-Step Guide

Counting colored cells in Google Sheets can be a handy skill to have, especially if you’re dealing with large sets of data that are color-coded for better visualization. In a nutshell, you’ll be using a custom formula that incorporates the "COUNTIF" function, along with Google App Script to create a function that counts cells based on their color. Don’t worry, it’s simpler than it sounds, and I’ll guide you through it step by step.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Count Colored Cells in Google Sheets

Before we dive into the steps, let me quickly explain what we’re about to do. We’ll write a custom script that will allow Google Sheets to recognize and count cells by their color. Once we have this script, we’ll be able to use a simple function to count the colored cells.

Step 1: Open the Google Sheets Script Editor

Go to the "Extensions" menu, select "Apps Script".

This will open a new tab in your browser where you can write and save custom scripts for Google Sheets.

Step 2: Write the Custom Function

Copy and paste the provided code into the script editor.

The code will be a function that uses the getBackgrounds method to check the color of each cell in a given range.

Step 3: Save and Name the Script

Click the disk icon or select File > Save to save your script, and give it a recognizable name.

Naming your script helps you to find and reuse it later if you need to count colored cells in another spreadsheet.

Step 4: Use the Function in Your Sheet

Back in your Google Sheet, type the custom function formula into a cell where you want the count to display.

The function will look something like "=countColoredCells(A1:A10, "#FFFFFF")", where "A1:A10" is the range and "#FFFFFF" is the color code you’re counting.

After completing these steps, you’ll have a custom function in your Google Sheets that can count colored cells. You can use this function anytime you need to tally up cells based on their color.

Tips for Counting Colored Cells in Google Sheets

  • Make sure the color you want to count is consistent across all cells.
  • Remember that the color code must be in quotation marks within the function.
  • Double-check the range you’re counting to ensure it’s accurate.
  • Test the function with a small range first to make sure it’s working correctly.
  • Keep in mind that changing the color of a cell after using the function may require you to refresh the formula.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if the function isn’t counting the cells correctly?

Make sure the color code in the function matches the exact color code of the cells you’re counting. Also, check that the range is correct.

Can I count cells with multiple different colors?

Yes, you will need to use the function separately for each color you want to count.

Will this function slow down my Google Sheet?

It can if you’re using it on a very large range of cells. Try to limit the range to only the cells you need to count.

What if I change the color of a cell after using the function?

You may need to refresh the function by re-entering it or editing the range.

Can I use this function in Excel as well?

No, this custom function is specific to Google Sheets and will not work in Excel.


  1. Open the Google Sheets Script Editor from the "Extensions" menu.
  2. Write the custom function in the script editor.
  3. Save and name your script.
  4. Use the function in your Google Sheet by typing the formula into a cell.


Counting colored cells in Google Sheets doesn’t have to be a tedious task. With a bit of scripting and the use of a custom function, you can automate this process and save yourself time. Whether you’re a teacher keeping track of student progress, a business analyst highlighting key data points, or just someone who loves organizing data visually, this skill can be incredibly beneficial.

Remember, the key to successfully counting colored cells is in the details—make sure your color codes and ranges are accurate. And don’t be afraid of a little code! Once you’ve set up the function, it’s smooth sailing from there. Plus, mastering these kinds of Google Sheets functionalities can open up a world of possibilities for managing and analyzing your data more effectively.

So go ahead, give it a try, and watch as your colorful data is effortlessly tallied up. And next time someone asks you how to count colored cells in Google Sheets, you’ll be the expert they’ll turn to for advice. Happy counting!