If you need a quick way to count rows that contain data, select all the cells in the first column of that data (it may not be column A). Just click the column header. The status bar, in the lower-right corner of your Excel window, will tell you the row count.
Do the same thing to count columns, but this time click the row selector at the left end of the row.
Here's an example of what you see:
If you select an entire row or column, Excel counts just the cells that contain data. If you select a block of cells, it counts the number of cells you selected. If the row or column you select contains only one cell with data, the status bar stays blank.
If you need to count the characters in cells, see Count characters in cells.
If you want to know how many cells have data, see Use COUNTA to count cells that aren't blank.
You can control the messages that appear in the status bar by right-clicking the status bar and clicking the item you want to see or remove.