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How to Use LARGE Function in Excel (7 Easy Examples)

When we need to find a specific largest value, like the 2nd or the 3rd biggest number in any dataset. Excel’s LARGE function returns numeric values based on their position in a list when sorted by value. This article will share the idea of how the LARGE function works in Excel autonomously and then with other Excel functions.


Overview of Excel LARGE Function:

In the following picture, you can see the overview of the LARGE function.

Overview of Excel LARGE Function


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Introduction to Excel LARGE Function

  • Summary

Returns the K-th largest value in a dataset where K must be a positive integer.

  • Syntax
=LARGE(array, k)
  • Arguments
ARGUMENT REQUIREMENT DESCRIPTION
array Required The array from which you need to choose the kth largest value.
k Required Pass an integer that specifies the position from the largest value, as the nth position.

Note: 

  • Here the value of K should be greater than 0. (K>0)
  • LARGE(array,1) returns the biggest value and LARGE(array,n) returns the smallest value if n is the number of data points in a range.
  • The LARGE function is suitable for numeric values only. It ignores the text, blank cells, and logical values.

7 Examples to Use LARGE Function in Excel

Now, In this section, I will give 7 examples that will help you understand the application of this function in detail. So, let’s get started with our first example.

1. Use of LARGE Function to Get Top N Values in Excel

Let’s have a dataset of some students with their Name, Department, Admission Date, Graduation Date, and CGPA. From this dataset, we will find out the top 3 results using the LARGE function.

Use of LARGE Function to Get Top N Values in Excel

To do that, follow the steps below.

Steps:

  • Enter the formula in cell E16 and copy it down up to E18 cell.
=LARGE($F$5:$F$12, D16)

Use of LARGE Function to Get Top N Values in Excel

How Does the Formula Work?

  • LARGE($F$5:$F$12, D16)

Here, $F$5:$F$12 is the range where the LARGE function will search values. In this cell D16, we have passed the position of the searching elements.


2. Combining AVERAGE & LARGE Functions in Excel to Average Largest N-Values

For this example, let’s assume we need to find out the average CGPA of the top 4 students’ GPAs.

Determining the Average of Top 4 student's GPA using LARGE & AVERAGE functions

We can find this using Excel’s LARGE, and AVERAGE functions. Follow the steps below.

Steps:

  • Enter the following formula in cell D15.
=AVERAGE(LARGE(F5:F12, {1,2,3,4}))

Determining the Average of Top 4 student's GPA using LARGE & AVERAGE functions

How Does the Formula Work?

  • LARGE(F4:F11, {1,2,3,4})

This portion will find the top 4 largest values from the CGPA dataset. {1,2,3,4} this is used to define the top 4 values using an array argument.

  • AVERAGE(LARGE(F5:F12, {1,2,3,4}))

The AVERAGE function calculates the average of the selected values.


3. Combining SUM & LARGE Functions in Excel to SUM Largest N-Values

For this example, let’s assume we need to find out the sum of the top 4 students’ GPAs.

Determining the sum of Top 4 student's GPA using LARGE & SUM functions

We can find this using Excel’s LARGE SUM functions. Follow the steps below.

Steps:

  • And enter the following formula in E15.
=SUM(LARGE(F5:F12, {1,2,3,4}))

Determining the sum of Top 4 student's GPA using LARGE & SUM functions

How Does the Formula Work?

  • LARGE(F4:F11, {1,2,3,4})

This portion will find the top 4 largest values from the CGPA dataset. {1,2,3,4} this is used to define the top 4 values using an array argument.

  • SUM(LARGE(F5:F12, {1,2,3,4}))

The SUM function returns the summation.


4. Utilizing INDEX, MATCH & LARGE Functions in Excel to Get Associated Data

By default, we can just only extract the numerical value using the LARGE function. But sometimes we may need to find the associated data with the largest value in the nth position. In this section, we will see how to find the top 3 student names with the help of combining the LARGE function with the INDEX & MATCH Functions.

Utilizing INDEX, MATCH & LARGE Functions to Get Associated Data

To learn more, follow the steps below.

Steps:

  • Enter the formula in cell E16 and copy it down to E18. You will get the following result.
=INDEX($B$5:$B$12, MATCH(LARGE($F$5:$F$12, $D16), $F$5:$F$12, 0))

Utilizing INDEX, MATCH & LARGE Functions to Get Associated Data

How Does the Formula Work?

  • LARGE($F$5:$F$12, $D16)

This portion of the formula finds the highest (D16=1) CGPA in the F5:F12 range.

  • MATCH(LARGE($F$5:$F$12, $D16), $F$5:$F$12, 0)

This portion of the formula provides the row number of the top CGPA holder in the F5:F12 column.

  • INDEX($B$5:$B$12, MATCH(LARGE($F$5:$F$12, $D16), $F$5:$F$12, 0))

Lastly, the INDEX function will return the associated data with the largest value from $B$5:$B$12 column.


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5. Combining ROWS & LARGE Functions in Excel to Sort Numbers in Descending Order

Let’s think we need to sort the CGPA of the students in a separate column (Sorted CGPA).

We can do this using ROWS and LARGE functions easily. Let’s follow the steps below.

Steps:

  • Enter the formula H5 and copy it down up to H12.
=LARGE($F$5:$F$12, ROWS(F$5:F5))

Application of ROWS & LARGE Functions to Sort Numbers in Descending Order

How Does the Formula Work?

  • ROWS(F$5:F5)

This part of the formula returns the rows number of rows in the range.

  • LARGE($F$5:$F$12, ROWS(F$5:F5))

Lastly, the LARGE function finds all the large numbers according to the row serial from this $F$5:$F$12 range.


6. Use of LARGE Function to Find Nearest Dates

Using the LARGE and ROWS functions we can find the recent dates. Let’s say we want to find the most recent 3 student’s admission dates.

Use of LARGE Function to Find Nearest Last Date

To accomplish that, follow the steps below.

Steps:

  • Enter the formula in cell D15 and copy it down up to D17 cell.
=LARGE($D$5:$D$12, ROWS(D$5:D5))

Use of LARGE Function to Find Nearest Last Date


7. Use the LARGE Function to Get an Upcoming Date Nearest to Today or a Specified Date

Now in this section, we find out the upcoming 3 graduation dates. For me, today is 9th November 2022. Now we will find the top 3 three dates which are near to the current date.

To do that, follow the steps below.

Steps:

  • Enter the following three formulas in cells D16, D17, and D18 respectively.
=LARGE($E$5:$E$12, COUNTIF($E$5:$E$12, ">"&TODAY()))

And,

=LARGE($E$5:$E$12, COUNTIF($E$5:$E$12, ">"&TODAY())-1)

And,

=LARGE($E$5:$E$12, COUNTIF($E$5:$E$12, ">"&TODAY())-2)

Using the LARGE Function to Get a Future Date Closest to Today or a Particularized Date

How Does the Formula Work?

  • COUNTIF($E$5:$E$12, “>”&TODAY())

This part will count the number of cells using the condition. The condition is the date must be greater than today. Today’s date is found using the TODAY function. To know more about TODAY and COUNTIF functions, you can check these two articles:

  • LARGE($E$5:$E$12, COUNTIF($E$5:$E$12, “>”&TODAY()))

Finally, the LARGE function is used to find the largest dates.


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When Will LARGE Function Not Work in Excel?

This LARGE function will not work for the following circumstances:

  • If the k value is a negative number.
  • If the k value is higher than the number of values in an array.
  • The provided array is empty or does not include a single numeric value.

Things to Remember

COMMON ERRORS WHEN THEY ARE SHOWN
#NUM! This error will appear if the array is empty. Also if k ≤ 0 or if k is greater than the number of data points.
#VALUE! This error will appear if the supplied K is a non-numeric value.

Conclusion

That’s it all about LARGE function. Here I have tried to give a piece of proper knowledge about this function and its different applications. I have shown multiple methods with their respective examples but there can be many other iterations depending on numerous situations. If you have any inquiries or feedback, please let us know in the comment section.


Further Readings

Md. Abdullah Al Murad

Md. Abdullah Al Murad

Hello! Welcome to my Profile. Currently, I am working and researching Microsoft Excel, and here I will be posting articles related to this. My last educational degree is BSc, and my program was Computer Science and Engineering from American International University-Bangladesh. I am a Computer Science graduate with a great interest in research and development. Always try to gather knowledge from various sources and try to make innovative solutions.

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