There are several statistical functions in Excel to help you perform your desired tasks easily and swiftly. Today we are going to show you how to use a function called: MAX. For this session, we are using Excel 2019, feel free to use yours (at least 2003).
You are welcome to download the practice workbook from the link below.
Excel MAX Function
1. Basics of MAX Function
The MAX Function is categorized under Excel STATISTICAL functions. This function returns the largest value in a given list of arguments.
Returns the largest value in a set of values. Ignores logical values and text.
MAX (number1, [number2], ...)
number1: Number, reference to a numeric value, or range that contains numeric values.
number2: [Optional] Additional numbers, cell references, or ranges of numeric values.
You can provide up to a maximum of 255 number arguments.
Workable from Excel 2003.
Read More: The Different Ways of Counting in Excel
2. Uses of MAX Function
I. MAX for Rows
Using the MAX function, you can find the maximum or highest value of a row.
We have brought a data table of students with their respective scores in three quizzes to show examples.
Now we are set to find the highest value from each row. Our formula for the first row will be
C4 to E4 is the Cell Reference of the first row.
Our formula has provided the highest score for Angela in the quizzes.
A similar formula (changes in the Cell Reference) will provide the maximum value for the rest of the rows.
II. MAX for Columns
Similar to the rows the MAX function can be used for the columns to find the largest value from the columns.
For example, we can find the highest score for each quiz from our previously used dataset.
Scores for quizzes are stored in three columns. Our formula will be
Within the function, we have inserted the Cell Reference for the first column.
We have found the highest score for Quiz 1. Similarly, we can find the largest for the rest of the columns.
III. MAX for Entire Data
If you need to find the maximum from the entire table or dataset, what will you do? No worries, simple answer, need to use the MAX function for the entire dataset.
To show you examples, we have introduced a dataset of several items with prices in different shops.
We are aiming to find the largest value from the dataset and our formula will be
We have found the maximum value from our table.
IV. MAX for Non-Adjacent Columns
You can find the maximum from the non-adjacent columns using the MAX function.
We are using the previous dataset for this example.
Let we want to find the largest from Shop1 and Shop3.
The formula will be
Here we have set the column references separated by comma (,).
The formula provided the maximum value for the two non-adjacent columns.
V. Recent Date using MAX
MAX can be used for finding the most recent date from the dataset.
Here we have a dataset of few items from a couple of shops and delivery date.
Write the MAX formula for the date column.
Excel stores dates as sequential serial numbers. By default 1 January 1900 is the 1st date, and its serial number is 1. The functions convert dates to their respective serial number before doing the operations.
The MAX function converts the dates into their respective serial numbers and finds the most recent date. Thus the formula returned the most recent date.
VI. MAX with criteria
You can find the maximum value comparing any criteria.
For example purpose, we have brought a dataset of several sports items and their quantity.
We can set our desired criteria, for example, here we have set criteria of Cricket Bats.
We need to set the condition using the IF function. To know about the function, visit this IF article.
Our formula will be
The IF function checks whether the criteria have been matched or not, if matched then it triggers the MAX operation.
Here we have found the highest quantity for Cricket Bats. If we change the criteria item the result will be changed.
Note that, it is an array formula, you need to press CTRL+ SHIFT + ENTER to execute the formula.
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3. Quick Notes
- You can set the Cell References separated by comma (,).
We have inserted 3 cells in the function and these are separated by a comma. And this worked fine.
- Alongside the Cell References, you can insert the number in the function.
You will get the highest value among the inserted numbers.
- Numbers can be inserted along with the ranges also.
All you need to use comma (,) to separate range and number.
- Not only the cell references you can directly input the numbers into the function.
You will get the largest value among them.
- Sometimes your provided cells may contain text or Boolean values.
The MAX function will ignore anything but the numbers and return the largest value among them.
That’s all for today. We have tried showing how you can use the MAX function. You can use the function to fetch the largest value from ranges or numbers. Hope you will find this helpful.
Feel free to comment if anything seems difficult to understand. Let us know any of your MAX function-related scenarios where you have stuck, we are ready to help.