In Microsoft Excel, the MIN function is generally used to extract the lowest or smallest value from a range of cells containing numerical data only. In this article, you’ll get to learn how you can use this MIN function effectively in Excel with appropriate illustrations.
The above screenshot is an overview of the article, representing a few applications of the MIN function in Excel. You’ll learn more about the methods to use the MIN function properly in the following sections of this article.
If you are looking for ways to find minimum value based on multiple criteria, you can go through an article we have added below in this article.
Introduction to the MIN Function
- Function Objective:
MIN function extracts the lowest or smallest value from a range of cells or cell references.
- Arguments Explanation:
|A range of cells, a cell reference, an array, or a numerical value.
|2nd numerical value or the range of cells.
- Return Parameter:
The smallest number among a range of numerical values.
Using MIN Function in Excel: 6 Suitable Examples
1. Use of MIN Function with a Range of Cells in Excel
First, we’ll see how the MIN function works with a range of cells containing a number of numerical values in decimals. Column B in the following picture has some numbers, and we’ll apply the MIN function here for these data to find out the lowest value.
➤ Select the output cell B12 and type:
➤ Press Enter, and you’ll get the lowest value from all decimal values in Column B.
2. Using MIN Function with Cell References or Direct Data Input
As the MIN function intakes multiple numerical values or cell references containing numbers, we’ll now apply this function by inputting all five numbers from column B as the arguments.
➤ In the output cell B12, the related formula will be:
➤ After pressing Enter, you’ll get the lowest or smallest value right away.
3. Applying MIN Function with Condition or Criteria in Excel
Although MINIF and MINIFS functions can fulfill the purposes of including conditions or criteria, you can also combine MIN and IF functions to find out the lowest data from a range of cells based on a certain condition.
For example, we’ll determine the lowest value from the range of cells in column B containing the decimal numbers greater than 0.50.
➤ In the output cell B15, we have to type:
➤ Press Enter and the formula will return 0.51.
Here IF function extracts the decimal values greater than 0.50 and then the MIN function shows the lowest value from the extracted data.
4. MIN Function to Find the Oldest Date from a Range of Cells in Excel
You can apply the MIN function to find out the oldest date from a range of cells containing dates. In the following picture, there are some date values in column B. We’ll pull out the oldest date among these values.
➤ Select the output cell B12 and type:
➤ Press Enter and you’ll get the oldest date at once.
Read More: How to Find Minimum Value in Excel
5. MIN Function to Find the Earliest Time from a Range of Cells in Excel
Similarly, you can extract the earliest time from a range of cells containing a number of times in any format. In column B, we have a set of timestamps with H:MM:SS AM/PM format. Now, we’ll apply the MIN function to find the earliest time.
➤ In cell B12, the related formula will be:
➤ After pressing Enter, the function will return the earliest time from the selected range of timestamps.
6. Highlight Smallest Number Using Conditional Formatting
➤ To highlight the smallest number in Excel, first, select your desired cell range.
➤ Then, go to the Home tab >> click on Conditional Formatting >> select the New Rule option.
➤ In the New Formatting Rule box, select the Format only top or bottom ranked values option.
➤ Then, select Bottom and insert 1 in the box >> click on Format.
➤ Next, select any format that you want and click on OK.
➤ Thus, you will get the smallest number highlighted like the picture below.
How to Fix When MIN Function Is Not Working in Excel
Following errors may occur while using the MIN function in Excel.
- #VALUE Error
This type of error occurs for any typo or if you have inserted any wrong argument. Try to solve that issue.
- #NUM! Error
This type of error is shown in Excel when the formula you have inserted is not possible to calculate. Check if the numbers you have used are too big or too small. You can use scientific notations in this case.
- #DIV/0! Error
This error is shown when a user tries to divide any number by zero. While using the MIN function, check if any data point shows #DIV/0! Error and solve it.
- #NAME? Error
This error occurs for misspelled functions or wrong arguments. Check them to solve this issue. Also, this issue may occur if your numbers are text representations of numbers. Convert those text values to numbers first.
💡 Things to Keep in Mind
🔺 MIN function does not count blank cells which means if your selected range of cells contains a blank cell, the MIN function won’t return with a blank cell. Rather, it’ll extract the lowest value from all other non-empty cells.
🔺 You can input up to 255 arguments in the MIN function.
🔺 MIN function ignores booleans and text values as this function is assigned to extract data from numerical values only.
🔺 If you need to include a condition or criteria then you should go for MINIF or MINIFS functions.
🔺 If you want to input a logical value then the MINA function should fulfill your purposes.
Download Practice Workbook
You can download the Excel workbook that we’ve used to prepare this article.
I hope all of the simple methods mentioned above to use the MIN function will now prompt you to apply them in your Excel spreadsheets with more productivity. I have also provided an article here where you will find ways to find minimum values based on multiple criteria in Excel. If you have any questions or feedback, please let me know in the comment section. Or you can check out our other articles related to Excel functions on this website.