Calculate the smallest or largest number in a range

Let's say you want to find out who has the smallest error rate in a production run at a factory or the largest salary in your department. There are several ways to calculate the smallest or largest number in a range.

What do you want to do?


If the cells are in a contiguous row or column

  1. Select a cell below or to the right of the numbers for which you want to find the smallest number.
  2. On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click the arrow next to AutoSum Button image, click Min (calculates the smallest) or Max (calculates the largest), and then press ENTER.

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If the cells are not in a contiguous row or column

To do this task, use the MIN, MAX, SMALL, or LARGE functions.

Example

The example may be easier to understand if you copy it to a blank worksheet.

ShowHow to copy an example

  1. Create a blank workbook or worksheet.
  1. Select the example in the Help topic.

 Note   Do not select the row or column headers.

Selecting an example from Help

Selecting an example from Help
  1. Press CTRL+C.
  1. In the worksheet, select cell A1, and press CTRL+V.
  1. To switch between viewing the results and viewing the formulas that return the results, press CTRL+` (grave accent), or on the Formulas tab, in the Formula Auditing group, click the Show Formulas button.
 
1
2
3
4
5
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7
A
Data
10
7
9
27
0
4
Formula Description (Result)
=MIN(A2:A7) Smallest number in the range (0)
=MAX(A2:A7) Largest number in the range (27)
=SMALL(A2:A7, 2) Second smallest number in the range (4)
=LARGE(A2:A7,3) Third largest number in the range (9)

Function details

LARGE function

MAX function

MIN function

SMALL function

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Applies to:
Excel 2010