Excel MAX function

Summary

The Excel MAX function finds the largest numeric value in a dataset. This simple yet essential function is widely used in data analysis, financial modeling, and everyday Excel tasks to identify the highest number in a range of values or among individual numbers.
Syntax
				
					=MAX(number1, [number2], ...)
				
			
  • number1: The first number, cell reference, or range from which you want to find the maximum value
  • number2, …: [Optional] Additional numbers, cell references, or ranges to consider for the maximum value, up to 255
Return value
The highest number in the given list of values or ranges.

How to use

To use the MAX function, you can input directly numbers, cell references, or a combination of both. The function will ignore text, logical values (TRUE and FALSE), and empty cells, focusing solely on numeric data.

Examples

Simple MAX
Finding the Highest Score: To determine the maximum score from a list of student scores.
				
					=MAX(A1:A10)
				
			
If A1:A10 contains scores ranging from 55 to 98, MAX returns 98, identifying the highest score in the list.
MAX with Direct Values
Comparing Individual Numbers: To find the largest number among several directly specified values.
				
					=MAX(23, 47, 35, 89, 56)
				
			
This formula directly compares the numbers 23, 47, 35, 89, and 56 and returns 89 as the highest value.
MAX across Multiple Ranges
Identifying the Maximum Value Across Different Data Blocks: To locate the highest value in non-adjacent ranges.
				
					=MAX(B2:B10, D2:D10)
				
			
Assuming B2:B10 and D2:D10 contain different sets of numbers, MAX evaluates both ranges and returns the highest value found in either.
MAX with Non-Numeric Cells
Ignoring Text and Blank Cells: To find the maximum numeric value in a range that also contains text or blanks.
				
					=MAX(E1:E10)
				
			
If E1:E10 includes a mix of numbers, text entries, and empty cells, MAX disregards the text and blanks, focusing only on the numeric values to determine the highest one.

Additional Notes

  • While MAX is straightforward, its utility in various contexts (from business and finance to education) cannot be overstated.
  • For scenarios requiring the identification of the largest value based on specific conditions, consider using the MAXIFS function, which allows for criteria-based evaluations.

Related Functions

Excel MIN function

The Excel MIN function identifies the lowest value in a data set, crucial for determining minimums in analyses.

Excel MAXIFS function

The Excel MAXIFS function determines the maximum value among cells specified by multiple criteria, optimizing targeted analyses.

Excel AGGREGATE function

The Excel AGGREGATE function performs calculations like SUM, AVERAGE across lists, ignoring errors or hidden rows, enhancing data analysis.

Excel RANK function

The Excel RANK function assigns a rank to a number within a list of numbers, essential for competitive analysis and scoring.

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