Excel Productivity Guide

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Ever tried to look up for the maximum value from a range using a specific condition? Which formula do you think you can use?

You might be wondering:

Well, in excel, we can't simply use default max function in excel with a condition (unless you are using office 365).

But, you can combine MAX and IF to create a formula which can help you to get the max value from a range using specific criteria.

In short: This MAX IF will be an array formula which you can use to find max value from a range with criteria.

But here’s the kicker:

End of this post, you will learn how can we create this max if without an array and how can we use more than one condition in it.

Without more ado, let’s get started.

Let’s take an example of below data where you have month wise, week wise, and date wise sales quantity.

Now from this data, you need to get the max sales quantity for a particular month. For example, “Jan” and for this the formula will be:

=MAX(IF(A2:A367="Jan",D2:D367))

And, you need to enter it as an array formula by using ctrl + shift + enter.

{=MAX(IF(A2:A367="Jan",D2:D367))}

When you enter it, it will return 200 which is the highest sales value in the month of Jan on 07-Jan-2016.

To understand the working of max if you need to split it into three parts. And, please take a note that you have entered it as an array formula.

First of all, you have created a logical test in IF function to match entire month column with the criteria.

And, it has returned an array where match values are TRUE and all others are FALSE.

Second, in IF function, you have specified sales quantity column for the TRUE values and that's why it has return sales quantity only for the TRUE.

Third, MAX function will simply return the highest number from this array which is the highest sales quantity for the month of Jan.

Check this out ==> SUMIF OR

I am sure at this point you are thinking that how we can use more than one condition in max if.

And that’s a smart thought.

In the real world of data, there is a huge possibility that we need to use multiple criteria in to get a highest value.

Let’s continue with the previous example.

Let's say, instead of highest sales value from the month of Jan, you need to get the highest sales for the week-2 of Jan.

So, here you have two different conditions, month is Jan and week is 2nd.

And, the formula will be:

=MAX(IF(A2:A367=F5,IF(B2:B367=G5,D2:D367),))

And, when you enter it as an array:

{=MAX(IF(A2:A367=F5,IF(B2:B367=G5,D2:D367),))}

Here we have used nested IF to test more than one logic. One is for the month and the second is for the week.

So, it returns an array where you have sales quantity only where the month is Jan and week is 2nd.

And, in the end, max returns the max value from that array.

Arrays are powerful but not everyone wants to use it. And, you have an option to not to use an array in max if.

So, for this, you can use SUMPRODUCT function because it can help you to use an array without applying actual an array formula.

And the formula will be:

=SUMPRODUCT(MAX((A2:A367="Jan")*D2:D367))

So, when you insert this formula you don’t need to use ctrl + shift + enter.

Again we need to split this formula into three different parts to understand it.

In the first part, you have compared month column with the criteria and it has returned an array with TRUE where criteria matched, else FALSE.

After that, you have multiplied that array with the sales quantity column which returns an array where you have sales quantity instead of TRUE.

In the end, MAX function has returned the highest value from that array which is your highest sales quantity.

This entire formula, sumproduct has the major role to allow you to use an array without enter an actual array formula.

Getting the max value based on criteria is what we often need to do. And, using this technique of max if formula you can do it with no efforts.

All the methods which you have learned above have different application according to the situation.

I hope this formula tip will help you to get better at Excel.

Now tell me one thing. Which one do you really like, an array or without an array? Please share within the comment section. I would love to hear from you.

And, please don’t forget to share this tips with your friends.