The MAX function in Excel extracts the largest value from 2 or more cells or cell ranges. In this post, you'll discover 2 ways to create a MAX formula with examples that you can dissect.
1. Example 1: How to write a basic MAX function in Excel
Consider this simple data:
To extract the largest value from this range, regardless of the order in which they may, or may not, be sorted, using a MAX function:
1. Type =MAX(
2. Select cells A1:A5 with the mouse (you can type the cell range but then you may get human error)
3. Type the closing bracket and press Enter.
This calculates the max, 30.
2. Anatomy of a MAX function
- Every formula starts with '='.
- MAX tells Excel what to do with the data, i.e. find the maximum number.
- The cells or cell ranges inside the brackets tell Excel what to check.
Here are some examples:
3. Example 2: How to generate a MAX using AutoSum
The AutoSUM button is the beginner's best friend. You'll find it on the Home ribbon.
1. Select the range of cells you wish to check for the highest value, or select the blank cell that will contain the result.
2. Click the AutoSUM button then choose MAX.
3. Excel writes the MAX function for you. Press Enter to lock it in.
4. Example 3: How to find the biggest number in summed data
If you already have data that has been summed, you can analyse this data to find the maximum. In the example below, every 3 months the quarterly column shows the 3-monthly totals. Columns D and H contain SUM functions for each row.
To find the highest quarterly figure, the MAX function refers to the cell ranges D2:D6 and H2:H6.
5. What next?
I hope you found plenty of value in this post. I'd love to hear your biggest takeaway in the comments below together with any questions you may have.
Have a fantastic day.