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How to Write a MIN Function in Excel

Jason Morrell

by Jason Morrell 
March 13, 2023

The MIN function in Excel extracts the smallest value from 2 or more cells or cell ranges. In this post, you'll discover 2 ways to create a MIN formula with examples that you can dissect.

1.  Example 1: How to write a basic MIN function in Excel

Consider this simple data:

Excel base data

To extract the smallest value from this range, regardless of the order in which they may, or may not, be sorted, using a MIN function:

1.  Type =MIN(

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.

A basic MIN function in Excel

This calculates the minimum, 10.

The result of the MIN function in Excel

2. Anatomy of a MIN function

  • Every formula starts with '='. 
  • MIN tells Excel what to do with the data, i.e. find the smallest number.
  • The cells or cell ranges inside the brackets tell Excel what to check.

Here are some examples:

=MIN(A1:A5, C1:C5)

3. Example 2: How to generate a MIN 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 to find the lowest figure, or select the blank cell that will contain the result.

2.  Click the AutoSUM button then choose MIN.

Choosing MIN from the AutoSUM button

3.  Excel writes the MIN function for you. Press Enter to lock it in.

4. Example 3: How to find the smallest number in summed data

If you already have data that has been summed, you can analyse this data to find the minimum value. 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 lowest quarterly figure, the MIN function refers to the cell ranges D2:D6 and H2:H6.

MIN function example 3

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.

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About Jason Morrell

About the author

Jason Morrell

Jason Morrell is a professional trainer, consultant and course creator who lives on the glorious Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia.

He helps people of all levels unleash and leverage the power contained within Microsoft Office by delivering training, troubleshooting services and taking on client projects. He loves to simplify tricky concepts and provide helpful, proven, actionable advice that can be implemented for quick results.

Purely for amusement he sometimes talks about himself in the third person.


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