How to Use Max Function in Excel: A Comprehensive Guide

August 3, 2023 359 views

Handling large datasets can be challenging, especially when performing functions manually, which can in turn lead to errors. However, with Excel, you have the power to automate and streamline the process, making it much more efficient. In this guide, we will explore the MAX function in Excel, its various applications, and when it's most beneficial to use. You'll discover how this function can simplify working with data and enhance your data analysis capabilities.

Use Max Function in Excel

Finding the largest number from a large dataset can be challenging and prone to errors when done manually. Scrolling through a set of numbers to identify the maximum value may eventually lead to inaccuracies. However, with the MAX function in Excel, you can confidently obtain the correct result without any room for error. It ensures 100% accuracy, even with extensive data, and all it takes is a couple of clicks to get the right answer effortlessly.

How to Use Max Function in Excel

To learn how to use the MAX Function in Excel, it is important to first understand its syntax and arguments. Let’s take a look at the syntax of MAX Function Excel:

Syntax: MAX(number1, [number2], ...)


number1: This argument is necessary. Users can select a range of cells for this argument. Excel will return the highest value in this range as a result.

[number2]: This argument is optional. Users can either select a cell for reference or include up to 255 additional numeric values or cell references, separated by commas, to find the maximum among a series of numbers.

You know…

  1. The MAX function accepts various types of arguments, including numeric values, named ranges, arrays, or references to cells containing numbers.

  2. The MAX function in Excel ignores empty cells, logical values, or text

  3. The MAX Function in Excel will return a 0 if there are no values in the arguments.

  4. If any argument contains error values or text that cannot be interpreted as numbers, the function results in an error.

  5. If you need to include logical values and text representations of numbers in a reference for calculation, use the MAXA function instead of MAX.

Ways to use MAX function

There are several ways to utilize the MAX Function Excel formula. Let’s take a look at a few MAX Function Excel examples.

Example 1-Finding the maximum value in a group

In this example, we will see how teachers can find out the highest scorer in the class by using the MAX Function in Excel.

Step 1: Launch Excel on your system and open the Scoresheet

Step 2: Enter the MAX function Excel Formula in the desired cell. In our example, we will be entering the formula in cell B12. Remember, while typing a formula, it is important to start with “=”.

Step 3: Select the range of cells for which you need the MAX Value. We will be using the range “B2:B11” in our example. Press “Enter”

Step 4: The MAX value will be displayed in cell B12.

MAX Function shortcut

Users can also access MAX Function Excel shortcuts simply by visiting the Home tab in the ribbon menu and clicking on AutoSum located at the top right. This will allow users quick access to a few Excel formulas including the MAX Function.

Example 2- Find the highest value in non-adjacent cells or ranges

Let’s consider the sales report of Xfactor for this example. Xfactor has its operations in the USA and Saudi Arabia currently. Let’s try and find out which month had the highest sales in both regions.

Step 1: In an empty cell, enter MAX Function Excel Formula to find the highest sales.

Step 2: Select the Saudi Total Row for the first argument; number1.

Step 3: Hold the CTRL key on your keyboard and select the USA Total sales as 2nd argument; number2. Press “Enter”

Step 4: The highest sales “$3459” in Saudi during February will be displayed.

Example 3- How to obtain the most recent date in Excel using MAX Function

Users can also find out the most recent dates in Excel using the MAX Function, let’s try finding the last sale conducted by Xfactor in January.

Step 1: In an empty cell, enter the MAX Function formula.

Step 2: Select the range of cells that contain dates.

Step 3: The most recent date will be displayed using the MAX Function Excel, i.e. 1/25/2023.

How to Fix Excel Max Function Not working

If the MAX function is not providing the expected results, several potential reasons should be considered:

  1. Text values are not taken into account by the MAX function; only numeric values are.

  2. Incorrect references in the MAX function can lead to incorrect results or errors

  3. It is important to enter the syntax of the MAX Function correctly and also make use of the parentheses

  4. When using the MAX function with other functions or arrays, double-check that these functions or arrays are entered correctly.

Mistake 1:

Including text values in the MAX Function: Max function ignores text values while calculating the maximum value. The function works best only for numeric values and ends up giving an error for text values.

Mistake 2:

Using incorrect cell references or ranges: Quite often users mistakenly use the wrong cell notation for their cell references. For eg. A1-A10 instead of A1:A10. It is important to use the correct cell notation while using not only the MAX Function but all the Excel functions to avoid errors.

Key points to keep in mind about the MAX Function:

  • #VALUE! error: This occurs if any non-numeric values are provided directly to the MAX function.

  • MAX vs. MAXA: The main difference is that MAXA evaluates TRUE as 1 and FALSE as 0. To include logical values, use the MAXA function instead.

Best Free Alternative to Microsoft Office - WPS Office

Excel is undoubtedly a popular choice for professionals due to its advanced functionalities. However, it's essential to know that there are other tools available for efficient data analysis. One such tool is WPS Spreadsheet, offered by WPS Office, which is comparable to Excel but stands out for its exceptional user-friendliness, making it easier to grasp and use effectively.

While we've discussed the MAX function in Excel, WPS Spreadsheet can do just that, but with added intuitive features. This means you can accomplish tasks more effortlessly and swiftly, allowing you to focus on getting the best results from your data analysis endeavors.



WPS Office- Free All-in-One Office Suite
  • Use Word, Excel, and PPT for FREE, No Ads.

  • Edit PDF files with the powerful PDF toolkit.

  • Microsoft-like interface. Easy to learn. 100% Compatibility.

  • Boost your productivity with WPS's abundant free Word, Excel, PPT, and CV templates.

5,820,008 User


Algirdas Jasaitis


Q1. How do you use the MIN function in Excel?

The MIN function in Excel is a built-in function that finds the lowest value in a range. You can use the MIN function in Excel by using following the simple step-by-step guide:

  • Choose the cell where you wish the MIN value to be displayed.

  • Fill up the cell with "=MIN."

  • Click the MIN command twice.

  • Choose the range of cells you want to evaluate for the minimal value.

  • Press the Enter key.

Utilize the MIN function to efficiently identify minimum values in Excel spreadsheets,

handling data scenarios accurately.

Q2. Why is my MAX function in Excel not working properly, and how can I resolve it?

The MAX function may not perform properly if the range contains non-numeric numbers or errors. To remedy it, ensure the data in the range only consists of numeric values, or use other methods such as MAXA to handle mixed data or AGGREGATE to disregard mistakes.

Q3. Is WPS Office compatible with Microsoft Office, and can it use Excel features such as MAX efficiently?

Yes, it does. WPS Office's compatibility with Microsoft Office is commendable. It effortlessly supports Excel features like the MAX function, allowing users to work with their existing Excel spreadsheets and calculations more effectively. Users can rely on WPS Office's seamless integration and performance, making it a reliable solution for Excel-related tasks, data analysis, and other spreadsheet processes.

Q4. Is WPS Office clear in its instructions for utilizing Excel features and its remedies for common problems?

Yes, WPS Office is known for its user-friendly approach to Excel features. WPS Office's manuals and user support resources provide clear instructions on utilizing Excel functions, including the MAX function. It offers clear, step-by-step guidance, addressing common complications and presenting feasible solutions.

MAX Function in Excel for Efficient Data Analysis

Finding the highest number by manually jotting down the numbers is one approach, but it's neither smart nor efficient. A better way is to use Excel, where you can create your data and easily apply a formula to find the maximum number. Our guide demonstrates how to do this effectively in Excel. But, WPS Spreadsheet offers a similar approach with the added advantage of all productivity tools accessible in a single window, making your work even more efficient. Download WPS Office today and work smart.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.