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Excel MAX Function

Excel MAX Function Tutorial


Using the MAX Function in Excel

Using the MAX Function in Excel

© Ted French

MAX Function Overview

The MAX function can be used to find the largest or maximum number in a given list of values.

The MAX function can also be combined with other functions, such as the IF function, to create a conditional MAX-IF formula that find's the largest value for only those numbers in a list that meet conditions that you specify.

MAX Function Syntax and Arguments

A function's syntax refers to the layout of the function and includes the function's name, brackets, comma separators, and arguments.

The syntax for the MAX function is:

=MAX( Number1, Number2, ... Number255 )

Number1 - (required)

Number2 : Number255 - (optional)

The arguments are the numbers for which you want to find the largest value - up to a maximum of 255.

Arguments can be numbers, named ranges, arrays, or cell references to the location of the data in a worksheet.

Example: Finding the Largest Value with the MAX Function

As shown in the image above, a range of cell references will be included in the number argument for the function. One advantage of using cell references or a named range is that if the data in the range changes, the results of the function will automatically update without having to edit the function itself.

The formula created in the steps below is:


The options for entering the formula include:

  • typing the above formula directly into cell C7 and pressing the Enter key on the keyboard
  • entering the arguments using the MAX function's dialog box

Most functions in Excel have a dialog box, which allows you to enter each of the function's arguments on a separate line without having to worry about syntax.

The steps below use the dialog box to enter the formula.

  1. Enter the following data into cells C1 to C6: 114, 165, 178, 143, 130, 167

  2. Click on cell C7 - the location where the results of the formula will be displayed

  3. Click on the Formulas tab

  4. Choose More Functions > Statistical from the ribbon to open the function drop down list

  5. Click on MAX in the list to bring up the function's dialog box

  6. Highlight cells C1 to C6 in the worksheet to enter the range into the dialog box

  7. Click OK to complete the function and close the dialog box

  8. The answer 178 should appear in cell C7 as it is the largest number in the selected range

  9. When you click on cell C7, the complete function = MAX (C1 : C6) appears in the formula bar above the worksheet

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