Explanation of the MAX function

The MAX function will return the highest (maximum) number from a range of values that you provide as inputs. The image below shows the arguments that the function is asking for:

  1. At least 1 numeric input (required)
  2. Up to a total of 255 numeric inputs (optional)

Note (values ignored): logical values (TRUE or FALSE), text values, errors and empty cells are all ignored in the calculation. More specifically, you will get an error if the MAX function is unable to convert any of your input values to a number.

The safest option is to pass the function only a range of numbers.

MAX function syntax

There are a few different ways you can input values:

  • Single Cell (would just return the same number)
  • Multiple cells selected individually
  • One range of cells
  • Multiple ranges of cells
  • Number values typed directly into the function
  • Named ranges
  • A combination of the above (separated by commas within the function)

In the image below I have manually named range B6:B7 as ‘max_range’. The last formula is calculating the MAX of ‘max_range’ which is the same as returning the maximum value within B6:B7.

MAX Function in Excel_2

Quick Maximum on the Status Bar

Note:¬†If you want to display the result of the MAX function on the Status Bar, you need to manually add the ‘Maximum’ option:

  • Right click on the Status Bar in your Microsoft Excel session
  • Click on ‘Maximum’

add MAX function to Excel status bar

Once you’ve added the ‘Maximum’ feature to your Status Bar, Microsoft Excel will automatically display the MAX value for any range of cells that you highlight. This is a great feature if you quickly need to determine the maximum of a range of values and don’t need to perform any mathematical calculation with it or store the value on your spreadsheet.

In the example below, the status bar is displaying a value of 13:

  • Click into cell B3 and keep the left-mouse button clicked in
  • Drag the mouse cursor down to cell B10
  • Let go of the left mouse button
  • The value will appear in the status bar (as shown in the image below)

MAX function on the status bar in Excel


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