Use the MIN Function

The MIN function finds the lowest number. It can include up to 255 argumentsArguments are the values you provide a function with so that it can perform a calculation. Functions start with a name and are followed by parentheses. Arguments are enclosed within the parentheses and are separated by commas.. Each argument can be a number, a name, an array, a formula, a logical value, a function, a referenceA reference is a cell address, a range, a cell name, a range name, or a named constant., or a text representation of a number.


MIN(argument1, argument2, ...)

The first argument is required; all other arguments are optional. In the following formula: =MIN(3,5,2), Excel evaluates the numbers 3, 5, and 2 and returns the lowest number, 2. In Excel, dates are stored as numbers. So, you can use the MIN function to find the earliest date.

When using the MIN function, how Excel treats a data type may depend on whether the data type is located in a cell, is located in an array, or is an argument. TRUE and FALSE are logical values. In a cell, Excel considers a number preceded by an apostrophe text. In a formula and in a function, Excel considers a number enclosed in double quotes text.

If a cell contains a logical value, text, or an error value Excel ignores the cell. If an array contains a logical value, text, or an error value, Excel ignores the logical value, text, or error value.If an argument is a logical value or text, Excel includes it in the calculation. TRUE becomes 1, FALSE becomes 0, and text causes an error if Excel cannot convert the text to a number. For example, = MIN(TRUE, FALSE) returns 0, =MIN("Two", "1") returns the error #VALUE!, and =MIN("2","1") returns 1.

In the following worksheet, all of the cells that have orange text contain a calculation. All of the calculations use the MIN function. Feel free to modify them and to create your own functions.

The Advanced Examples Tab Explained

Example 1

Excel evaluates each of the arguments: 6, 7, 9, 3, and 2, then returns the lowest number, 2.

Example 2

Excel evaluates each of the numbers in cells A1:A5: 6, 7, 9 ,3, and 2; then returns the lowest number, 2.

Example 3

Excel evaluates each of the arguments: 3, FALSE, 8, "1", and 2. FALSE is a logical value. Excel converts it to 0. When a logical value is given as an argument, Excel includes it in its evaluation. So, Excel returns 0. It also includes text that can be converted to a number. The number "1" is in double quotation marks, so it is considered text, but Excel can convert it to 1. If you exclude FALSE from the formula, Excel will return 1.

Example 4

Excel evaluates each of the values in cells B1:B5: 3, FALSE, 8, '1, and 2. When a logical value is in a cell, Excel ignores it. It also ignores text that can be converted to a number. So, even though FALSE and '1 are lower than 2, Excel returns 2.

Example 5

This example includes an array. Excel multiplies 2 times 5, gets 10; 3 times 5, gets 15; and 4 times 5, gets 20. It then returns the lowest value, which is 10.


You can also use AutoSum to access the MIN function. Click the down-arrow associated with the AutoSum button on the Home tab. Then click Min. When you access the MIN function through AutoSum, Excel provides you with extra features that enable you to calculate the lowest number quickly. For example, you can quickly calculate the lowest number in each column or each row in a set of columns or rows. AutoSum MIN has the same features as AutoSum SUM.  Click here to find out more about AutoSum.

Leave a Comment

HTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>