# FILTER on first or last n values

To FILTER and extract the *first* or *last* **n** values, you can use the FILTER function together with INDEX and SEQUENCE. In the example shown, the formula in D5 is:

where **data** is the named range B5:B15 and **n** is 3.

In this example, the goal is to extract the first 3 values or the last 3 values from the named range **data** (B5:B15). We also want to exclude any empty cells from our results. In the worksheet shown the formula in cell D5 is:

Working from the inside out, we use the SEQUENCE function to construct a row number value for INDEX like this:

SEQUENCE(3,1,1,1)

We are asking SEQUENCE for an array of 3 rows x 1 column, starting at 1, with a step value of 1. The result is an array like this:

{1;2;3}

which is returned directly to the INDEX function as the *row_num* argument:

To construct the array for INDEX, we use the FILTER function to retrieve a list of non-blank entries from the named range **data** (B5:B15) like this:

FILTER(data,data<>"")

The *array* argument is data, and the *include* argument is the expression data<>"". This can be translated literally as "return values from the named range **data** where values in **data** are not empty". The result is an array with 9 values like this:

{"Atlanta";"Chicago";"Dallas";"Denver";"Los Angeles";"Miami";"New York";"Seattle";"Minneapolis"}

Notice values associated with the two empty cells have been removed. This array is returned to the INDEX function as its *array* argument.

Finally, INDEX returns the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd values from the array returned by FILTER:

{"Atlanta";"Chicago";"Dallas"}

### Last n values

To get the last n values with FILTER, you use the same formula structure, with the inputs to SEQUENCE modified to construct a "last n" array of row numbers. For example, to get the last 3 non-blank values in the example shown, you can use a formula like this:

The main trick here is counting the non-blank entries in the named range **data** like this:

SUM(--(data<>""))

We use a double-negative to force the TRUE FALSE values to 1s and 0s, then use the SUM function to get the count. The result is returned as the *start* argument inside SEQUENCE. We supply -1 for *step* to step backwards from *start*.

We also wrap the SORT function around SEQUENCE so the array returned is {7;8;9} and not {9;8;7}. This ensures that values are returned in the same order they appear in the source data.

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