Quick, clean, and to the point

Find lowest n values

Excel formula: Find lowest n values
Generic formula 

To find the n lowest values in a set of data, you can use the SMALL function. This can be combined with INDEX as shown below to retrieve associated values. In the example shown, the formula in F7 is:


Note: this worksheet has two named ranges: bid (C5:C12), and company (B5:B12), used for convenience and readability.


The small function can retrieve the smallest values from data based on rank. For example:

=SMALL(range,1) // smallest
=SMALL(range,2) // 2nd smallest
=SMALL(range,3) // 3rd smallest

In this case, the rank simply comes from column E.

Retrieve associated values

To retrieve the name of the company associated with smallest bids, we use INDEX and MATCH. The formula in G7 is:


Here, the value in column F is used as the lookup value inside MATCH, with the named range bid (C5:C12) for lookup_array, and match type set to zero to force exact match. MATCH then returns the location of the value to INDEX as a row number. INDEX then retrieves the corresponding value from the named range company (B5:B12).

The all-in-one formula to get company name in one step would look like this:


Note: if your values contain duplicates you may get ties when you try to rank. You can use a formula like this to break times.

Dave Bruns

Excel Formula Training

Formulas are the key to getting things done in Excel. In this accelerated training, you'll learn how to use formulas to manipulate text, work with dates and times, lookup values with VLOOKUP and INDEX & MATCH, count and sum with criteria, dynamically rank values, and create dynamic ranges. You'll also learn how to troubleshoot, trace errors, and fix problems. Instant access. See details here.

Download 100+ Important Excel Functions

Get over 100 Excel Functions you should know in one handy PDF.