Quick, clean, and to the point

Force negative numbers to zero

Excel formula: Force negative numbers to zero
Generic formula 

To force negative numbers to zero without affecting positive numbers, you can use a formula based on the MAX function.

In the example shown, the formula in D5 is:


How this formula works

This formula takes advantage of the fact that the MAX function works fine with small sets of data — even two values.

Inside MAX, the value in B5 is subtracted from the value in C5. If the result is positive, MAX will return the result as-is, since positive numbers are always greater than zero.

If the result if negative, MAX will return zero.

Replacement for IF

This formula is a clever way to avoid a more complicated IF formula. You can use the MIN and MAX functions to replace IF when you want to return the smaller or greater of two values.

Dave Bruns

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