Quick, clean, and to the point

Highlight 3 smallest values with criteria

Excel formula:  Highlight 3 smallest values with criteria
Generic formula 

To highlight the 3 smallest values that meet specific criteria, you can use an array formula based on the AND and SMALL functions. In the example shown, the formula used for conditional formatting is:


Where "color" is the named range B5:B12 and "amount" is the named range C5:C12.


Inside the AND function there are two logical criteria. The first is straightforward, and ensures that only cells that match the color in E5 are highlighted:


The second test is more complex:


Here, we filter amounts to make sure that only values associated with the color in E5 (blue) are retained. The filtering is done with the IF function like this:


The resulting array looks like this:


Notice the value from the amount column only survives if the color is "blue". Other amounts are now FALSE.

Next, this array goes into the SMALL function with a k value of 3, and SMALL returns the "3rd smallest" value, 300. The logic for the second logical test reduces to:


When both logical conditions are return TRUE, the conditional formatting is triggered and cells are highlighted.

Note: this is an array formula, but does not require control + shift + enter.

Dave Bruns

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