Quick, clean, and to the point

Larger of two values

Excel formula: Larger of two values
Generic formula 

To get the larger, or greater, of two values, you can use the MAX function. In the example shown, the formula in D5 is:


The MAX function is fully automatic – it returns the largest value in the numbers provided. In this case, we give MAX function two values:


and MAX returns the larger value.

Elegant alternative to IF

The MAX function can be a compact and elegant replacement for the IF function. For example, the formula above can be written with IF like so:


However, the MAX version is 6 characters shorter (11 vs. 17), and contains no redundant references, so it is less prone to errors.

Dave Bruns

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