To calculate the max or min change in a set of data as shown, without using a helper column, you can use an array formula. In the example, the formula in G6 is:


Note: this is an array formula and must be entered with control + shift + enter in Excel 2019 and earlier. In Excel 2021 or later, array formulas just work.

Generic formula



The example on this page shows a simple array formula. Working from the inside out, the expression:


Results in an array containing seven values:


Each number in the array is the result of subtracting the "low" from the "high" in each of the seven rows of data. This array is returned to the MAX function:


And MAX returns the maximum value in the array, which is 32.

MIN change

To return the minimum change in the data, you can substitute the MIN function for the MAX function:


As before, this is an array formula and must be entered with control + shift + enter.

More on array formulas

To understand array formulas, you must learn to investigate the results of various operations inside a formula as it is being evaluated by Excel. In particular, you need to know how to use the F9 key to debug a formula and how to use the Evaluate Feature in Excel. See the video links below for a quick demo.

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Dave Bruns

Hi - I'm Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.