Excel Tip: Multiple criteria SUM, MIN, and MAX formulas

By David H. Ringstrom, CPA
 
Most Excel users are familiar with the SUM, MIN, and MAX functions in Excel. Used in their traditional fashion, you provide a range of cells to the function to derive a result:
 
  • =SUM(C2:C6) would add up all values in cells C2 through C6
  • =MIN(C2:C6) would return the smallest value within cells C2 through C6
  • =MAX(C2:C6) would return the largest value within cells C2 through C6
 
As shown in Figure 1, these formulas return 225,000, 29,000, and 70,000, respectively.
 
Figure 1: Sample payroll information that we wish to analyze
 
However, in certain cases you may wish to use this functions based on multiple criteria. It’s a simple process to do so, but one that requires a special keystroke after you type the formula. Typically you simply press Enter once you type a formula in a cell. However, in the case of the multiple criteria formulas I’m about to share, you’ll press Ctrl-Shift-Enter after you type the formula. Excel will accept the formula if you slip and just press the Enter key, but the formula may not return the desired result. In such cases, simply press F2 to edit the formula, and then press Ctrl-Shift-Enter.
 
Now, let’s say that we want to get the sum of just the jobs in the Operations department with a job code of 100. To do so, put the word Operations in cell F2, and the number 100 in cell E3. Next, enter the following formula in cell F3, and then press Ctrl-Shift-Enter:
 
=SUM(IF(($A$2:$A$6=F$2)*($B$2:$B$6=$E3),$C$2:$C$6))
 
You’ll notice that there’s an IF statement within the SUM. This allows us to specify multiple criteria, which we separate with an asterisk. Thus, ($A$2:$A$6=$F$2) identifies the cells in column A that contain the word Operations. The second criteria ($B$2:$B$6=$E3) identifies the cells in column B that contain the value 100. When both of these criteria are met, Excel creates an array of the corresponding values from cells $C$2:$C$6. Since the IF statement is contained within a SUM function, Excel adds up the values that meet both criteria. Although I only specified two criteria here, you can feel free to enter more criteria as needed.
 
You’ll notice that when you press Ctrl-Shift-Enter the formula bar displays curly brackets around the formula:
 
={SUM(IF(($A$2:$A$6=F$2)*($B$2:$B$6=$E3),$C$2:$C$6))}
 
The curly brackets indicate an array formula – these are special types of formulas in Excel that can carry out sophisticated techniques such as summing a range based on multiple criteria. Don’t type the curly brackets yourself – Excel adds them automatically when you press Ctrl-Shift-Enter.
 
To better understand how array formulas work, let’s step through the components. 

You may like these other stories...

K2 Enterprises has announced its 2014 technology awards in 27 categories. The only clear message may have been that there was no clear message in a field marked by many good ideas, but no unanimous winners.The company, which...
We're all about QuickBooks this morning. First, read this late-breaking news from John Stokdyk, editor of AccountingWEB (U.K.), who is attending the QuickBooks Connect conference in San Jose, California. Then, for more...
Technology—specifically internet technology—has a record of disrupting tried-and-true methods of operation in ways that we often don't foresee. Look no further than the recent HBO announcement that they *gasp...

Already a member? log in here.

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Oct 30Many Excel users have a love-hate relationship with workbook links.
Nov 5Join CPA thought leader and peer reviewer Rob Cameron and learn ways to improve the outcome of your peer reviews while maximizing the value of your engagement workflow.
Nov 12This webcast presents basic principles of revenue recognition, including new ASU 2014-09 for the contract method. Also, CPAs in industries who want a refresher on revenue accounting standards will benefit.
Nov 18In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA tackles what to do when bad things happen to good spreadsheets.