Recently I lamented that Excel has functions like SUMIF, COUNTIF, and AVERAGEIF, but that it didn’t have the equivalent of a MAXIF function. I then described a valid technique that involves using an array function that can perform like a MAXIF function would. In doing so, I overlooked a built-in worksheet function that also works like MAXIF, and so that probably explains why Excel doesn’t have such a function.
This was brought to my attention by reader Rob Brebbia, who read the first paragraph or so of my MAXIF article and took it as a challenge to see if he could figure out the solution on his own. In doing so, he uncovered a function that has become lost in my Excel memory—and his as well. Based on his successful research exercise, Rob suggested we pay homage to NPR’s Car Talk show and have a periodic Excel puzzler.
Rob’s timing is excellent, as we’ve recently unveiled the AccountingWEB forums—an area where you can ask a question about pretty much anything about accounting or Excel. Although this feature is just getting off the ground, you should be able to count on a response from either the AccountingWEB staff (that’s me if you ask an Excel question), or other readers as well. To wit, I’ve started a thread on performing MAXIF without an array function. We’ll hold all comments in moderation for a week, so that everyone has a fair shot at the puzzler, and then I’ll reveal Rob’s clever alternative to my suggestion. Do keep in mind that you must log into the AccountingWEB site to post a response to this puzzler, or ask a question of your own. Registration is simple and free!
David H. Ringstrom, CPA, is an author and nationally recognized instructor who teaches scores of webinars each year. His Excel courses are based on over 25 years of consulting and teaching experience. His mantra is “Either you work Excel, or it works you.” David offers spreadsheet and database consulting services nationwide.