You’ve probably come across the MIN and MAX functions which give you the lowest and highest values, respectively, in a range of cells. This is fine as long as all you need to know is the lowest or highest figure, but what if you want to know who or what got the lowest/highest figure?
Let’s take a simple example;
So we have a list of people and the amounts they have spent. With a quick scan of the data you can see that Mrs Delores Turner had the lowest spend, and Mr Louie Moreno had the highest. This is easy because there is only a very small amount of data, but if there were hundreds or even thousands of lines it would not be so obvious.
By using the MIN and MAX functions I can quickly find the lowest and highest values using MIN(B2:B11) or MAX(B2:B11), but it doesn’t tell me “who” spent these values.
So how can you get around this?
This is where INDEX and MATCH come in. If you are unfamiliar with these two functions, check my blog https://excelmate.wordpress.com/2014/12/04/excel-using-index-match-part-1 which will show you how they work. For the rest of this blog I will assume you have either read the blog or are already familiar with INDEX and MATCH.
To get the name of the person with the lowest/highest spend I need the following formula;
The MATCH part of the formula find finds the lowest value in cells B2:B11. It then uses this number and finds its position within the range. In this example the MATCH function will return the value 4 i.e. it is the 4th value in the selected column of data. The index function then looks within range A2:A11 and looks in the 4th row – the value returned by MATCH. You don’t need to reference the column because there is only one column selected in the array portion of the INDEX function.
The find the person with the highest spend, the formula would be;
So as you can see INDEX and MATCH, although pretty useless on their own as we saw in the earlier blog, when combined they are a useful duet of functions to know and should be part of your “must know” functions in Excel.