Locate The Largest (and The Smallest) Number

BY STANLEY ZAROWIN

Q. I frequently have to select the top three sales receipts for an area and then add them up. All the sales figures are on a spreadsheet and I’ve been sorting the numbers to get the top three and then adding them. I suspect there is an easier way. Any clues?

A. You can speed the process by using Excel’s LARGE function. By the way, there is also a SMALL function, which I’ll tell you about, too.

Say you have the numbers in cells C2 through C15. All you need to do is use the following formula in a separate cell:

=LARGE(C2:C15,1)+LARGE(C2:C15,2)+LARGE(C2:C15,3)

If you want to include the four largest, just substitute 4 for 3 at the end of the formula:

+LARGE(C2:C15,4)

To add up the three smallest numbers, the formula becomes:

=SMALL(C2:C15,1)+SMALL(C2:C15,2)+SMALL(C2:C15,3)

Shortcuts

Excel: AutoSum from the keyboard: Select a blank cell to the right of or below your values and press Ctrl+= (that’s Ctrl and the equal sign)

Word: A fast way to cycle through all open documents: Press Ctrl+F6.

Word: An easy way to remove any formatting that’s been added to a group of characters: Select the text from which you want the formatting removed and press Ctrl+Space Bar.

Internet Explorer: If, while browsing, you would like to click on a link but save your place, hold the Shift key while clicking; it will open a new window to display the second site.

SPONSORED REPORT

A new line of business to consider

Technology assessments may open the door to new engagement opportunities for your firm. What is a technology assessment? How do you perform one? JofA Tech Q&A author J. Carlton Collins shows you in a detailed explanation.

FEATURE

Maximizing the higher education tax credits

A counterintuitive strategy can save taxes by including otherwise excludable scholarships in gross income.