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

Get your clients ready for tax season

These year-end tax planning strategies address recent tax law changes enacted to help taxpayers deal with the pandemic, such as tax credits for sick leave and family leave and new rules for retirement plan distributions, as well as techniques for putting your clients in the best possible tax position.

RESOURCES

Keeping you informed and prepared amid the coronavirus crisis

We’re gathering the latest news stories along with relevant columns, tips, podcasts, and videos on this page, along with curated items from our archives to help with uncertainty and disruption.