Use Excel’s MIN function shortcut to find the smallest values

The main use of the MIN function in Excel is to find the smallest value in a set, but it can also be used to find other values. Conveniently, there’s also a shortcut to run the MIN function, which you can read more about below.

Applies to Microsoft Excel 2013 and 2016.

  1. Find the smallest number, smallest time, smallest distance or earliest date
  2. Syntax and arguments of the MIN function
  3. Example function MIN
  4. Entering the MIN function
  5. Combination of MIN functions

Find the smallest number, smallest time, smallest distance or earliest date

The MIN function always finds the smallest or smallest number in a list of values, but depending on the data and how the data is formatted, it can also be used to search:

  • fastest time;

  • the shortest distance;

  • the lowest speed;

  • the earliest date;

  • lowest temperature;

  • the least money.

And while it is often easy to pick the largest value from a small sample of integers, the task becomes much more difficult for large amounts of data, or if the data turns out to be:

  • negative numbers;

  • time is measured in hundredths of a second;

  • exchange rates calculated to the nearest ten-thousandth of a cent;

  • numbers are formatted as fractions.

Examples of such numbers are shown in the image above, and while the MIN function itself does not change, its versatility in working with numbers in different formats is apparent, and this is one of the reasons this function is so useful.

Syntax and arguments of the MIN function

Function syntax refers to the layout of the function and includes the function name, parentheses, comma separators, and arguments.

Syntax for the MIN function:

= MIN(number1, number2, … number255)

  • Number 1 necessary.
  • Number 2 Number255 are not mandatory.

The arguments contain numbers to find the largest value, up to a maximum of 255.

Arguments can be:

  • numbers;

  • named ranges;

  • series;

  • cell references for organizing data on a sheet;

  • Boolean values ​​are entered directly into the argument list.

Remark † If the arguments do not contain numbers, the function returns null. If the array, named range, or cell reference used in the argument contains empty cells, booleans, or text data, those cells are ignored by the function, as shown in the example on line 7 in the image above.

In this line, the number 10 in cell C7 is formatted as text (note the green triangle in the top-left corner of the cell, which indicates that the number is stored as text).

As a result, along with the boolean value (TRUE) in cell A7 and the empty cell B7, it is ignored by the function.

As a result, the function in cell E7 returns zero for the answer because the range from A7 to C7 contains no numbers.

Example function MIN

The information below covers the steps used to enter the MIN function in cell E2 in the image above. As shown, the range of cell references is included as the number argument for the function.

One of the benefits of using cell references or a named range is that if the data in the range changes, the function’s results are automatically updated without having to edit the formula itself.

Entering the MIN function

Formula input options include:

  • enter a formula containing a function =MIN(A2:C2) go directly to cell E2 and press the key Enter on keyboard;

  • enter arguments using the dialog MIN function;

  • Using the MIN function shortcut on the Home tab of the Ribbon.

Combination of MIN functions

This shortcut for using the MIN function in Excel is one of many popular Excel functions whose shortcuts are grouped under the icon AutoSum on the Home tab of the ribbon.

To use this hotkey to access the MIN function:

  1. Click on cell E2 to make it active.

  2. If necessary, go to the tab At home on the tape.

  3. At the far right of the ribbon, click the down arrow next to the button Σ Autosum to open the drop-down list of functions.

  4. Click MIN in the list to enter the MIN function in cell E2.

  5. Select cells A2 through C2 on the worksheet to enter this range as a function argument.

  6. Press key Enter on the keyboard to complete the function.

  7. Reply -6,587,449 appears in cell E2 because it is the smallest negative number in that row. Negative numbers get smaller the further they are from zero.

  8. If you click on cell E2, the full function =MIN(A2:C2) appears in the formula bar above the worksheet.

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