vlookup then take Max result

I have seen this else where, but I am having difficultly translating it to my formula.  I need to modify my formula to first do a vlookup, then when it finds more than one matching cell in the row to figure out which has the maxium value and pick that cell to return in the vlookup match result.  

My real issue is not that I need a max result but to ignore matches where the corresponding data to return is either blank or zero.  But I figured integrating the Max function with vlookup was the best solution.

Here is my current vlookup formula that needs to be modified:

Who is Participating?
Patrick MatthewsCommented:
I don't think you need VBA for this; an array formula should work just fine.  For example:


Do not type those curly braces, and use Ctrl+Shift+Enter instead of just Enter to finish off the formula.  Excel will then display the braces to indicate that it is an array formula.
VLOOKUP will only find one match and it will be the first instance.

You'll need a VBA function to find the instance that (either first has data, or the last instance that has data):

Option Explicit

Function maxVLookup(lookup_value As Range, table_array As Range, col_index_num As Integer, Optional bFirstNonZeroBlank As Boolean = True) As Variant
Dim rFind As Range
Dim firstAddress As String
Dim foundValue As Variant
Dim lastCell As Range

    Set lastCell = table_array.Offset(table_array.Rows.Count - 1, table_array.Columns.Count - 2).Resize(1, 1)

    Set rFind = table_array.Find(what:=lookup_value.Value, after:=lastCell, LookIn:=xlValues, lookat:=xlWhole, searchorder:=xlByRows, searchdirection:=xlNext)
    If Not rFind Is Nothing Then
        firstAddress = rFind.Address
            foundValue = rFind.Offset(, col_index_num - 1).Value
            If foundValue <> vbNullString And foundValue <> 0 Then
                maxVLookup = foundValue
                If bFirstNonZeroBlank Then Exit Function
            End If
            Set rFind = table_array.Find(what:=lookup_value.Value, after:=rFind, LookIn:=xlValues, lookat:=xlWhole, searchorder:=xlByRows, searchdirection:=xlNext)
        Loop While Not rFind Is Nothing And rFind.Address <> firstAddress
        Exit Function
    End If
    maxVLookup = Evaluate("=NA()") 'if not found
End Function

Open in new window

=maxvlookup(lookup_value,table_array,col_index_num,optional first=true)
=maxvlookup($E4,$A$2:$B$10,2,FALSE) 'finds the last nonzero/nonblank match
=maxvlookup($E4,$A$2:$B$10,2,TRUE) 'finds the first nonzero/nonblank match

See example workbook attached.

PS - just change line 27 to:

maxVLookup = vbnullstring 'if not found

if you want a failed lookup to return blank.  That will save you on all the IF(ISERROR coding.

Cloud Class® Course: C++ 11 Fundamentals

This course will introduce you to C++ 11 and teach you about syntax fundamentals.

IO_DorkAuthor Commented:
Very Awesome!!  Simple, Clean, and Elegant solution.
IO_DorkAuthor Commented:
I will try the array formula as the VBA code (although nice) seems to take an extraordinarily long time to calculate (it took so long to calculate that I just end tasked Excel)...unless there is something going on with my PC right now.
IO_DorkAuthor Commented:
How do I get this to work when I have 8000 rows of data on both sheets....I have to hit shft+ctrl enter for each of the 8000 cells that I enter this formula into? if I try to do it like you normally would with an array - select all cells then hit f2 and type the formula then hit enter, all the 8000 cells with the formula result in zero...what am I missing here?
Patrick MatthewsCommented:
Please see the attached sample file.

I have defined a Name, Bank_SL_EQ, as A1:E30.  Your named range is obviously much larger.

In Q2:Q6, I have various index values I want to use for the "max lookup".

To get the formulas working, I did this:

1) In R2, I entered
and used Ctrl+Shift+Enter

2) I copied R2

3) I select R3:R6 and hit Enter to do the paste
I would think the array function Patrick's teed up would be faster, though if your spreadsheet is large, there may still be a "wait".  If so, one other way to speed it up is to revert to the VBA approach, using VBA to post results in the cells that you can update with a button or activate tab.  In that way, there would be no formulas, just values as a result of the calc.

FYI only - The VBA version provides 1st or last instance with nonzero/nonblank results, where the array function provides the max result from any instance.

Patrick - thanks for jumping in here - a great learning for me.  Is there a way to "twist" this to find instance?  e.g., find the 2nd instance or last instance of the match?

if you can change your range names to look at the first column, then the column in question, the INDEX function is not needed at all...

E.g., Bank_SL_EQ_Col1 is the first column and Bank_SL_EQ_Col5 is the column to lookup:


Ctrl+Shift+Enter to confirm

The INDEX function should be super fast, but this is the only thing I can think of that might make it faster...

IO_DorkAuthor Commented:
Thanks Patrick and Dave.

Patrick, I did what you said, just copy the first formula that I configure as an array formula and then paste it all the way down....works perfectly, Q2 changes in sequence...q3,q4,q5,q6, etc.  And it updated just as fast as a regular vlookup...plenty fast.

Although, I really should be evaluating the matches for nonzeros and nonblanks, i think this index formula should do for now...i don't expect to need to have a formula choose between lower or higher values on matches...i expect the data will either be nonblanks/nonzeros or blanks/zeros.  If i run into the former...then back to the drawingboard for me.

Dave, I like your VBA, looks like it will be good for use where I am only using it on a 1:N row lookup situation.

Thanks again all.
IO_Dork - Patrick's' formula gets the MAX from all the duplicate matches (if they are dupe's) so you'll always get the highest valued match.

Just change your data up and see what results you get - you don't have to wait on some point in the future to see if it will/won't work for you.


Patrick MatthewsCommented:

My formula will return a zero if in fact the max value for a given subset is zero, or if there are only blanks (or if there are no corresponding values).  To be honest, I did not really see the point of complicating the formula to test for zeroes or blanks, as the MAX function handles this implicitly.


You asked how one could return the xth, yth, or zth value.  Here is one way, although barryhoudini probably has a more elegant way.

2nd value:

3rd value:


Last value:

Note that those interior INDEX calls can be eliminated either with structured references to Table columns, or by creating a Name to cover each column independently.

Patrick. Much thanks!

IO_Dork-pls req attention to award points to Patrick's teachings

IO_DorkAuthor Commented:
thanks, will  do Dave.
Patrick, I tried your instance vlookup equivalent, and it worked when the table was starting on row 1, but didn't if I moved the table.  I think the problem might be with:

ROW(INDEX(Bank_SL_EQ,,1)) <- this portion returns a rows list, but the list should start with 1, howver if Bank_SL_EQ doesn't start on row 1 it would not work.

I think it should be something like

ROW(1:12) where Bank_SL_EQ is 12 rows high.

So, IMHO (happy to stand corrected), but the second instance should be (independent of whether table starts on row 1 or another row:


See attached & thanks for the lesson, as always, I learn alot from you.

Patrick MatthewsCommented:

Yes, my "Nth instance" formulae require an adjustment if the range does not start in Row 1.  Fortunately, the adjustment is very simple.  This would be the 2nd instance formula:


The above assumes that the range starts in Row 2.  See how I applied a -1 adjustment to the ROW() call.  Had the range started in Row 3, then a -2 adjustment would be needed.


IO_DorkAuthor Commented:

how would I modify {=MAX(IF(INDEX(Bank_SL_EQ,,1)=Q2,INDEX(Bank_SL_EQ,,5),""))} to lookup the max value of column 5 of the named range but to then return the contents of column 18?

Not sure if I need to reopen a new question.  let me know and I will.
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.