**Please Note: **
This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), *this tip may not work for you*. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Returning the Smallest Non-Zero Value.

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 17, 2021)**This tip applies to** Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003

Mark is hoping to find the smallest non-zero value in a set of values. For example, if he has the values 0,0,3,0,6,8, he would want the value 3 (the smallest non-zero value) returned by a formula. Mark knows he can use the SMALL function with the second argument calculated by using a COUNTIF to count the number of zeroes in the range. However, he wants to use this inside of an array formula, and Excel can't handle COUNTIFs inside of array formulas.

Since Mark is only interested in array formulas (entered by pressing **Ctrl+Shift+Enter**), then there are a couple that could be used. The following array formula is worth looking at first:

=MIN(IF(A1:A5=0,MAX(A1:A5),A1:A5))

Assuming the values to be examined are in A1:A5, this formula puts together an array of non-zero values from that range. If the value in one of the cells is 0, then the MAX function kicks in, returning the largest value from the range. (This essentially kicks the value at that cell—originally 0—out of consideration as the smallest value.) If the value in one of the cells is not 0, then the actual value is returned. The MIN function then returns the lowest value from the array.

You can make the formula even shorter by turning it around in this manner:

=MIN(IF(A1:A5<>0,A1:A5))

Note that in this version, the value in each cell of the range is checked to see if it isn't 0. If it isn't, then the value is returned. If it is 0, then nothing is returned. Again, the MIN function is used to return the lowest value from the array.

*ExcelTips* is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training.
This tip (3260) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: **Returning the Smallest Non-Zero Value**.

**Save Time and Supercharge Excel!** Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out *Excel 2010 VBA and Macros* today!

With a long list of items in a worksheet, you may want to determine the last time a particular item appeared in the list. ...

Discover MoreIt is not uncommon to reuse formulas in a variety of workbooks. If you develop some "gotta keep" formulas, here are some ...

Discover MoreWhen analyzing data, you may need to distill groupings from that data. This tip examines how you can use formulas and ...

Discover More**FREE SERVICE:** Get tips like this every week in *ExcelTips,* a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

2022-05-02 17:42:58

Greg Miller

Thank you for this helpful tip. I came across while search for solutions to finding the three smallest non-zero values.

Since both SMALL and MIN ignore logical values, the solution works well. For example,

when A1:A5 is { 2; 0; 1; 14; 9 }

then A1:A5<>0

returns { 2; FALSE; 1; 14; 9 }

Since SMALL will ignore the logical value, SMALL(A1:A5<>0,{1;2;3}) will return 1; 2; 9. Since I am using EXCEL 365, I used SEQUENCE(3) instead of the hard-coded array.

I have commonly used the "double unary" of two negatives to coax numerical values out of logical values, but it was a pleasant discovery to realize that the trait of many EXCEL functions to ignore text, empty cells, and logical values can be put to good use.

Got a version of Excel that uses the
menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)?
**This site is for you!** If you
use a later version of Excel, visit
our *ExcelTips* site focusing on the ribbon interface.

**FREE SERVICE:** Get tips like this every week in *ExcelTips,* a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

Copyright © 2023 Sharon Parq Associates, Inc.

## Comments