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: Counting Consecutive Negative Numbers.

# Counting Consecutive Negative Numbers

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 13, 2019)

Lori has a series of numbers, in adjacent cells, that can be either positive or negative. She would like a way to determine the largest sequence of negative numbers in the range. Thus, if there were seven negative numbers in a row in this sequence, she would like a formula that would return the value 7.

We've looked high and low and can't find a single formula that will do what is wanted. You can, however, do it with an intermediate column. For instance, if you have your numbers in column A (beginning in A1), then you could put the following formula in cell B1:

```=IF(A1<0,1,0)
```

Then, in cell B2 enter the following:

```=IF(A2<0,B1+1,0)
```

Copy this down to all the other cells in column B for which there is a value in column A. Then, in a different cell (perhaps cell C1) you can put the following formula:

```=MAX(B:B)
```

This value will represent the largest number of consecutive negative values in column A.

If you don't want to create an intermediate column to get the answer, you could create a user-defined function that will return the value.

```Function MaxNegSequence(rng As Range)
' search for the largest sequence
' of negative numbers in the range

Dim c As Range
Dim lCounter As Long
Dim lMaxCount As Long

Application.Volatile
lCounter = 0
lMaxCount = 0
On Error Resume Next
For Each c In rng.Cells
If c.Value < 0 Then
lCounter = lCounter + 1
If lCounter > lMaxCount Then
lMaxCount = lCounter
End If
Else
lCounter = 0
End If
Next c

MaxNegSequence = lMaxCount
End Function
```

To use the function, just place a formula similar to the following in your worksheet:

```= MaxNegSequence(A1:A512)
```

Note:

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ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3533) 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: Counting Consecutive Negative Numbers.

##### Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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What is 4 + 1?

2020-10-15 20:03:48

Wilton

Hello Allen,

Thank you for the Counting Consecutive Negative Numbers code. I have a question regarding this line of code: Dim lMaxCount As Long
When stepping through the code, the lMaxCount variable becomes a Boolean data type. Since this variable is clearly dim as a long data type, why does it become a Boolean data type when the code starts running?

Thank you for any insights .

Wilt

2019-04-13 14:36:28

Rick Rothstein

Here is another, more compact way to write your MaxNegSequence function...

Function MaxNegSequence(Rng As Range) As Long
Dim V As Variant, Arr As Variant
Application.Volatile
For Each V In Split(Replace(Join(Evaluate("TRANSPOSE(IF(" & Rng.Address & "<0,1,""""))"), " "), "1 ", 1))
If Len(V) > MaxNegSequence Then MaxNegSequence = Len(V)
Next
End Function

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