 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:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

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. ...

##### MORE FROM ALLEN

Editing a Discussion Server

How to change the address of a discussion server in Word.

Discover More

Jumping to the Start or End of a Document

When creating macros, it is often necessary to move the insertion point around the document so that text can be processed ...

Discover More

Getting Rid of Alphabetic Characters

When you need to get rid of characters in the middle of a cell value, the best way to do it is through the use of macros. ...

Discover More Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

Finding the Address of the Lowest Value in a Range

Uncovering the lowest value in a range is relatively easy; you can just use the MIN worksheet function. Discovering the ...

Discover More

Averaging a Non-Contiguous Range

Figuring out how to average data that is in a contiguous range of cells is easy. When the data is spread over a group of ...

Discover More

Finding the Smallest Even Value

When processing data in a worksheet, you may have a need to know what the smallest (lowest) even value in a range is. You ...

Discover More
##### Subscribe

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

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is three less than 9?

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

##### This Site

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.