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: Last Non-Zero Value in a Row.

Last Non-Zero Value in a Row

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 6, 2017)

1

Brian has a row of numbers with 240 cells. In this row, the numbers are steadily declining and will eventually, at some point in those 240 cells, become 0. The zeroes will continue to fill the remaining cells in the row. Brian needs to write an equation that will return the last non-zero value in the row.

There are a variety of ways that the desired value can be returned. (Doesn't that always seem to be the case with Excel? You can come up with lots of ways to get a result.) In general, you could use a regular formula or an array formula.

If you want to use a regular formula, here's one you can try:

=OFFSET(A6,0,(COUNT(A6:IF6)-COUNTIF(A6:IF6,0))-1)

The COUNTIF function counts the number of zero values and the COUNT function determines the number of cells in the range. Subtracting one from the other and adjusting by 1 gives the OFFSET value into the "array" of cells where the last non-zero value lies. This formula assumes that the values begin in column A; if they begin in a different column then you'll need to adjust the value provided by the COUNT/COUNTIF portion of the formula to represent the offset from the first column.

Here's a shorter variation of the formula, based on doing an offset from the right side of the range rather than the left side:

=OFFSET(IF6,0,-COUNTIF(A6:IF6,0))

In this instance it is important that IF6 be the actual right end of the range. The formula works by counting the number of zero values in the range (all at the right side of the range) and then computing the cell address of the last cell (IF6) minus the number of zeros.

Here is a version that uses the INDEX function, instead:

=INDEX(A6:IF6,,MATCH(0,A6:IF6,0)-1)

This version is even shorter, using the LOOKUP function:

=LOOKUP(1,1/(6:6>0),6:6)

Array formulas can also be used. (Array formulas are entered by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Enter.) This one uses the INDIRECT function:

=INDIRECT("R6C" & MAX((A6:IF6>0)*COLUMN(A6:IF6)),FALSE)

This array formula uses an interesting implementation of the LOOKUP function to find the correct result:

=LOOKUP(9.99999999999999E+307,IF(A6:IF6<>0,A6:IF6))

Here's another array formula that can be used, this time using the OFFSET function to find the last non-zero value in row 6:

=OFFSET(A6,0,MIN(IF(6:6=0,COLUMN(6:6),300))-2)

Here's an even shorter variation:

=MIN(IF(A6:IF6>0,A6:IF6))

All of these formulas presented so far depend on the fact that the numbers in the row actually do decline—they go from whatever the beginning number is and steadily go toward zero. If the numbers don't decline, then you can use a different type of array formula to determine the last non-zero value in the row:

=INDEX(6:6,MAX(IF(A6:IF6<>0,COLUMN(A6:IF6))))

The formula first determines the maximum column in the row (in this case row 6) that has a value not equal to zero, then it uses the INDEX function to get the value from that column in that row.

As you can tell, there are quite a few ways to find the last non-zero value in a row. Pick the one that strikes your fancy; there is no right or wrong in this instance.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3785) 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: Last Non-Zero Value in a Row.

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

Printing a List of AutoCorrect Entries

Want a printed record of the AutoCorrect entries you've created in Word? There is no built-in way to do it, but you can use ...

Discover More

Ignoring Smart Quotes when Comparing Text

When comparing two pieces of text, you may find that Word's smart quotes can mess up the comparison. Here's a quick way to ...

Discover More

Setting a Default Table Border Width

When you insert a table into your document, it uses a standard-weight line around each cell in the table. If you want to ...

Discover More

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!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Averaging Values for a Given Month and Year

Excel is often used to analyze data collected over time. In doing the analysis, you may want to only look at data collected ...

Discover More

Starting Out Formulas

When you enter a formula from the keyboard, Excel only knows it is a formula if you start it with an equal sign. You can also ...

Discover More

Counting Employees in Classes

Excel is very good at counting things, even when those things need to meet specific criteria. This tip shows how you can do a ...

Discover More
Subscribe

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

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

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}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. 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 five less than 5?

2014-07-20 14:14:16

John D

The Index formula to find the last non-zero value was very helpful. Many thanks,

John


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.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

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

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.