Excel Hints & Tips: The LARGE Function

In: BlogDate: Feb 26, 2013By: Jonny Reynolds

In this blog, Jonny explains how to use the LARGE Function to extract the top values in a row and even add them up.

Hi, we are Happy

We are leading a movement to create happy, empowered and productive workplaces.

How can we help you and your people to find joy in at least 80% of your work?

More about Happy

This question came from a data analyst in a school.

A key measure of students is the value of their top 8 GCSEs. Given a spreadsheet of student results, how do you extract the best 8, given they will be different for each student. The grades (A*, A, B etc) have already been converted into scores (58, 52, 46 using a simple lookup table:



The function MAX() extracts the top score but to find the next highest, there is a simple function that I love: LARGE (range, num).

LARGE(B2:N2, 2) gives the second largest value in the range B2 to N2.

We can use LARGE to extract the top eight values and then simply add them up. We want a formula that we can enter once and then copy across, so we create eight columns labelled 1 to 8:



Cell p2: LARGE($b2:$n2,p$1)

This can then be copied across to W2 and down to W9:



This is almost there, but results in a #NUM! error where students have less than eight results. To remove those, we use a COUNT() in column O and then an IF statement to only enter a value if the number of results for that student is greater or equal to the current column number:




These can now be added to give a total value for each student’s Top 8 score in column X.

How could the LARGE function save you time at work?

Why not sign up to our newsletter?

Sign up to our monthly newsletter, full of tips, tricks and news to help you to be happier and more productive at work.

Sign up here

Learn More Excel Tips in Our Online Training Courses

Our online training options are available as both 90-minute and full day courses to fit around your schedule. Each one is full of interaction with your trainer and other learners — just like our classroom training courses.

Our events are always focused on how we can help you to be more productive at work. Plus, pick and choose the packages you need, with sessions covering all Microsoft packages (including Word, PowerPoint and Outlook). And because the sessions are online, you can learn from home at a time best suited to you.

See all of our online IT sessions here

Why learn online with Happy?

  • Interactive and engaging - just like our classroom sessions
  • Bitesize or full-day sessions - fit around your schedule
  • Learn from home - all you need is a quiet place to call from and an internet connection
  • IT Helpline - 2 years of free support after your course
  • No quibble money-back guarantee

Jonny Reynolds

Jonny worked at Happy for over 11 years, starting as Operations Manager and working his way up to Business Stream Manager.

More by Jonny

Testimonials from happy Customers