Find Multiple Modes in Data With Excel MODE.MULT Function

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 Getty Images / ROBERT BROOK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Mathematically, there are a number of ways of the average for a set of — the average being the center or middle of a group of numbers in a statistical distribution. In the case of the mode, middle refers to the most frequently occurring value in a list of numbers.

In previous versions of Excel, the MODE function was used to find the single most frequently occurring value, or mode, in a list of numbers. MODE.MULT, on the other hand, will tell you if there are multiple values, or multiple modes, that occur most frequently in a range of data.

The MULTI.MODE function only returns multiple modes if two or more numbers occur with frequency within the selected data range.

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MODE.MULT Function Syntax and Arguments

Screenshot of Excel showing the MODE.MULTI syntax

​A function's syntax refers to the layout of the function and includes the function's name, brackets, and arguments. The syntax for the MODE.MULT function is:

= MODE.MULT ( Number1, Number2, ... Number255 )

Number (required): The values (to a maximum of 255) for which you want to calculate the modes. This argument can contain the actual numbers, separated by commas, or it can be a cell reference to the location of the data in the worksheet.

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Entering the MODE.MULT Function

Screenshot of Excel showing how to insert a function

The example shown in the image above has two modes, the numbers 2 and 3, that occur most often in the selected data. Even though there are only two values that occur with equal frequency, the function has been entered into three cells.

Because more cells were selected than there are modes, the third cell D4 returns the #N/A error.

Options for entering the function and its arguments include:

  1. Typing the complete function into a worksheet cell.
  2. Selecting the function and arguments using the Formula Builder.

Array and CSE Formulas

In order to return multiple results, MODE.MULT must be entered as an array formula -- that is into multiple cells at the same time, since regular Excel formulas can only return one result per cell. For both methods, the last step is to enter the function as an array function using the CtrlAlt, and Shift keys as detailed below.

Directly Above Shot Of Person Hands Typing On Computer Keyboard
Arrays are created with the CTRL, SHIFT, and ENTER keys.  Getty Images / Wathanyu Kanthawong / EyeEm

The MODE.MULT Function Dialog Box

The steps below detail how to select the MODE.MULT function and arguments using the dialog box.

  1. Highlight cells D2 to D4 in the worksheet to select them — these cells are the location where the results of the function will be displayed.
  2. Click on the Formulas tab.
  3. Choose More Functions > Statistical from the ribbon to open the function drop-down.
  4. Click on MODE.MULT in the list to bring up the Formula Builder.
  5. Highlight cells A2 to C4 in the worksheet to enter the range into the dialog box
  6.  Press and hold down the Ctrl and Shift keys on the keyboard
  7. Press the Enter key on the keyboard to create the array formula and close the dialog box 
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MODE.MULT Results and Errors

Screenshot of Excel showing MULTI.MODE results

As a result of entering the MODE.MULTI function, and creating an array, as notated above, the following results should be present:

  • The number 2 in cell D2.
  • The number 3 in cell D3.
  • The error #N/A in cell D4.

These results occur because only two numbers, 2 and 3, appear most often and with equal frequency in the data sample Even though the number 1 occurs more than once, in cells A2 and A3, it does not equal the frequency of the numbers 2 and 3, so it is not included as one of the modes for the data sample

Further Notes About MODE.MULTI

  • If there is no mode or the data range contains no duplicate data, the MODE.MULT function will return a #N/A error in each cell selected to display the function's output.
  • The range of cells selected to display the results of the MODE.MULT function must run vertically. The function will not output the results to a horizontal range of cells.
  • If a horizontal output range is required, the MODE.MULT function can be nested inside the TRANSPOSE function.