Software & Apps MS Office Use Excel's MIN Function Shortcut to Find the Smallest Values Using the MIN function in Excel is a time saver by Ted French Writer Former Lifewire writer Ted French is a Microsoft Certified Professional who teaches and writes about spreadsheets and spreadsheet programs. our editorial process Ted French Updated on July 11, 2019 Maren Winter/EyeEm/Getty Images MS Office Excel Word Powerpoint Outlook Tweet Share Email When you need to know the lowest value in an Excel worksheet, use the MIN function. Use the MIN function to find, for example, the lowest price for a product, the lowest sales volume, the lowest temperature, or the lowest test scores. Instructions in this article apply to Excel 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010; Excel for Mac, Excel for Microsoft 365, and Excel Online. MIN Function Overview The MIN function finds the smallest or minimum number in a list of values, but, depending on the data and the way that data is formatted, it also finds: The fastest timeThe shortest distanceThe lowest speedThe earliest dateThe lowest temperatureThe least amount of money It is often easy to pick out the largest value in a small sample of integers, the task becomes difficult for large amounts of data or if that data happens to be: Negative numbersTimes measured in hundredths of a secondCurrency exchange rates calculated to the ten-thousandth of a centNumbers formatted as fractions Examples of these numbers are found in the image below and show how the MIN function is a versatile way to deal with numbers in a variety of formats. MIN Function Syntax and Arguments A function's syntax refers to the layout of the function and includes the function's name, brackets, comma separators, and arguments. The syntax for the MIN function is: =MIN(Number1,Number2,...,Number255) Number1 is required and Number2,...,Number255 is optional. These arguments contain the numbers to be searched for the largest value, up to a maximum of 255. Arguments can be: NumbersNamed rangesArraysCell references to the location of the data in a worksheetBoolean values typed directly into the list of arguments If the arguments do not contain numbers, the function will return a value of zero. If an array, a named range, or a cell reference used in an argument contains empty cells, Boolean values, or text data, those cells are ignored by the function as shown in the example in row 7 in the image above. In row 7, the number 10 in cell C7 is formatted as text. The green triangle in the top left corner of the cell indicates that the number is stored as text. As a result, it, along with the Boolean value (TRUE) in cell A7 and the empty cell B7, are ignored by the function. The function in cell E7 returns zero for an answer, since the range A7 to C7 contains no numbers. MIN Function Example The information below covers the steps used to enter the MIN function into cell E2 in the image below. As shown, a range of cell references is included as the number argument for the function. One advantage of using cell references or a named range is that if the data in the range changes, the results of the function automatically update without having to edit the formula itself. Entering the MIN Function To enter the formula, do one of the following: Type the formula containing the function =MIN (A2:C2) into cell E2 and press the Enter key.Enter the arguments using the MIN Function Arguments dialog box.Use the MIN function shortcut located on the Home tab of the ribbon. MIN Function Shortcut This shortcut to using Excel's MIN function is one of several popular Excel functions that have shortcuts grouped together under the AutoSum icon on the Home tab of the ribbon. To follow along with this tutorial, open a blank Excel worksheet and copy the tutorial data as shown here: To use the MIN function shortcut to enter the MIN function: Select cell E2 to make it the active cell. On the ribbon, go to the Home tab. In the Editing group, select the Σ AutoSum dropdown arrow to open a list of functions. Select MIN to enter the MIN function into cell E2. On the worksheet, highlight cells A2 to C2 to enter this range as the function arguments. Press the Enter key on the keyboard to complete the function. The answer -6,587,449 appears in cell E2, since it is the smallest negative number in that row. Negative numbers get smaller the further they are from zero. Select cell E2 to see the complete function =MIN (A2:C2) in the Formula Bar above the worksheet.