Grabbing the Second-to-Last Value in a Column

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 4, 2017)


Cedric has a need to determine the value of the second-to-last cell in column to which he routinely adds values. He has seen formulas for grabbing the last value, but not the second-to-last.

There are many formulatic ways you could approach this need. In many respects, the method you choose will depend on the characteristics of the data in the column. Let's assume that your data is in column A, that it is numeric, and that there are no blanks in any of the cells in the column. In that case, you could use the following formula:


Note that this formula will not return the correct result if there are any text values in column A—even if that text value is in a heading. If you want to compensate for the heading, you could modify the formula in this manner. (Note that it only checks the range of A2:A1000. If your data extends beyond row 1,000, then you'll need to modify the range specified.)


If your numeric data may contain empty cells, then any of the following formulas will work just fine:


You should recognize that if the second-to-last cell in the column is empty, then these formulas will return 0. (Well, except for the formula that uses the AGGREGATE function. It returns the value in the first non-empty cell before the second-to-last cell.)

If your data in column A can contain either numbers or text (but still no empty cells), then you need a different formula. Either of these will do:


If there may be empty cells in your data, then you could use either of the following:


Again, if the second-to-last cell is empty, then the formula returns 0.

Finally, you could also use the following type of formula, provided that your cells in the column use a named range (in this case MyData). Remember, though, that as you add more information to the column, you'll need to make sure that the named range includes the added data.


You should note that virtually all of the formulas mentioned in this tip use a -1 in them. This indicates you don't want the last cell in the range, but the second-to-last ("one up" from the bottom of the range). If you want a different offset from the bottom of the range, you can change this portion of each formula. For instance, if you wanted 2 cells up from the bottom of the range, you would change all instances of -1 to -2.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (1523) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

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. ...


Wildcards in 'Replace With' Text

When doing searches in Excel, you can use wildcard characters in the specification of what you are searching. However, you ...

Discover More

Choosing an Insert Method for Pictures

The way that you choose to add pictures to your document can have an effect on the file size of those documents. It is best ...

Discover More

Understanding Variables

Variables are used quite frequently in programming, and VBA programming is no exception. Each variable can have a data type ...

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!


Counting Precedents and Dependents

Do you need to know how many precedents or dependents there are on a worksheet? You could count them manually, or you could ...

Discover More

Compiling a List of Students in a Course

Need to pull just a limited amount of information from a large list? Here are a few approaches you might be able to use with ...

Discover More

Separating Names into Individual Columns

If you have a list of names in a column, and you want to separate those names into individual cells, there are several ...

Discover More

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 for this tip:

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 two more than 9?

2017-02-07 08:56:53

Michael (Micky) Avidan

The following formula (presented in the above tip) returns the secon-to-last-value in column "A":


*** Not all VBA command have a parallel sheet function
Michael (Micky) Avidan
“Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator
“Microsoft®” MVP – Excel (2009-2017)

2017-02-06 21:34:47


Yes, offset as required, I'm usually finding the next available line rather than second last. Haven't found the equivalent in formula yet that works from the bottom up. Some very useful tips here.

2017-02-06 10:26:27

Michael (Micky) Avidan

According to this tip subject - I assume you meant:
Second_To_Last = Cells(Rows.Count, 1).End(xlUp).Offset(-1, 0)
Michael (Micky) Avidan
“Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator
“Microsoft®” MVP – Excel (2009-2017)

2017-02-05 22:58:54


I usually use:

Cells(Rows.Count, 1).End(xlUp).Offset(1, 0).Select

to get to the last line.

Gets there from the bottom of the sheet going up to the first used cell, then offsets for selection.

2017-02-05 13:19:17

Yvan Loranger

Another way:
& replicate b1 down as far as needed.
Have d5 or whatever cell
The -2 is to backtrack from 1st empty cell up to last value in column then up to 2nd-last value.

2017-02-04 05:47:12

Alex B

If you use an Excel Table then the last option is the way to go.

The table will automatically expand the range.
The table version will looks a more like this:

This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips

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.

Links and Sharing