Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Counting Consecutive Negative Numbers.

Counting Consecutive Negative Numbers

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 4, 2015)

Lori has a series of numbers, in adjacent cells, that can be either positive or negative. She would like a way to determine the largest sequence of negative numbers in the range. Thus, if there were seven negative numbers in a row in this sequence, she would like a formula that would return the value 7.

We've looked high and low and can't find a single formula that will do what is wanted. You can, however, do it with an intermediate column. For instance, if you have your numbers in column A (beginning in A1), then you could put the following formula in cell B1:

=IF(A1<0,1,0)

Then, in cell B2 enter the following:

=IF(A2<0,B1+1,0)

Copy this down to all the other cells in column B for which there is a value in column A. Then, in a different cell (perhaps cell C1) you can put the following formula:

=MAX(B:B)

This value will represent the largest number of consecutive negative values in column A.

If you don't want to create an intermediate column to get the answer, you could create a user-defined function that will return the value.

Function MaxNegSequence(rng As Range)
' search for the largest sequence
' of negative numbers in the range

    Dim c As Range
    Dim lCounter As Long
    Dim lMaxCount As Long
 
    Application.Volatile
    lCounter = 0
    lMaxCount = 0
    On Error Resume Next
    For Each c In rng.Cells
        If c.Value < 0 Then
            lCounter = lCounter + 1
            If lCounter > lMaxCount Then
                lMaxCount = lCounter
            End If
        Else
            lCounter = 0
        End If
    Next c
 
    MaxNegSequence = lMaxCount
End Function

To use the function, just place a formula similar to the following in your worksheet:

= MaxNegSequence(A1:A512)

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11105) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Counting Consecutive Negative Numbers.

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

Word and Character Count Information

Using fields you can easily insert both the word and character counts for a document into the document itself. As those ...

Discover More

Unlocking Charts

Objects within a workbook are often locked as a form of protection. Your macro, however, may have a need to work with ...

Discover More

Marking Multiple Documents

After using Word for a while, it is easy to accumulate quite a few documents. At some point you may want to make a change ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Stopping a Formula from Updating References

Insert or delete a column, and Excel automatically updates references within formulas that are affected by the change. If ...

Discover More

Cell and Name References in COUNTIF

The second parameter of the COUNTIF function is used to specify the criteria to be used when determining what should be ...

Discover More

Adding a Statement Showing an Automatic Row Count

If you want to add a dynamic statement to a worksheet that indicates how many rows are in a data table, you might be at 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. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. 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 8 + 7?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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
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.