Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Finding the Date Associated with a Negative Value.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 1, 2016)
Stuart has a series of readings in a worksheet. In the first column he has dates associated with the readings and in the second column he has the actual readings. Stuart would like to have a formula that will return the first date at which a reading became negative. In other words, the formula should look for the first value that is negative in the second column and then return the date associated with that value. There can be multiple negative values in the second column, but he needs only the date associated with the first negative value.
There are a number of ways that this problem can be approached. All of the methods presume that the dates in column A are in ascending order and that the readings in column B are not in any type of discernible order. (In other words, the readings could bounce above and below 0 on any given date.)
Provided that you have some control over the layout of the worksheet, you could add an intermediate work column in column C, used to indicate when a value is negative. Simply place a formula like this in column C, to the right of each reading:
This formula returns the date in column A if the value in B is below 0 (negative), otherwise it returns nothing. All you then need to do is look for the minimum value in column C:
Format the result as a date, and it represents the date at which the readings first became negative.
Another approach is to forego the use of the intermediate column and use an array formula to determine the date. Assuming the data is in the range A1:B42, you can use any of the following formulas:
=MIN(IF(B1:B42<0,A1:A42,"")) =OFFSET($A$1,MATCH(TRUE,$B$1:$B$42<0,0)-1,,,) =INDEX(A:A,MIN(IF(B1:B42<0,ROW(B1:B42)))) =INDEX(A1:A42,MATCH(TRUE,B1:B42<0,0)) =INDIRECT("A"&MIN(IF(B1:B42<0,ROW(B1:B42))),TRUE)
Remember that these are all array formulas, so you need to enter whichever one you choose by pressing Shift+Ctrl+Enter. Format the result as a date, and it is the answer you seek.
If you prefer, you could also use a simple macro to determine the date:
Function GetFirstNegative(rngdata) Dim c As Variant For Each c In rngdata If c < 0 Then GetFirstNegative = c.Offset(0, -1) Exit Function Else GetFirstNegative = "All Data is Positive" End If Next End Function
In your worksheet, you would use this user-defined function in this manner:
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12321) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Finding the Date Associated with a Negative Value.
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!
Programmers know that a staple of any language is the ability to create conditional statements. Excel understands this, ...Discover More
You can use the CLEAN worksheet function to remove any non-printable characters from a cell. This can come in handy when ...Discover More
The IF worksheet function is very handy to make conditional evaluations. You are not limited to a single IF comparison, ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
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.