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 How to find highest value in a row and return column header in Excel?

In this article, I will talk about how to return the column header of the largest value in a row in Excel. For Example, I have the following data range, column A is the year, and column B to F are populated the order numbers from Jan to May. And now, I want to get the month name of the largest value in each row.

doc-get-column-header-1

Find highest value in a row and return column header with formula


Select or highlight cells with max & min value in a range of cells or each column or row:

doc-get-column-header-4

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arrow blue right bubble Find highest value in a row and return column header with formula


To retrieve the column header of the largest value in a row, you can apply a combination of INDEX, MATCH and MAX functions to get the result. Please do as follows:

1. Enter this formula into a blank cell you need: =INDEX($B$1:$F$1,0,MATCH(MAX($B2:$F2),$B2:$F2,0)), and then press Enter key to get the month name which matches the largest value in a row. See screenshot:

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2. And then select the cell and drag the fill handle over to the range that you want to contain this formula, see screenshot:

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Note: In the above formula: B1: F1 is the headers row that you want to return, B2: F2 is the data range which contains the largest value you want to find.


Related article:

How to find the highest value and return adjacent cell value in Excel?


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  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Stephanie · 1 years ago
    Hi, i want to make a list with names and grades and i want to find the 3 highest grades and the names that go with them i used the formula =INDEX(A3:A13,MATCH(LARGE(K3:K13,2),K3:K13,0)) but if two people have the same grade what happens??? can someone help me????
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Liz · 1 years ago
    How can I do this if I want to return a row header rather than column header? I would also like to base the row number on a value in another cell that matches the column header. (So, look up column header and max value in that column, return the row header for that max value).
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    THANK YOU · 1 years ago
    OMFG THIS ARTICLE JUST SAVED ME HOURS OF WORK TODAY

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS SOLUTION. YOU ARE TRULY A GENIUS AND THIS METHOD IS MUCH APPRECIATED!!!!

    10/10
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Joseph · 1 years ago
    Is it possible to have this function work with multiple tabs on the same spreadsheet?
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    MikeS · 2 years ago
    Great thank you, I'd have strugled creating that formula myself, kind of you to share.
    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      Murtaza · 1 years ago
      Thanks. I would like to know how can this function work if there are multiple cells in a row with the same value ? Is it possible to return multiple column headers in the target cell ?