In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the RANK function in Excel, which is a powerful tool for ranking values within a dataset. The RANK function allows you to determine the rank of a specific value in a list, making it easier to analyze and compare data. We will cover the syntax, examples, tips and tricks, common mistakes, troubleshooting, and related formulae for the RANK function.

RANK Syntax

The RANK function has the following syntax:

RANK(number, ref, [order])


  • number is the value you want to rank.
  • ref is the range of cells containing the values you want to rank against.
  • order (optional) is a number that specifies how to rank the values. If you set it to 0 or omit it, Excel will rank the values in descending order (largest to smallest). If you set it to 1, Excel will rank the values in ascending order (smallest to largest).

RANK Examples

Let’s look at some examples of how to use the RANK function in Excel.

Example 1: Basic RANK function

Suppose you have a list of sales figures for different salespeople and you want to rank them based on their sales performance. You can use the RANK function to do this. For example, if the sales figures are in cells A1:A10 and you want to rank the sales figure in cell A2, you can use the following formula:

=RANK(A2, A1:A10)

This will give you the rank of the sales figure in cell A2 within the range A1:A10, with the highest sales figure ranked as 1.

Example 2: RANK function with ascending order

If you want to rank the values in ascending order, you can set the order argument to 1. For example, if you have a list of completion times for a race and you want to rank the times from fastest to slowest, you can use the following formula:

=RANK(B2, B1:B10, 1)

This will rank the completion time in cell B2 within the range B1:B10, with the fastest time ranked as 1.

RANK Tips & Tricks

Here are some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of the RANK function in Excel:

  1. Remember that the RANK function does not account for ties. If two or more values have the same rank, the next rank will be skipped. To handle ties, you can use the RANK.AVG or RANK.EQ functions.
  2. If you want to rank values based on multiple criteria, you can use a combination of RANK and other functions, such as SUMPRODUCT or COUNTIFS.
  3. When using the RANK function, it’s a good idea to sort your data first, so you can easily see the rankings and spot any errors.
  4. If you want to rank values within a filtered list, you can use the AGGREGATE function in combination with RANK.

Common Mistakes When Using RANK

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when using the RANK function:

  1. Not specifying the correct range for the ref argument. Make sure you include all the values you want to rank against.
  2. Forgetting to set the order argument when you want to rank values in ascending order. Remember to set it to 1 for ascending order.
  3. Using the RANK function to rank non-numeric values. The RANK function only works with numeric values. If you need to rank text values, you can use a helper column to convert the text to numbers and then use the RANK function.

Why Isn’t My RANK Function Working?

If your RANK function isn’t working as expected, here are some possible reasons and solutions:

  1. Check for errors in your formula, such as incorrect cell references or missing arguments.
  2. Make sure your data is formatted as numbers. The RANK function will not work with text values.
  3. If your RANK function is returning unexpected results, double-check the order argument to ensure it’s set correctly for ascending or descending order.
  4. If you’re experiencing issues with ties, consider using the RANK.AVG or RANK.EQ functions instead.

RANK: Related Formulae

Here are some related formulae that you might find useful when working with the RANK function:

  1. RANK.AVG: This function works similarly to the RANK function but calculates the average rank for tied values. Syntax: RANK.AVG(number, ref, [order])
  2. RANK.EQ: This function works similarly to the RANK function but assigns the same rank to tied values and does not skip any ranks. Syntax: RANK.EQ(number, ref, [order])
  3. PERCENTRANK: This function calculates the relative standing of a value within a dataset as a percentage. Syntax: PERCENTRANK(array, x, [significance])
  4. PERCENTILE: This function returns the value that corresponds to a specified percentile within a dataset. Syntax: PERCENTILE(array, k)
  5. QUARTILE: This function returns the value that corresponds to a specified quartile within a dataset. Syntax: QUARTILE(array, quart)

By mastering the RANK function and its related formulae, you can effectively analyze and compare data in Excel, making it easier to draw insights and make informed decisions.


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