UPDATED MAXA() not returns maximum numeric value if text is in array, as expected according https://support.google.com/docs/answer/3094016

MAXA Returns the maximum numeric value in a dataset.

  • and even sample is with error - returns #VALUE, not maximum numeric

Example: formula MAXA({1;20;300;"#VALUE!";"Google"}) gives 300
but if values 1; 20; 300; #VALUE!; Google are in cells A9:A13 having array =MAXA(A9:A13) gives #VALUE!

To reproduce: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/17yJ33Zx24eC7-n-a7EaR9f9knhlQUaKYHEk2ghzZXAI/edit#gid=1923535662

Where is the problem?

  • As written, this question is low quality and IMO should not be migrated to another site.
    – Twisty
    Jul 26, 2017 at 14:21
  • @Twisty You are welcome to suggest your edited version if able (but I don't understand reason to "be migrated to another site")
    – AndriuZ
    Jul 27, 2017 at 11:34

1 Answer 1


You can't pass MAXA() character strings directly (vs having a text value in a range of cells), but can pass numeric string such as "35". You can however pass non-numeric character strings as part of a range of cells (see example below) and it will assign them a value of zero.

The function will return something like #VALUE! or #NAME? as an error message if it cannot calculate the function parameters. If you mouse over the value it returns in your example it will tell you why it failed.

Function MAXA parameter 4 expects number values. 
But '#VALUE!' is a text and cannot be coerced to a number.

MAXA(3,4,"5") valid, it is a numeric string
MAXA(3,4,"five") invalid, as it is not a numeric string
MAXA(A1:A6) valid, "text" gets set to 0, when A1 to A6 looks like

 A1 | -2
 A2 | -4
 A3 | -2
 A4 | -5
 A5 | -1
 A6 | text

Source: the support document you linked.
Note they show in one of their examples that the result of =MINA(A2:A6, "Google") is #VALUE!

  • I dont' get - according support.google.com/docs/answer/3094013?hl=en To allow text values, use MAXA.
    – AndriuZ
    Jul 21, 2017 at 12:18
  • and "Any referenced text value in any of the value arguments will be assigned the numeric value 0 for the purpose of this function."
    – AndriuZ
    Jul 21, 2017 at 12:30
  • It is a little odd how it words it, but testing it you can have text in a range of cells and it does count text as 0. So a range like A2:A8 with text gets assigned zero but you can't pass directly as a parameter.
    – Confuzing
    Jul 21, 2017 at 13:03
  • probably #VALUE! is a kind of a "stop" word
    – AndriuZ
    Jul 21, 2017 at 13:36
  • Yes it's like excel if it can't calculate the formula it gives #VALUE! as an error message.
    – Confuzing
    Jul 21, 2017 at 13:43

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