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I have data in two columns (say A2:B20). To get what I want, I have to filter by the first column, and then get the maximum value in the second column of the filtered array. Can this be done without a custom function? If not, what would the custom function be?

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The formula

 =MAX(FILTER(A:A, B:B="something"))

gives the maximum of the entries in the A column for which the corresponding entry in B column is "something". See documentation for FILTER.

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