Retrieving the Column Header of the Largest Value in a Row in Excel 2010

In this article we will learn how we can retrieve the column header of the largest value in a row in Excel 2010.

If you want to recover the column header of the largest value in a row, you can use a combination of "INDEX", "MATCH" & "MAX" functions to extract the output.
"INDEX": Returns a value or reference of the cell at the intersection of a particular row and column, in a given range.

Syntax: =INDEX(array,row_num,column_num)
"MATCH" function searches for a specified item in a selected range of cells, and then returns the relative position of that item in the range.

Syntax =MATCH(lookup_value,lookup_array,match_type)
"MAX": Returns the maximum number from a range of cells or array. For example,if a list of numbers contains 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10, then the output will be 10.

Syntax =MAX(number1,number2,...)

There can be a maximum 255 arguments. Refer below shown screenshot:


Let us take an example:

We have 4 players scorecard for 4 games. Column A contains 4 Games while column B to E contain scores of 4 players. In column F, we need to find the winner of each row out of the scores of 4 players.


  • In cell F2, the formula would be
  • =INDEX($B$2:$E$2,MATCH(MAX(B3:E3),B3:E3,0))


  • By copying the formula from cell F2 to range F3:F6, we will get high scorer in every row.


This is the way we can retrieve the column header of the largest value in a row in Microsoft Excel by using the Index, Match and Max function in combination.


  1. Find result in column D from MAX in column A. Row 3 is a projected payment, alphanumeric code is placed in column A when cleared thru the bank. 9AB is the MAX, 750.00 is result.
    A B C D
    1 9AA DEP 1000.00 1000.00
    2 9AB 1078 -250.00 750.00
    3. ACH - 30.00 720.00

    • Sorry, this didn’t post as I typed it. I need a formula for the previous post. MAX wont find alphanumeric. Only numbers. I tried MAXA, didn’t work on excel mobile or 360.

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