There is a simple method in Excel that forces negative numbers to zero through the use of the MAX function. This tutorial will walk through how to do it.

*Figure 1. Final result: Forcing negative numbers to zero using MAX function*

**Setting up the Data**

Below is a table of the Before and After data, with corresponding differences. We want to force the negative numbers in column D to zero and retain the positive numbers.

* Figure 2. Sample data for forcing negative numbers to zero*

The quickest way to force negative numbers to zero is by using the MAX function in Excel.

**MAX function in Excel**

The MAX function returns the largest value in a set of values.

**Syntax**

`=`

**MAX**(**number1**, **number 2**,...)

In cell E3, enter the formula:

`=`

**MAX**(0,D3)

* Figure 3. Entering the MAX formula *

- This formula compares the number zero “0” and the value in D3, then returns the larger value
- Zero is larger than any negative number; in this case, zero is larger than -2
- The MAX function returns 0 in cell E3

Copy the formula in the succeeding rows. Below table shows how the MAX function has forced the negative numbers to zero in cells E3 and E7.

*Figure 4. Final result: Forcing negative numbers to zero using MAX function*

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**Are you still looking for help with the IF function? View our comprehensive round-up of IF function tutorials here.**

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