Excel : How to Count Consecutive Positive / Negative Numbers

Deepanshu Bhalla Add Comment ,

Suppose you have data consisting of both positive and negative numbers. You need to calculate the number of consecutive negative numbers in Excel. It's easy to count the negative numbers in a list but here we need to focus on the consecutive negative numbers. This is a bit challenging problem statement. See the solution below with example.

Let's take a real world example. You have weekly stock market data and you were asked to calculate the number of consecutive weeks market suffered losses.

We have data in column A and B, headers in row 1 and data range starts from cell A2 and ends in cell B10.

Excel : Consecutive Numbers

Enter the formula below in cell C2 and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to confirm the formula as an array formula.

There were six consecutive weeks when stock market was in red. Result
How does it work?

Let's understand step by step how it returns the desired result.

Step 1 : Row Numbers of values less than 0



Step 2 : Row Numbers of values greater than or equal to 0



Step 3 : Array of Consecutive Negative Numbers

Here FREQUENCY function is used to calculate the no. of times negative numbers occur in a row (successively).




Step 4 : Max of the above array

Result is 6 as it was the largest value in the array.

VBA Solution : UDF to count Negative Numbers
The solution below is an alternative to the excel formula shown above. It's a user defined function to compute the consecutive negative numbers. Paste the program below in VBA Editor (press Alt + F11).
Function ConsNegative(rng As Range)

    Dim r As Range
    Dim c As Long
    Dim m As Long
    c = 0
    m = 0
    On Error Resume Next
    For Each r In rng.Cells
        If r.Value < 0 Then
            c = c + 1
            If c > m Then
                m = c
            End If
            c = 0
        End If
    Next r
    ConsNegative = m
End Function
To make use of the above program, simply enter =ConsNegative(B2:B10) in cell C2. It returns the same output as formula.
Excel : Consecutive Positive Numbers
Similarly we can also calculate number of times positive numbers appear consecutively. Formula is almost same as above with the only different in signs. Here we are focusing on positive values.
Consecutive Positive Values
How to sum the Consecutive Negative Values
The example below is for demonstration purpose only. Please note that adding percentage values doesn't make sense.

Enter the formula above in cell D2 and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to confirm it as an array formula.

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About Author:
Deepanshu Bhalla

Deepanshu founded ListenData with a simple objective - Make analytics easy to understand and follow. He has over 10 years of experience in data science. During his tenure, he worked with global clients in various domains like Banking, Insurance, Private Equity, Telecom and HR.

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