The Excel PERCENTRANK Function

Related Functions:
PERCENTILE
PERCENTRANK & PERCENTRANK.INC Functions

In Excel 2010, the PERCENTRANK function has been renamed the PERCENTRANK.INC function.

Although it has been replaced, the Percentrank function is still available in Excel 2010 (stored in the list of compatibility functions), to allow compatibility with earlier versions of Excel.

Basic Description

The Excel Percentrank function calculates the relative position of a specified value, within a set of values, as a percentage.

The syntax of the function is:

PERCENTRANK( array, x, [significance] )

Where the function arguments are listed in the table below:

array-The array of values within which you want to find the relative position of a specific value.
x-

The value that you want to calculate the relative position of.

(x must be within the range of the values in the supplied array, but it does not need to be exactly equal to one of the values. If x is not found in the array, the array values are interpolated to calculate the percentage rank).
[significance]-

An optional argument that specifies the number of significant digits that the returned percentage value is rounded to.

(By default the returned percentage value is accurate to 3 significant digits).


Percentrank Function Examples

In cells B1-B4 of the spreadsheet below, the Excel Percentrank Function is used to calculate the relative position of various values within the array of values in cells A1-A9.

 Formulas:
 AB
11=PERCENTRANK( A1:A9, 6.5 )
22=PERCENTRANK( A1:A9, 7, 5 )
34=PERCENTRANK( A1:A9, 8 )
46.5=PERCENTRANK( A1:A9, 14 )
58 
69 
710 
812 
914 
 Results:
 AB
1137.5%
2241.666%
3450.0%
46.5100.0%
58 
69 
710 
812 
914 

Note that, in cell B2 of the spreadsheet above, when calculating the percentrank for the value 7, the function interpolates one third of the way between the percentrank for 6.5 (=37.5%) and the percentrank for 8 (=50.0%).

The resulting value, 41.6666666666667% is rounded down to 5 significant figures, as specified by the supplied [significance] argument.


Further examples of the Excel Percentrank function are provided on the Microsoft Office website


Percentrank Function Errors

If you get an error from the Excel Percentrank function this is likely to be one of the following:

Common Errors
#N/A-Occurs if the supplied value of x is smaller than the minimum, or greater than the maximum value in the supplied array.
#NUM!-

Occurs if either:

  • The supplied [significance] value is < 1
or
  • The supplied array is empty.

Also, the following formatting problem is encountered by some users:

Common Formatting Problem

If the result of your Percentrank function is presented as a decimal, or shows 0%, this is likely to be due to the formatting of the cell containing the function.

This can therefore be fixed by formatting the cell as a percentage, with decimal places. This can be done using one of the following methods:

Method 1 - Percentage Formatting Through the Ribbon

The easiest way to change cell formatting is to select the cell(s) to be formatted and then select the percentage button from the 'Number' group on the Home tab of the Excel ribbon (see below):

Excel Format Cells As Percentage Button on Ribbon

Method 2 - Percentage Formatting Through the Format Cells Dialog Box

If you have an older version of Excel, that does not have the ribbon, you can change the formatting of an Excel cell via the following steps:

Excel Format Cells Dialog Box Percentage Option
  • Select the cell(s) to be formatted.
  • Right click on the selected cell, and from the right-click menu, select the Format Cells ... option.
  • The 'Format Cells' dialog box (shown on the rightabove) will be displayed. Ensure the Number tab of the dialog box is selected and from within the options in this tab, select Percentage.
  • An option will appear in the Format Cells box, that allows you to select how many decimal places you want to display.
  • Click OK.