# Excel 2016 – How to select smallest of multiple dates

The following examples show how to use an Excel formula to select the smallest date from a table.

This may be useful where you have a table with duplicate information, and need to select the first by date.

For example, in this table we have multiple entries with two rows for Mary. ## How to select the first date by name

The following example shows how to select the first date by name – in this case, Mary’s first start date.

`=MIN(IF(A:A="Mary",B:B))` The same formula can be used for each row, by changing “Mary” to the cell containing the name.

For example:

`=MIN(IF(A:A=A4,B:B))` ## How to select the first date in the list

What if we wanted to select the first start date from the full table?

All you need is the MIN function.

`=MIN(B:B)` ## How to select the name where first date

Finally, if you wanted to select the name of who started first – you can use a combination of the INDEX , MATCH and MIN functions to select the name (which is in another column) based on the result.

`=INDEX(A:A,MATCH(MIN(B:B),B:B,0))` 