I'm not very good with Excel at all and I haven't found a specific answer for this. I'm looking for a simple formula to retrieve the max value in a particular column. I need it to begin searching from row 8, so for example =MAX(A8:"?"). I thought it would be * or something like that but it doesn't appear to be. I don't know what the last row is going to be because it will vary. How do I specify the 2nd variable in the formula to be the last row in the column without knowing beforehand?

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Try creating a "Dynamic named range". If you have continuous numeric data from A8 downwards then that can be defined as
[Excel will add in sheet names] If you name that range Data then you can simply use
The DNR may also come in useful for other calculations In Excel 2007 or later versions You could also convert your data in to a Some information on Dynamic named ranges here: http://www.contextures.com/xlNames01.html 


Similar to Barry's solution, but a little cleaner (in my opinion).



It's ugly, but I'd use: =MAX(A8:A1048576) 


Simple way in Excel:
Creating UDF in VBA. This allows for a dynamic offset and will sum the column it is placed in:


