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AVERAGE Function

Applies to: Excel for Office 365, Excel for Office 365 for Mac, Excel for the web, Excel 2019, Excel 2016, Excel 2019 for Mac, Excel 2013, Excel 2010, Excel 2007, Excel 2016 for Mac, Excel for Mac 2011, Excel Starter 2010.

This creates the average (mathematical mean) of the dataset.

Syntax

AVERAGE(number1, [number2], …)

The AVERAGE function syntax contains the following arguments:

  • Number1 – Required. The first number, cell reference, or range for which you want the average.
  • Number2, … – Optional. Extra numbers, cell references or ranges for which you want the average, up to a maximum of 255.

Remarks

  • Arguments can either be numbers or names, ranges, or cell references that include numbers.
  • Logical values and text representations of numbers that you enter straight into the list of arguments are excluded.
  • If a range or cell reference argument has text, logical values, or empty cells, those values are omitted; however, cells with the value zero are included.
  • Arguments that are error values or text that cannot be translated into numbers cause errors.
  • If you want to consider logical values and text representations of numbers in a reference as part of the calculation, use the AVERAGEA function.
  • If you want to calculate the average of only the values that meet specific criteria, use the AVERAGEIF function or the AVERAGEIFS function.

Note: The AVERAGE function measures central tendency, which is the spot location of the centre of a group of numbers in a statistical distribution. The three most common measures of central tendency are:

  • Average, which is the arithmetic mean, and is calculated by adding a group of numbers and then dividing by the count of those numbers. For example, the average of 2, 3, 3, 5, 7, and 10 is 30 divided by 6, which is 5.
  • Median, which is the middle number of a group of numbers; that is, half the numbers have values that are greater than the median, and half the numbers have values that are less than the median. For example, the median of 2, 3, 3, 5, 7, and 10 is 4.
  • Mode, which is the most frequently occurring number in a group of numbers. For example, the mode of 2, 3, 3, 5, 7, and 10 is 3.

For a symmetrical distribution of a group of numbers, these three measures of central tendency are all the same. For a skewed distribution of a group of numbers, they can be different.

Tip: When you average cells, keep in mind the difference between empty cells and those containing the value zero, especially if you have cleared the Show a zero in cells that have a zero value check box in the Excel Options dialogue box in the Excel desktop application. When this option is selected, empty cells are not counted, but zero values are.

To locate the Show a zero in cells that have a zero value check box:

  • On the File tab, click Options, and then, in the Advanced category, look under Display options for this worksheet.

The example below shows the AVERAGE function being used in three different ways:

Formula Summary Result
=AVERAGE(A1:A5)Average of the numbers in cells A1 to A5.11
=AVERAGE(A1:A5,3)Averages the numbers in cells A1 to A5 and also the number 3.10
=AVERAGE(A1:C1) Gives average of the numbers in cells A1 to C1. 19

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