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Using the AVERAGE formula in Excel

The next function we'll learn helps you calculate the average of a large set of numbers: AVERAGE. This is another commonly-used function in many worksheets. Like SUM, its mechanics are incredibly simple.

Using AVERAGE

The basic syntax for the AVERAGE function is as follows:

=AVERAGE(number_1, number_2...)

Like SUM, the AVERAGE function can take as many arguments as you want to give it. Here are a couple examples of AVERAGE in action:

=AVERAGE(3, 5) Output: 4

=AVERAGE(10, 20) Output: 15

=AVERAGE(0, 50,100, 150) Output: 75

Like SUM, AVERAGE can be used with cell references rather than hard-coded numbers. Take, for example, the following sheet, in which we find SnackWorld's AVERAGE monthly sales for the months from January through March:

=AVERAGE(C3, C4, C5) Output: $6,000,000

The above formula outputs $6,000,000, because the average of $6,000,000, $5,000,000, and $7,000,000 is $6,000,000.

AVERAGE with a range of cells

The AVERAGE formula has one other key similarity to SUM: you can use it with a range of cells rather than individual cells to speed up formula writing when processing long lists. Let's take a look at how this works

In the below spreadsheet, we've rewritten our AVERAGE formula from the previous exercise to use a range of inputs rather than individual cells:

=AVERAGE(C3:C5) Output: $6,000,000

This formula also outputs $6,000,000, because it performs the AVERAGE of all the cells in the range C3:C5.

MEDIAN and MODE

Excel also contains simple functionality to calculate the mean and mode of a data range. Just replace your AVERAGE formula with a MEDIAN or MODE formula to use it!

Errors with the AVERAGE function

If your AVERAGE function returns an error, it's likely because one of its inputs is an error like #VALUE! or #DIV/0!. If your function is returning one of these errors and you can't figure out why, try examining each of its inputs individually to ensure that they are all proper, real numbers.

Explore the 5 must-learn 'fundamentals' of Excel

Getting started with Excel is easy. Sign up for our 5-day mini-course to receive easy-to-follow lessons on using basic spreadsheets.

The basics of rows, columns, and cells...

How to sort and filter data like a pro...

Plus, we'll reveal why formulas and cell references are so important and how to use them...