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.


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:

Product sales for averaging
=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 for a range of cells
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.


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.

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