How to Use the AVERAGE Function in Excel

Updated on January 8, 2020
Joshua Crowder profile image

Joshua has work experience in manufacturing, distribution, and aerospace. He received his BBA in accounting from Kent State University.

The AVERAGE Function

The AVERAGE function returns the average (mean or arithmetic mean) to a cell in Microsoft Excel when used. The arithmetic mean adds a group of numbers and divides by how many numbers are in that group. For example, if one wanted to know the arithmetic mean of 4,5,6,7 they would add the numbers together and divide by 4.

(4+5+6+7)/4 = 5.5

The result of this calculation is the center of the group of numbers in a statistical distribution. This function is a measure of central tendency.

The syntax of the AVERAGE Function

The average function must follow the following formats explained in the sections below:

Arithmetic Mean of a Referenced Range


In this situation, a cell reference range is used to find the arithmetic mean. This method is used when each number in a data set that needs to be averaged appears in its own cell.

Arithmetic Mean of a Referenced Range & Numbers


In this situation, a cell reference range and a number is used to find the arithmetic mean. This method is used when most numbers in a data set that need to be averaged appear in a group of cells and one or more numbers that don’t appear in cells may need to be added.

Arithmetic Mean of a Named Range


In this situation, a named range is used to find the arithmetic mean of that range. This method is used when the data that is used to find the arithmetic mean has been previously named in a range.

Arithmetic Mean of Cell References


In this situation, cell references are used to find the arithmetic mean. This method may be used because the data needed to find the arithmetic mean is spread out throughout a worksheet.

Arithmetic Mean of Numbers


In this situation, numbers are used to find the arithmetic mean. This method is somewhat time consuming since each number needs to be inputted into the function.

Entering the Formula Into a Worksheet

The average function needs to be inputted like a formula for it to be able to work. To manually add this formula to a cell, a cell needs clicked and "=AVERAGE(" needs to be typed. After the open parenthesis, the data (numbers, range, named range, cell references) that are used to find the arithmetic mean need to be entered and separated by commas. This is then followed by a closed parenthesis. After the formula is created, the enter button can be pressed to return the average for the data.

The AVERAGE function can be inserted into a cell with the use of an insert tool for functions. To use this method a cell is first selected. Next, the formulas tab is selected and the "More Functions" button on the Excel ribbon needs to be selected. The statistical selection from the list is then chosen.

After the function argument window appears, a cell reference, arithmetic with cell references or numbers, needs to be added. There is enough room for 255 number or cell references. Next, the Ok button can be clicked to return the arithmetic mean into the cell.

Other Considerations

Cells that are added to the AVERAGE function that will not be included in the calculation are cells, ranges or named ranges that have logical values, empty cells, or text in them. Cells that contain a zero will be added to the calculation.

How to Use the AVERAGE Function in Excel

To learn more about using functions in Excel I recommend the following book. I have been using the Excel Bible for years to improve my understanding of all aspects of this Microsoft product.

The Excel 2019 Bible


Microsoft. (n.d.). AVERAGE function. Retrieved January 4, 2020, from

Crowder, J. (2020, January 4). How to Use the AVERAGE Function in Excel. Retrieved January 4, 2020, from

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Joshua Crowder


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    • Joshua Crowder profile imageAUTHOR

      Joshua Crowder 

      6 months ago from SE United States

      Sure I’m glad I could help!

    • profile image


      6 months ago

      Thank you for post in this topic


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