The average of a set of numbers is one of the most common statistical analysis techniques. It’s easy enough to calculate manually, but that can become difficult with large datasets. Fortunately, finding the average is easy with a spreadsheet. Let’s learn how to calculate average in Microsoft Excel.
How to Calculate Average in Excel
Consider a list of numbers spread across rows and columns of a spreadsheet. The formula for average is simple. It takes the sum of the values and divides it by the total number of values. You could perform those calculations with a pair of formulas, but Excel saves you the effort. The best option is to use Excel’s built-in AVERAGE function.
To begin, click into any empty cell on your worksheet. Start by typing an = sign. This is standard in Excel, and signifies that you are beginning to type in a formula into the cell.
Next, type AVERAGE, followed by (. Thus far, your formula should read:
Now, Excel needs the range of cells containing the values for which you want to compute the average. The best option here is to simply click and drag your cursor across the given range. In this example, that’s A1:C6. This will cause Excel to automatically populate the formula with the selected range.
Finally, close with ). Your complete average formula will read:
Finally, hit Enter on your keyboard. Excel will compute the average for the selected numbers, and return the value in the cell where you placed your formula.
As you can see, it’s easy to calculate averages in Excel. This technique works for even the largest datasets, and helps you derive meaning from the data. Try it out next time you’re working with data and need to quickly determine the average value contained within it.