The median is a commonly-used mathematical measurement. It’s simply the middle number in a given dataset. It’s easy to find using a spreadsheet. Let’s learn how to find the median in Microsoft Excel.
How to Find the Median in Excel
Luckily for you, Excel has a MEDIAN function built in. It helps you quickly find the median number in even the largest sets of data. Let’s look at two examples.
Look at a list of five numbers like this: 25, 50, 75, 100, and 125. Visually, you can probably identify the median as 75, since it’s the middle value in a list with 5 total values (an odd number). However, you can have Excel do the math for you with the MEDIAN function.
Click into any empty cell in your workbook. Type an = sign, which tells Excel that you’re beginning to type a formula. Then, type MEDIAN(. So far, your formula reads:
Finally, click and drag to highlight the range of data. Here, that’s A1:E1. Then, type ). Your formula to find the median is:
Hit Enter on your keyboard, and Excel returns the median value: 75.
Now, imagine that you have a dataset with an even-numbered total of values. For example, 1, 2, 3, and 4. There’s not an obvious median value there, right?
Using the same steps as before, build the median formula in an empty cell. In this case, it reads:
Hit Enter, and Excel returns your solution: 2.5.
2.5 is found by Excel automatically computing the average of the two center (middle) values in your data set. Here, of course, that math is (2+3 / 2 = 2.5).
As you can see, it’s easy to find the median in Excel. This is a quick and easy way to gain insights into your data by exploring where the centering point lies.