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Excel AVERAGE Function

Excel AVERAGE function
Summary 

The Excel AVERAGE function calculates the average (arithmetic mean) of supplied numbers. AVERAGE can handle up to 255 individual arguments, which can include numbers, cell references, ranges, arrays, and constants.

Purpose 
Get the average of a group of numbers
Return value 
A number representing the average.
Syntax 
=AVERAGE (number1, [number2], ...)
Arguments 
  • number1 - A number or cell reference that refers to numeric values.
  • number2 - [optional] A number or cell reference that refers to numeric values.
Usage notes 

The AVERAGE function calculates the average of numbers provided as arguments. To calculate the average, Excel sums all numeric values and divides by the count of numeric values. This behavior can be replicated with the SUM and COUNT functions like this:

=SUM(A1:A5)/COUNT(A1:A5) // manual average calculation

AVERAGE can handle up to 255 individual arguments, which can include numbers, cell references, ranges, arrays, and constants.

The AVERAGE function automatically ignores text values and empty cells. However, zero (0) values are included. You can ignore zero (0) values and/or apply specific criteria using the AVERAGEIFS function, as explained below.

The AVERAGE function will ignore logical values and numbers entered as text. If you need to include these values in the average, see the AVERAGEA function.

If the values given to AVERAGE contain errors, AVERAGE returns an error. You can use the AGGREGATE function to ignore errors.

Basic usage

A typical way to use the AVERAGE function is to provide a range, as seen below. The formula in F3, copied down, is:

=AVERAGE(C3:E3)

AVERAGE function basic usage

At each new row, AVERAGE calculates an average of the quiz scores for each person. 

Blank cells

The AVERAGE function automatically ignores blank cells. In the screen below, notice cell C4 is empty, and AVERAGE simply ignores it and computes an average with B4 and D4 only:

AVERAGE function with blank cells

However, note the zero (0) value in C5 is included in the average, since it is a valid numeric value. To exclude zero values, use AVERAGEIF or AVERAGEIFS instead. In the example below,  AVERAGEIF is used to exclude zero values. Like the AVERAGE function, AVERAGEIF automatically excludes empty cells.

=AVERAGEIF(B3:D3,">0") // exclude zero

AVERAGEIF function exclude zero

Mixed arguments

The numbers provided to AVERAGE can be a mix of references and constants:

AVERAGE function with mixed arguments

=AVERAGE(A1,A2,4) // returns 3

Average with criteria

To calculate an average with criteria, use AVERAGEIF or AVERAGEIFS. In the example below, AVERAGEIFS is used to calculate the average score for Red and Blue groups:

AVERAGEIFS function with criteria

=AVERAGEIFS(C5:C14,D5:D14,"red") // red average
=AVERAGEIFS(C5:C14,D5:D14,"blue") // blue average

The AVERAGEIFS function can also apply multiple criteria.

Average top 3

By combining the AVERAGE function with the LARGE function, you can calculate an average of top n values. In the example below, the formula in column I computes an average of the top 3 quiz scores in each row:

AVERAGE function top 3

Detailed explanation here.

Weighted average

To calculate a weighted average, you'll want to use the SUMPRODUCT function, as shown below:

Weighted average with SUMPRODUCT

Read a complete explanation here.

Notes

  1. AVERAGE automatically ignores empty cells and cells with text values.
  2. AVERAGE includes zero values. Use AVERAGEIF or AVERAGEIFS to ignore zero values.
  3. Arguments can be supplied as constants, ranges, named ranges, or cell references.
  4. AVERAGE can handle up to 255 total arguments.
  5. To see a quick average without a formula, you can use the status bar.