The AVERAGE function in excel is one of the most commonly used functions in Excel and, like all functions in Excel, is fairly intuitive once you understand the necessary arguments. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the AVERAGE function does just what you’d imagine it would do: it takes the average (or arithmetic mean) of a given set of data. In terms of complexity, the AVERAGE function is actually one of the easier functions to use in Excel because it only consists of one type of argument, and that is the cells that you are interested in knowing the average for.
The AVERAGE function in Excel has at least one argument (values in the function separated by commas) and is written as follows:
=AVERAGE(value_1, [value_2], [value_3]...)
For example, if you look at the table below, you can see a very simple sample table outlining the Total Cookie Sales by the day of the week, with the $304.18 total showing at the bottom of the table. Seeing the total is helpful because we can easily find the average on our own with a bit of mental math by dividing the total by seven to come up with an average of $43.45. However, it’s much more convenient for Excel to do this for us, with the AVERAGE function.
A | B | |
---|---|---|
1 | Day | Cookie Sales ($) |
2 | Monday | 28.96 |
3 | Tuesday | 43.28 |
4 | Wednesday | 25.79 |
5 | Thursday | 28.40 |
6 | Friday | 59.77 |
7 | Saturday | 55.93 |
8 | Sunday | 62.05 |
9 | Total Sales | 304.18 |
10 | Average Daily Sales | ? |
So to show you how you would find the average of the Total Cookie Sales in Table 1, you simply type the formula below in cell B10:
=AVERAGE(B2:B8)
And just like that, you’ve found the average for the Total Cookie Sales, which is $43.45.
It's very common in many data sets to see the average at the bottom of a column, much like how you would see the Sum or Total of the data displayed. However, please note that the AVERAGE function will work with any group of numbers and can work with more than one column or across rows.