The Excel AVERAGE Function

Basic Description

The Excel AVERAGE function returns the arithmetic mean of a list of supplied numbers.

The syntax of the function is :

AVERAGE( number1, [number2], ... )

where the number arguments are a set of one or more numeric values, or arrays of numeric values, for which you want to calculate the average - these values can be supplied directly to the function, or as one or more cells or ranges of cells containing numeric values.

In Excel 2007 and later versions of Excel, you can provide up to 255 number arguments to the Average function, but in Excel 2003, the function can only accept up to 30 arguments. However, each argument can consist of an array of values or a range of cells, each of which can contain many values.

Excel Average vs. Excel Averagea

The Excel Average Function is very similar to the Excel Averagea Function. The only difference between these two functions is the way in which logical values, or text values within arrays or references are treated in the calculation of the arithmetic mean. This is shown in the table below:

Logical values or text representations of numbers, typed directly into the list of argumentsARE counted
ARE counted
Text that cannot be interpreted as a number, typed directly into the list of arguments#VALUE! error#VALUE! error
Logical values, within arrays or reference argumentsIgnoredARE counted
Text (including empty text "", text representations of numbers, or other text), within arrays or reference argumentsIgnoredCounted as zero
Empty cellsIgnoredIgnored

Excel Average Function Examples

The following spreadsheet shows the Excel Average function used to calculate the arithmetic mean of the set of values in cells A1-A5. Although the same 5 values are provided to each of the functions in cells B1-B4, in each case, the values are provided to the function in different ways.

18=AVERAGE( A1:A5 )
27=AVERAGE( 8, 7, 9, 6, 10 )
39=AVERAGE( A1, A2, A3, A4, A5 )
46=AVERAGE( A1:A3, {6, 10} )

Further examples of the Excel Average function can be found on the Microsoft Office website.

Average Function Error

The most common error from the Excel Average function is the #DIV/0! error :

Common Error
#DIV/0!-Occurs if the values to be averaged are all non-numeric