The AVERAGE function returns the average, the arithmetic mean, of a list of numeric arguments.

Syntax

=AVERAGE(num_1,[num_2], … )

Note: Beginning with Excel 2007, you can enter up to 255 number arguments to the function. Excel 2003 would only accept up to 30 number arguments.

Arguments

Argument Description
num_1 The first number, cell reference, or range for which you want the average
[num_2], … Optional. Additional numbers, cell references or ranges for which you want the average, up to a maximum of 255

Note: Arguments to the AVERAGE function can be input as cell ranges, individual numbers, or number arrays.

The difference between AVERAGE and AVERAGEA functions is the way logical values, or text values within arrays or references are treated in the calculation of the arithmetic mean:

  AVERAGE AVERAGEA
Logical values or text representations of numbers, typed directly into the list of arguments Counted
(TRUE=1, FALSE=0)
Counted
(TRUE=1, FALSE=0)
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 arguments Ignored Counted
(TRUE=1, FALSE=0)
Text (including empty text “”, text representations of numbers, or other text), within arrays or reference arguments Ignored Counted as zero
Empty cells Ignored Ignored

Examples

  A B C D E
1 Data   Formula Result Notes
2 10   =AVERAGE(A2:A6) 7.25 Average of A2:A6; empty cells are ignored
3 7   =AVERAGE(A2:A6,12) 8.2 Average of A2:A6 and 12
4 9        
5          
6 3        

Usage note: If you want to include logical values and text representations of numbers in a reference as part of the calculation, use the AVERAGEA function.

Common Function Error(s)

Problem What went wrong
#DIV/0! Occurs if the values to be averaged are all non-numeric

The AVERAGE function measures central tendency, which is the location of the center of a group of numbers in a statistical distribution. The three most common measures of central tendency are:

  • Average – the arithmetic mean, and is calculated by adding a group of numbers and then dividing by the count of those numbers.
  • Median – the middle number of a group of numbers; that is, half the numbers have values that are greater than the median, and half the numbers have values that are less than the median.
  • Mode – the most frequently occurring number in a group of numbers.