How to Take the Average of a Column in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Taking the average of a column in Excel is a basic yet crucial skill, especially if you’re working with data. You’ll use the AVERAGE function to calculate this, which will save you tons of time and ensure accuracy. Just select the column, input the formula, and hit Enter. Easy peasy!

How to Take the Average of a Column in Excel

So, you want to find the average of a column in Excel? You’ve come to the right place! We’ll walk you through the steps to make it as simple as pie.

Step 1: Open your Excel Spreadsheet

First things first, you need to open the Excel file where your data is stored.

Once you’ve opened your file, make sure you can see the column that contains the numbers you want to average.

Step 2: Click on an Empty Cell

Next, click on an empty cell where you want the average result to appear.

This step is crucial because this empty cell will display your average. Make sure it’s not interfering with your other data.

Step 3: Type the AVERAGE Function

In the empty cell, type =AVERAGE(.

When you type this, a small tooltip might appear that shows you how to complete the formula. It’s like having a mini tutor right there!

Step 4: Select the Column

Drag your cursor over the column of numbers you want to average, or type the column letter and row numbers manually (e.g., B2:B15).

By dragging your cursor, you ensure that you’re selecting the right cells. If typing manually, double-check your range to avoid mistakes.

Step 5: Close the Parenthesis and Press Enter

Close the parenthesis in your formula by typing ) and then hit Enter.

Pressing Enter will instantly calculate and display the average of the numbers in the selected column.

After completing these steps, Excel will show the average value in the cell you selected. It’s like magic but better because it’s math!

Tips for Taking the Average of a Column in Excel

  • Check for Empty Cells: Empty cells can skew your average. Make sure to fill in gaps or adjust your range.
  • Use Named Ranges: If you frequently average the same column, consider naming the range for easier reference.
  • Watch for Errors: Be mindful of #DIV/0! errors, which occur if your range includes no numbers.
  • Exclude Headers: If your column has headers, start your range from the first number, not the header.
  • Use Conditional Formatting: Highlight cells with conditional formatting to quickly spot any outliers that may affect your average.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if some cells in the column are empty?

Excel will ignore empty cells when calculating the average. However, it’s always a good practice to review your data and fill in any necessary information.

Can I average only certain cells within a column?

Yes, you can. Instead of selecting the entire column, select only the cells you want to average. Simply adjust the range in your formula.

What happens if I include non-numeric cells in my range?

Excel will ignore non-numeric cells when calculating the average. However, make sure your range primarily contains numbers for accurate results.

How do I update the average if I add more data?

If you add more data to the column, simply adjust the range in your AVERAGE formula, or use dynamic ranges to automatically include new data.

Can I use the AVERAGE function on multiple columns?

Absolutely! You can select multiple columns by extending your range (e.g., B2:C15). This will calculate the average of all numbers within the specified range.


  1. Open your Excel Spreadsheet.
  2. Click on an Empty Cell.
  3. Type the AVERAGE Function.
  4. Select the Column.
  5. Close the Parenthesis and Press Enter.


And there you have it! Knowing how to take the average of a column in Excel can make handling data a breeze. Whether you’re dealing with school assignments, work reports, or personal projects, understanding this basic function will save you time and headaches.

Now that you’ve mastered this skill, why not explore other Excel functions? The SUM, COUNT, and IF functions can also be incredibly useful. Keep practicing, and soon you’ll be an Excel pro. And remember, the more you know about Excel, the more efficient and effective you can be in managing data. So, go ahead, dive in, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different functions. Happy analyzing!

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