If you’re tasked with calculating mean for a group of numbers, you can do so in just minutes using Microsoft Excel. With the AVERAGE function, you can find the arithmetic mean, which is average, using a simple formula.

We’ll show you several examples of how you can use the AVERAGE function to do this. These can accommodate most any data set and will help with your data analysis.

## What is Mean?

Mean is a statistical term used to explain a set of numbers and has three forms. You can calculate the arithmetic mean, geometric mean, or harmonic mean.

For this tutorial, we’ll explain how to calculate the arithmetic mean which is known in math as the average.

To obtain the result, you sum your group of values and divide the result by the number of values. As an example, you can use these equations to find the average, or mean, for numbers 2, 4, 6, and 8:

=(2+4+6+8)/4

=20/4

=5

As you can see, you first add 2, 4, 6, and 8 to receive the total of 20. Then, divide that total by 4, which is the number of values you just summed. This gives you a mean of 5.

In Excel, the AVERAGE function is considered a summary function, and it allows you to find the mean for a set of values.

The syntax for the formula is “AVERAGE(value1, value2,…)” where the first argument is required. You can include up to 255 numbers, cell references, or ranges as arguments.

You also have the flexibility to include a combination of numbers, references, or ranges in the formula.

Something to keep in mind when using the AVERAGE function is that blank cells are not the same as cells with zeros. To avoid skewing your formula’s result, enter zeros in any empty cells if the intended value there is zero.

Text values can give you incorrect results as well, so be sure to only use numeric values in the cells referenced in the formula. As an alternative, you can check out the AVERAGEA function in Excel.

Let’s look at some examples for calculating mean with the AVERAGE function in Excel.

## Use the Sum Button to Average Numbers

One of the easiest ways to enter the formula for the AVERAGE function is using a simple button. Excel is smart enough to recognize the numbers you want to use, giving you a quick mean calculation.

1. Select the cell where you want the average (mean).
2. Go to the Home tab and open the Sum drop-down list in the Editing section of the ribbon.
3. Choose Average from the list.
1. You’ll see the formula appear in your cell with what Excel believes you want to calculate.
1. If this is correct, use Enter or Return to accept the formula and view your result.

If the suggested formula isn’t correct, you can adjust it using one of the options below.

## Create a Formula With the AVERAGE Function

Using the syntax described earlier, you can manually create the formula for the AVERAGE function for numbers, references, ranges, and combinations.

#### Create a Formula for Numbers

If you want to enter the numbers that you want the mean for, you simply type them into the formula as arguments. Be sure to separate the numbers with commas.

Using this formula, we’ll get the average for numbers 10, 20, 30, and 40:

=AVERAGE(10,20,30,40)

#### Create a Formula with Cell References

To obtain the mean for values in cells, you can either select the cells or type the cell references in the formula.

Here, we’ll get the average for cells B2, B4, B6, and B8 with this formula followed by Enter or Return:

=AVERAGE(B2,B4,B6,B8)

You can type the equal sign, function and opening parenthesis. Then, just select each cell to place it into the formula and add the closing parenthesis. Alternatively, you can type the cell references with a comma between each.

Again, you’ll immediately see your result in the cell containing the formula.

#### Create a Formula for Cell Ranges

Maybe you want the mean for a range of cells or groups of ranges. You can do this by selecting or entering the ranges separated by commas.

With the following formula, you can calculate the average for cells B2 through D6:

=AVERAGE(B2:B6)

Here, you can type the equal sign, function and opening parenthesis, then simply select the cell range to pop it into the formula. Again, you can enter the range manually if you prefer.

Using this next formula, you can calculate the average for the cell ranges B2 through B6 and D2 through D6:

=AVERAGE(B2:B6,D2:D6)

#### Create a Formula for a Combination of Values

For one final example, you might want to calculate the mean for a combination of ranges, cells, and numbers.

Here, we’ll find the average for cells B2 through B6, C2 and D2, and the numbers 10 and 15 using this formula:

=AVERAGE(B2:B6,C2,D2,10,15)

Just like the formulas above, you can use a mixture of selecting the cells and typing the numbers.