When you work with large Excel spreadsheets, you’re bound to need the average of a data set sooner or later. You can add up all of the cells and divide them by the total number, but that’s usually slow and tedious. If you really want to save time, you have to know how to find the mean in Excel.

Just like almost every other Excel feature, you can reach your goal in a couple of different ways. Yes, you can add and divide as mentioned above, but there are multiple formulas to make life so much easier. Here’s what you need to know:

How to find the mean in Excel:

In Excel, there are four different formulas that you can use to find the mean. Those formulas are:

  • AVERAGE – returns the average of a set of numbers
  • AVERAGEA – returns the average of any data including numbers, booleans, and text
  • AVERAGEIF – finds an average of cells based on a single criteria
  • AVERAGEIFS – finds an average of cells based on multiple criteria

For this guide, we’ll start with the basics and work through each option.

AVERAGE formula

1. Say you have the spreadsheet shown below. Now you want to get the average of cells B2 through B8.

2. Type =AVERAGE( in the formula bar.

3. Add the cells you want to use. Either type B2:B8 making sure to separate with a colon or click and drag from B2 to B8.

4. Hit Enter and you’ll see your result.

If you want to take the average of a more specific data set — in our example we’ll use apples — you may find it better to use an AVERAGEIF formula.


1. Start the same way as above, enter =AVERAGEIF( into the formula bar.

2. Now you have to enter two sets of information into the formula. First, enter A2:A8 to find just the fruit cells. Then enter A2 to note that you want to search for apples. The final part of your formula should read B2:B8 to find the average of your sales. The formula should read as follows: =AVERAGEIF(A2:A8, A2, B2:B8).

3. Hit enter to see your result!

The AVERAGEIFS formula works the same way as the AVERAGEIF formula, but you can use multiple criteria instead.

Related: How to find duplicates in Excel

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