How to Use the Google Spreadsheets AVERAGE Function

Find the numerical average value in a dataset

What to Know

  • To use the AVERAGE function, select the cell where you want the results displayed, then select Insert > Function > AVERAGE.
  • Select the cells you want to enter as arguments and press Enter. The average number appears in the selected cell.
  • Blank cells are ignored by the AVERAGE function, but cells containing a zero value are counted.

This article explains how to use the AVERAGE function in Google Sheets. Sheets has several functions that make it easy to find some of the more commonly used average values. The AVERAGE function finds the arithmetic mean for a list of numbers.

Finding the AVERAGE Function

As with all other built-in functions in Google Spreadsheets, you can access the AVERAGE function by selecting Insert > Function in the menus to open a drop-down list of commonly used functions that includes the AVERAGE function.

Alternatively, because it is so widely used, a shortcut to the function has been added to the program's toolbar to make it even easier to find and use.

The icon on the toolbar for this and several other popular functions is the Greek letter Sigma (Σ).

Google Spreadsheets AVERAGE Function Example

The steps below cover how to use the shortcut to the AVERAGE function mentioned above.

  1. Select the cell where the formula results will be displayed.

  2. Select the Functions icon on the toolbar above the worksheet to open the drop-down list of functions.

    Google Sheets Function icon
  3. Select Average from the list to place a blank copy of the function in the cell.

    Google Sheets Average function in menu
  4. Select the cells you want to enter as arguments for the function and press the Enter key on the keyboard.

    Arguments entered in cells
  5. The average number should appear in the selected cell. When you select the cell, the complete function appears in the formula bar above the worksheet.

    Average result in cell

Individual cells, rather than a continuous range, can be added as arguments, but a comma must separate each cell reference. 

After entering the function, if you make changes to the data in the selected cells, the function, by default, automatically recalculates to reflect the change.

The AVERAGE Function's Syntax and Arguments

A function's syntax refers to the layout of the function and includes the function's name, brackets, comma separators, and arguments.

The syntax for the AVERAGE function is:

=AVERAGE(number_1, number_2, ...number_30)

  • number_1 — (required) the data to be averaged by the function
  • number_2 to number_30 — (optional) additional data values to be included in the average. The maximum number of entries allowed is 30

The number arguments can contain:

Text entries and cells containing Boolean values (TRUE or FALSE) are ignored by the function.

If you alter cells that are blank or contain text or Boolean values later to hold numbers, the average will recalculate to accommodate the changes.

Blank Cells vs. Zero

When it comes to finding average values in Google Spreadsheets, there is a difference between blank or empty cells and those containing a zero value.

Blank cells are ignored by the AVERAGE function, which can be very handy since it makes finding the average for non-contiguous cells of data very easy. Cells containing a zero value, however, are included in the average.

Check out our guides on how to use the MEDIAN function, which finds the middle value in a list of numbers, and the MODE function, which finds the most commonly occurring value in a list of numbers.

  • How do I search in Google Sheets?

    To search data in Google Sheets, launch the app and select Edit > Find and Replace. Next to Find, enter the data you'd like to search for. If you want to specify replacement data, enter it next to Replace With. Next to Search, select the Sheet to search. Select Find > Replace or Replace All.

  • How do I merge data in Google Sheets?

    To merge spreadsheet cells in Google Sheets, highlight the cells you want to merge, and then select Merge from the toolbar (the icon looks like a square with arrows pointed inward). To specify merge behavior, select Merge All, Merge Horizontally, or Merge Vertically. Select Undo Merge if you change your mind.

  • How do I alphabetize in Google Sheets?

    Highlight the cells you want to alphabetize. (Freeze the first row if you have a header row.) Select Data > Sort Range > Advanced range sorting options. Select Data has header row if you have column titles. Select the first column, choose to sort alphabetically, and select Sort.

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