Mathematically, there are a number of ways of measuring *central tendency* or, as it is more commonly called, the average for a set of values. These methods include the *arithmetic mean*, the *median*, and the *mode*. The most commonly calculated measure of central tendency is the arithmetic mean - or simple average. To make it easier to the arithmetic mean, Open Office Calc has a built-in function, called, not surprisingly, the AVERAGE function.

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How the Average is Calculated

The average is calculated by adding a group of numbers together and then dividing by the count of those numbers.

As shown in the example in the image above, the average for the values: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16 when divided by 6, which is 13.5 as shown in cell C7.

Instead of finding this average manually, however, this cell contains the AVERAGE function:

=AVERAGE(C1:C6)

which not only finds the arithmetic mean for the current range of values but will also give you an updated answer should the data in this group of cells change.

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The AVERAGE Function's Syntax

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

The syntax for the AVERAGE function is:

=AVERAGE ( number 1; number 2; ...number30 )

Up to 30 numbers can be averaged by the function.

### The AVERAGE Function's Arguments

number 1 (required) - the data to be averaged by the function

number 2; ... number30 (optional) - additional data that can be added to the average calculations.

The arguments can contain:

- a list of numbers to be averaged
- cell references to the location of the data in the worksheet
- a range of cell references

### Example: Find the Average Value of a Column of Numbers

- Enter the following data into cells C1 to C6: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16;
- Click on cell C7 - the location where the results will be displayed;
- Click on the
*Function Wizard*icon - as shown in the image above - to open the*Function Wizard*dialog box; - Select
*Statistical*from the Category list; - Select
*Average*from the Function list; - Click Next;
- Highlight cells C1 to C6 in the spreadsheet to enter this range into the dialog box in the
**number 1**argument line; - Click OK to complete the function and close the dialog box;
- The number "13.5 " should appear in the cell C7, this is the average for the numbers entered in cells C1 to C6.
- When you click on cell C7 the complete function
**=AVERAGE ( C1:C6 )**appears in the input line above the worksheet

**Note:** If the data you want to average is spread out in individual cells in the worksheet rather than in a single column or row, enter each individual cell reference into the dialog box on a separate argument line - such as **number 1, number 2, number 3.**