A Tutorial on the OpenOffice Calc AVERAGE Function

OpenOffice Calc's built-in AVERAGE function makes calculating the average of a column easy.

Calc is the spreadsheet component of Apache's free Open Office suite of programs.

How an Average Is Calculated

An average is calculated by adding a group of numbers and dividing the total by the count of those numbers.

The example here calculates the average for the values in column C, which comes out to 13.5. If you were calculate this manually, you'd add all the numbers, and divide the sum by 6 (11 + 12 + 13+ 14 + 15 + 16 = 81; 81 ÷ 6 = 13.5). Instead of finding this average manually, however, you can tell OpenOffice Calc to do it for you using the AVERAGE function:


Should any of the values in the column change, the average update appropriately.

The AVERAGE Function's Syntax and Arguments

In OpenOffice and other spreadsheet programs such as Excel and Google Sheets, 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.

A function's arguments are the numbers affected by the function:

  • Argument number 1 (required)—the data to be averaged by the function
  • Argument number 2; ... number30 (optional)—additional data that can be added to the average calculations.

The arguments can contain:

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 cell reference into the dialog box on a separate argument line (for example, C5, E4, G2).

Example: Find the Average Value of a Column of Numbers

  1. Enter the following data into cells C1 to C6: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16.

    OpenOffice Calc spreadsheet
  2. Select Cell C7, where the results will be displayed.

  3. Select Insert > Function from the menu along the top of the screen.

    OpenOffice Calc Insert > Function
  4. Choose Statistical from the Category list.

    The Statistical category
  5. Select Average, and click or tap Next.

    The AVERAGE function
  6. 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.

    If you can't see the cells you need to click, drag the dialog box out of the way.

    OpenOffice Calc Functions Wizard AVERAGE
  7. The number 13.5 should appear in cell C7, which is the average for the numbers you entered in cells C1 to C6. When you select cell C7, the complete function =AVERAGE (C1:C6) appears in the input line above the worksheet

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