How to Calculate Mean in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Calculating the mean in Excel is a breeze once you get the hang of it. It involves just a few simple steps: entering your data, using the AVERAGE function, and voila, you have your mean! This little guide will help you master this useful skill in no time.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Calculate Mean in Excel

Before we dive into the steps, let’s understand what we’re aiming for. The mean, often referred to as the average, is the sum of a list of numbers divided by the count of numbers in the list. Excel has a built-in function to calculate it quickly and easily.

Step 1: Enter your data

Input your list of numbers into a column or row in Excel.

When entering your data, make sure there are no empty cells between your numbers as Excel will count these as zero, which can skew your mean.

Step 2: Click on an empty cell

Select an empty cell where you want the mean to be displayed.

This cell will display the result of the AVERAGE function, so choose a place where it is clearly visible and does not interfere with your data.

Step 3: Type the AVERAGE function

Type “=AVERAGE()” into the cell, with your range of numbers inside the parentheses.

For example, if your numbers are in cells A1 to A5, you would type “=AVERAGE(A1:A5)”. Make sure not to include any spaces within the parentheses.

Step 4: Press Enter

After typing the function, press Enter to calculate the mean.

The mean of your list of numbers will now be displayed in the cell you selected. If you change any of the numbers in your list, the mean will automatically update.

After completing these steps, you’ll have the mean of your data calculated. This can be useful for a variety of tasks, such as data analysis or simply gaining insight into a set of numbers.

Tips: How to Calculate Mean in Excel

  • Ensure all your numbers are in the same column or row for easy calculation.
  • Avoid leaving blank cells within your data range, as Excel will consider them as zeros.
  • Remember, you can include cell references (like A1:A5) or actual numbers (like 2,5,7) in the AVERAGE function.
  • Use the fill handle (a small square at the bottom-right corner of the cell) to drag and apply the same AVERAGE function to other rows or columns.
  • Double-check the cell range in the AVERAGE function to ensure it encompasses all the numbers you want to include in the mean calculation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I have a large data set?

If you’re dealing with a large data set, click and drag to select all the cells, or use the “Shift” or “Ctrl” key to select multiple cells. Then, enter the AVERAGE function.

Can I calculate the mean of non-adjacent cells?

Yes, you can calculate the mean of non-adjacent cells by separating the cell references with a comma within the AVERAGE function, like so: “=AVERAGE(A1, A3, A5)”.

What if my cells have text and numbers?

The AVERAGE function only calculates the mean of numerical values. Cells with text will be ignored.

Does the AVERAGE function round the mean?

The AVERAGE function will display the mean up to the number of decimal places set in the cell format. You can increase or decrease this number by using the Increase Decimal or Decrease Decimal buttons on the Home tab.

What is the difference between the MEAN and AVERAGE?

In Excel, MEAN and AVERAGE are often used interchangeably. However, technically, MEAN refers to the mathematical concept, while AVERAGE is the Excel function name.


  1. Enter your data into a column or row.
  2. Click on an empty cell.
  3. Type the AVERAGE function with your range of numbers.
  4. Press Enter to calculate the mean.


Crunching numbers in Excel doesn’t have to be daunting, and calculating the mean is a fundamental skill that can come in handy in various scenarios—whether you’re a student analyzing data for a project, a business owner reviewing sales figures, or just someone trying to make sense of numbers. Remember, the AVERAGE function is your friend, and with the steps outlined in this article, you’ll be computing means like a pro in no time. Go ahead, give it a try and watch those averages come to life. Happy calculating!

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