How to Find the Mean in Microsoft Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Finding the mean, or the average, in Microsoft Excel is a simple task that can be completed in just a few clicks. All you need to do is use the AVERAGE function, which calculates the mean of a group of numbers. After inputting the function and selecting your data range, Excel will compute the average for you.

After you complete this action, Excel will display the mean of the selected numbers in the cell where you entered the function. This is helpful for quickly analyzing data, as the mean provides a central value that summarizes the entire data set.


When it comes to data analysis, calculating the mean is one of the most fundamental operations you can perform. The mean, also known as the average, represents the central value of a set of numbers. It’s the sum of all the values divided by the number of values. In other words, it’s a way of finding the “middle ground” of your data.

Why is this important, you might ask? Well, the mean can tell us a lot about a dataset. For students, it might mean figuring out your average grade for the semester. For a business, it could be the average sales per day. Essentially, it’s a quick and easy method to get a handle on your numbers.

Microsoft Excel is a powerful tool that can make this process even easier. Whether you’re a student crunching numbers for a project, a small business owner analyzing daily sales, or just someone trying to make sense of their household expenses, learning to find the mean in Excel is an essential skill. It’s not just about doing the math; it’s about gaining insights into your data that can inform your decisions. So let’s dive into the how-to, and you’ll be an Excel pro in no time.

Step by Step Tutorial to Calculate the Mean in Microsoft Excel

The following steps will guide you through calculating the mean using the AVERAGE function in Excel.

Step 1: Open your data in Excel

Open the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that contains the data you want to analyze.

This first step is pretty straightforward. Just make sure all the numbers you want to find the mean for are listed in the spreadsheet. The great thing about Excel is that it can handle large sets of numbers with ease, so don’t worry if you have a lot of data to work through.

Step 2: Select the cell for the mean

Click on the cell where you want the mean to be displayed.

Choosing the right cell is important because this is where the result, your mean, will appear. Think of it as the home for your calculation. Once you’ve selected your cell, you’re ready for the next step.

Step 3: Type the AVERAGE function

Type =AVERAGE( into the selected cell.

This step is where the magic starts to happen. By typing =AVERAGE(, you’re telling Excel to prepare to calculate an average. The equals sign is necessary because it signals to Excel that you’re entering a formula.

Step 4: Select your data range

Highlight the cells containing the numbers you want to average, then close the parentheses.

After typing in the AVERAGE function, you need to tell Excel which numbers to calculate. Click and drag to highlight all the numbers you want included in the mean. Once that’s done, don’t forget to close the parentheses to complete the function!

Step 5: Press Enter

Press the Enter key on your keyboard to calculate the mean.

This is the final step in the process. After pressing Enter, Excel will do its thing and the mean will appear in the cell you selected. Congratulations, you’ve just found the mean in Excel!


SpeedOne of the main benefits of using Excel to find the mean is speed. Instead of adding up all the numbers and dividing by the total count manually, Excel does it all in a fraction of a second.
AccuracyWith Excel, human error is reduced. No more second-guessing if you’ve added or divided correctly; Excel ensures your mean is accurate.
ConvenienceBeing able to calculate the mean within Excel means you can do all your data analysis in one place, without the need for external calculators or software.


Data Entry ErrorsWhile Excel will accurately calculate the mean, it’s only as good as the data entered. If there are errors in the data input, the calculated mean will be incorrect.
OversimplificationThe mean is just one type of average and doesn’t always give the full picture. For skewed data, the median or mode might be a better measure of central tendency.
Lack of UnderstandingRelying on Excel’s functions without understanding the math behind them can lead to a lack of depth in data analysis skills.

Additional Information

While finding the mean in Excel is a straightforward process, there are a few extra tips and tricks that can help you get even more out of the software. For instance, you can use the AVERAGEIF function to calculate the mean of numbers that meet certain criteria. This can be incredibly handy when you have a large dataset and only need the average for a specific subset.

Another useful tip is to double-check your data range selection before hitting Enter. This ensures that you’re only including the numbers you want in the calculation. Also, remember that the mean is sensitive to outliers – extremely high or low numbers in your dataset can skew the average. In such cases, consider using the TRIMMEAN function, which excludes outliers from the calculation.

Lastly, Excel offers a host of other statistical functions that complement the mean. You could explore using the MEDIAN, MODE, or even the more advanced statistical analysis tools available in Excel for a deeper dive into your data. The key takeaway here is that Excel is more than just a calculator; it’s a comprehensive data analysis tool that can help you make informed decisions based on your numbers.


  1. Open your data in Excel.
  2. Select the cell for the mean.
  3. Type the AVERAGE function.
  4. Select your data range.
  5. Press Enter to calculate the mean.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between the mean and the median?

The mean is the average of a set of numbers, while the median is the middle value when the numbers are arranged in order.

Can Excel calculate the mean of non-numeric data?

No, Excel’s AVERAGE function only works with numeric data.

How does Excel handle empty cells in the data range?

Excel automatically ignores empty cells when calculating the mean.

What if I want to include logical values or text representations of numbers in my mean calculation?

You can use the AVERAGEA function, which includes logical values and text in the calculation.

How can I exclude outliers from the mean calculation in Excel?

You can use the TRIMMEAN function, which allows you to exclude a percentage of the highest and lowest values from the calculation.


In this digital age where data is king, knowing how to quickly and accurately find the mean in Microsoft Excel is a critical skill that can give you an edge in any field. Whether you’re managing business operations, analyzing scientific data, or just trying to keep track of household finances, Excel’s AVERAGE function is a tool that simplifies the process and delivers clear, concise results.

Remember, while Excel is incredibly powerful, it’s also important to understand the data you’re working with and the limitations of the tools at your disposal. So go ahead, harness the power of Excel to find the mean, and make your data work for you.

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