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

Finding the median in Excel might sound like a task for math wizards, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. In essence, the median is the middle number in a set of data. If you have an odd number of data points, it’s the number smack dab in the center; if you’ve got an even number, it’s the average of the two middle numbers. Now, let’s dive into Excel and get that median!

Step by Step Tutorial: Finding the Median in Excel

Before we jump into the steps, let’s understand what we’re aiming for. Excel has a built-in function called MEDIAN that does the heavy lifting for us. By following these steps, you’ll learn how to use this function to quickly find the median of any data set.

Step 1: Select the Cells

Click and drag to select the cells that contain the data you want to find the median of.

Selecting the right cells is crucial. Make sure you’ve included all the data points you want to calculate the median for – if you miss one, it’ll throw off your result!

Step 2: Type the Formula

With the cells selected, type “=MEDIAN(” into the formula bar and then hit Enter.

After typing in the formula, Excel will highlight the cells you’ve selected, showing you exactly what data is being included in the calculation.

Step 3: Close the Formula

Press the Enter key to close the formula and calculate the median.

As simple as that, Excel will crunch the numbers and spit out the median value for your selected data. It’ll appear right where you’ve typed the formula.

After completing these actions, you’ll have the median of your data set clearly displayed in Excel. You can use this information for further analysis or simply to satisfy your curiosity.

Tips: Excel Median Mastery

  • Always ensure your data is sorted correctly. While sorting isn’t necessary for finding the median, it can help you double-check your work.
  • If your data set has outliers (data points that are significantly higher or lower than the others), consider whether including them will skew your median.
  • Remember that the median is different from the mean, which is the average of a data set.
  • Use the median when you want to find the central tendency of your data without extreme values skewing the result.
  • If you’re finding the median for a large data set, consider using Excel’s “Data Analysis” tool for even more insights into your data.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my data set has an even number of data points?

If you have an even number of data points, Excel will automatically calculate the average of the two middle numbers for you.

Can I use the median function with non-numeric data?

No, the MEDIAN function only works with numbers. If you try to use it with text or other non-numeric data, it won’t give you a result.

Does the order of my data matter when calculating the median?

For finding the median, the order of your data does not matter. Whether it’s sorted or not, Excel will find the middle value(s) for you.

Can I find the median of multiple ranges at once?

Yes, you can find the median of multiple ranges by selecting them while holding down the Ctrl key before entering the median formula.

Is there a quick way to select a large data set?

Yes, you can click on the first cell of your data, hold down Shift, and then click on the last cell. Excel will automatically select everything in between.


  1. Select the cells containing your data.
  2. Type “=MEDIAN(” into the formula bar.
  3. Press Enter to close the formula and calculate the median.


Congratulations, you’ve just mastered finding the median in Excel! With this handy skill up your sleeve, you can analyze and understand your data sets much better. Whether you’re crunching numbers for a business report, compiling research data, or just satisfying personal curiosity, knowing how to find the median is incredibly useful. Plus, now that you can differentiate between the average (mean) and the median, you’re equipped to choose the best measure of central tendency for your needs.

Remember that the median is particularly useful in data sets with outliers or skewed distributions. It gives you a more accurate picture of the ‘middle’ without being affected by extreme values. With the tips and FAQ section provided, you should be able to navigate any median-related challenges that come your way.

As you continue to work with Excel, explore other functions and tools it has to offer. Excel is a powerful program with a myriad of features that can help you manipulate and understand your data. The more you learn, the more you’ll be able to accomplish. So don’t stop here—keep learning, keep practicing, and keep finding those medians!

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