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Simple formulas in Excel: SUM and AVERAGE

January 26, 2012

Excel can be a powerful tool for your business, but it can also be daunting with its formulas, charts, and formatting. This month we’ll take a look at two simple but very useful formulas, and how to make them work for you.

You can also view the quick video version of this tip, that demonstrates all the methods of summing and averaging numbers.

Adding Up Numbers

You have multiple columns or rows of numbers. You don’t want to have to add them all up on your calculator, and you don’t want to have to re-add them if the numbers change. The simplest solution? Use AutoSum!

To add up a row or column of numbers, highlight all of the cells you want to add up (either vertically down a column or horizontally in a row), and then click AutoSum on the ribbon in the Editing group.

If you want to type the SUM formula, so you can have even more control, click in any empty cell and type =SUM(CELL:CELL), where CELL:CELL are the first and last cells in your range. A finished formula would look like =SUM(A1:A12). Hit Enter on your keyboard and your sum should appear!

Averaging Numbers

The AVERAGE formula works the same as the SUM formula. To use it, select a range of numbers and then click the down arrow next to AutoSum on the Ribbon. From the drop-down list, select Average.

If you want to type the AVERAGE formula, it works the same way as the SUM formula as well. In a blank cell, type =AVERAGE(CELL:CELL), where CELL:CELL are the first and last cells in the range you want to average. Then hit Enter on your keyboard and your average number will appear.

Watch the video version

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