Calculating Averages Using Excel Statistical Functions
Need to calculate statistical averages? Microsoft Excel supplies several easy-to-use statistical functions for just such a purpose says bestselling computer book author Stephen L. Nelson
Excel provides useful functions for finding the mean, median, and mode of a data set. In general, the functions look at a set of values and then make the expected calculation. For example, the mean functions, which calculate averages, take the sum of the values in the set and divide it by the number of values.
The AVERAGE function ignores cells that contain text, that are empty, or that contain logical values. To use the AVERAGE function, simply enter the data set range as the single argument using the following syntax:
=AVERAGE (data set range)
For example, if you wanted to find the average birth rate per 1,000 people in the United States in 1996 using the data in Figure 4-11, you would use the following formula:
The function returns the value 14.27.
The AVERAGEA function includes cells containing text or logical values in the calculation. Excel includes cells containing the word TRUE as the value 1 in the calculation; it includes cells containing the word FALSE or any other text as the value 0.To use the AVERAGEA function, simply enter the data set range as the single argument in the function using the following syntax:
=AVERAGEA (data set range)
The median is the middle value in a set of values. Half of the data in the set fall above this value and half fall below, so the median estimates the 50% quantile.
The MEDIAN function uses the following syntax:
=MEDIAN (data set range)
If the data set contains an even number of values, Excel averages the two middle values.
The mode is the most-frequently occurring value in a set of values.
When Excel calculates the mode, it ignores empty cells and cells containing text or logical values. The MODE function uses the following syntax:
=MODE (data set range)
Geometric Mean (GEOMEAN)
If you have a set of n numbers, the geometric mean of the set is the nth root of the product of the numbers.
=GEOMEAN (data set range)
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Seattle CPA Stephen L. Nelson is the author of two hundred how-to books about using computers, including MBA's Guide to Microsoft Excel, from which this short article is adapted. Nelson also publishes the http://www.scorporationsexplained.com/, http://www.llcsexplained.com/ and http://www.fasteasyincorporationkits.com/ websites.