Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Not Just Your Average Function
Figure 3–15. What you see when you click that arrow
Click the arrow and you’ll see a small list of additional functions, and pretty important ones, ones
I’ve used a million times:
Sum
Average
Count Numbers
Max
Min
How do these work and what do they do? To answer those questions in order—these functions
behave virtually identically to SUM, in the sense that they’re written in the same manner, with the same
kinds of range references and issues as described above. Moreover, each of these has an “Auto”
character—meaning that if you click beneath a column or to the right of a row of numbers, you can click
on their names and install them in the desired cell—just as with AutoSum.
Now let’s explain what these functions actually do.
Not Just Your Average Function
AVERAGE is a spreadsheet staple that performs as advertised—it computes the average of a range,
or a set of selected cells. Again, its structure is a virtual clone of SUM, so for example:
=AVERAGE(D23:D42)
returns the average of that range. As implied earlier in our discussion of SUM, AVERAGE ignores any
blank cell in a range, refusing to treat it as the mathematical equivalent of zero. Thus AVERAGE yields a
result of 8 for the range below, and not the 6.4 you’d compile if the blank cell were assigned an ad hoc
value of zero.
5
7
 
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