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26 Oct 2015, 11:19 am
Ignoring Zeros in Average Calculations (Issue 59)
Not so Average
This week I had to calculate the averages of test results for an important report. Students generally did really well, mostly in the high 70’s and 80’s. Yet the averages were very low due to a few students who did not write the tests. Results for these students were therefore automatically entered as “0” and negatively affected the averages of the whole group.
As I could not completely remove these students from the lists, I needed a way to calculate the averages while IGNORING any ZERO values.
So let’s look at this an old favourite in Excel: the AVERAGE formula. (Remember that older versions of Excel still require the use of commas instead of semi-colons!)
• NUMBERS IN A CONTIGUOUS ROW OR COLUMN
A simple AVERAGE formula might look something like this:
This will calculate an average of ALL the numbers in the range A1:A9, including zero values.
• NUMBERS NOT IN A CONTIGUOUS ROW OR COLUMN
Should you want to calculate an average of only certain values, the formula might look something like this:
In this example Excel averages the top three and the last number in the range A2:A7
• IGNORING ZERO (0) VALUES
To ignore zero values, combine the AVERAGE formula with the IF formula. Here is an example:
In this example Excel averages the numbers in the list except those that contain zero.
Note: The formula must be entered as an array formula. After typing the formula into the cell, select the cell, press F2, and then press CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER. If the formula is not entered as an array formula, the error #VALUE! is returned.
The average is also called the mean.
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