Calculates the average of all numbers in a range of cells based on a given criterion

Author: David Bickerton
David Bickerton
David Bickerton
Asset Management | Financial Analysis

Previously a Portfolio Manager for MDH Investment Management, David has been with the firm for nearly a decade, serving as President since 2015. He has extensive experience in wealth management, investments and portfolio management.

David holds a BS from Miami University in Finance.

Reviewed By: Rohan Arora
Rohan Arora
Rohan Arora
Investment Banking | Private Equity

Mr. Arora is an experienced private equity investment professional, with experience working across multiple markets. Rohan has a focus in particular on consumer and business services transactions and operational growth. Rohan has also worked at Evercore, where he also spent time in private equity advisory.

Rohan holds a BA (Hons., Scholar) in Economics and Management from Oxford University.

Last Updated:September 30, 2023

What is the AVERAGEIF Function?

The AVERAGEIF combines two Excel functions - the IF and AVERAGE functions.

A statistical function by nature, the AVERAGEIF function returns the average of the referenced range of cells based on the conditions that meet specific criteria.

Excel determines what data meets the specified criteria based on the IF function, and the AVERAGE function calculates the mean or average for ‘those’ criteria passing data cells. 

Averageif Function

You can use the AVERAGEIF function as a part of the formula in a cell since it is a worksheet function. 

Syntax for AVERAGEIF function

The syntax for the AVERAGEIF function is:

=AVERAGEIF(range, criteria, [average_range])


  • range (required parameter) = the range of cells to be checked for the criteria. It may include names, numbers, arrays, or numbers containing references.
  • criteria (required parameter) = the condition that defines how cells will be averaged. It may include names, numbers, arrays, or numbers containing references. E.g., “Stock”, 69, “<69” 
  • average_range (optional parameter) = the range of cells that will be averaged. If this average_range parameter is omitted, the range is used to calculate the average.

How to use the AVERAGEIF Function in Excel?

Let’s look at different examples for the AVERAGEIF function that finds the mean of cells that meet our criterion.

Criteria based on text 

One of the easiest and simplest examples for the function is to find the average based on matching text. Let’s assume that the WSO fund buys stock for its portfolio. First, we need to determine the average total buying amount for Tesla stock.

Criteria based on text

This can be achieved with the help of the formula =AVERAGEIF(D2:D11, “Tesla”, E2:E11), which gives us the result of $4,083. As we can see from the table, Tesla stock was bought on four instances, the sum of which equals $16,332.

But since we are finding the average, the total amount gets divided by four to give us the final result as $4,083 ($16,332 / 4). 

If you need to find the average amount for other stocks without changing the formula each time, you can use the data validation tool from the Data tab to let you have all the stock names in the drop-down menu.

This way, you can change the stock from here, and Excel will find the average for you. You can access the data validation tool by using the keyboard shortcut of Alt + A + V + V.

Single criteria AVERAGEIF Function


You can encounter duplicates if you directly reference the cells D2:D11 in the data validation tool. Remove duplicates from your data to overcome this issue.

Criteria based on logic

The logical operators such as: greater than (>), less than(<), equal to (=), greater than or equal to (>=), less than or equal to (<=), and not equal to (<>) can be used to calculate the average for a range of cells.

For example, assume that you need to find the average marks scored by students in the English subject.

Criteria based on logic

Here, you will use the formula =AVERAGEIF(B2:B13, ">55"), which results in 74.5 for the marks greater than 55 (condition) as illustrated below:

Criteria based on logic

The formula only calculates the average for the highlighted cells and returns the result in cell I3. Notice that we ignored the third parameter average_range in our formula? Because we ignored the parameter, Excel assumed the range parameter for calculating the average value.

Criteria based on cell reference

You can find the average value not just based on hardcoded values in the formula but also the cell references. For example, assume that you have 43 as the cutoff marks for English in cell I2. Then, you need to find the average for cells with scores higher than 43. 

For finding this, you can use the formula AVERAGEIF(B2:B13, ">"&I2), which will give you the result as illustrated below:

Criteria based on cell reference

By concatenating the cell and the comparison operators, you can work with different scenarios for your dataset. For example, if you get the result with recurring decimal numbers, you can use the ROUND function such that your formula becomes =ROUND(AVERAGEIF(B2:B13, ">"&I2), 2).

Not equal to criteria

Not equal to criteria is best used when you want to exclude specific values from your result of average. For example, assume that you buy certain products from Amazon from one of their year-end sales. Your Amazon shopping cart looks as follows:

Not Equal to Criteria

Since some items are free or on a 1 + 1 offer, their cost equals zero. Therefore, if you need to find the average price of the non-zero items, you can use the formula =AVERAGEIF(C3:C10, "<>0"), which will give you the result in cell F5 as:

Not Equal to Criteria


You can use a formula that works just like the AND function to find the AVERAGE of multiple AVERAGEIF functions. For example, suppose that you have the data for the marks scored by students in different subjects:


Let’s assume that you need to find the average marks of students who have scored more than 55 in English and Maths. To find this, you can use the formula =AVERAGE(AVERAGEIF(B2:B13, ">55"), AVERAGEIF(C2:C13, ">55")), which will give you the result of 75.96.


You can use up to 255 AVERAGEIF arguments inside the AVERAGE function to find the average of the AVERAGEIF.

AVERAGEIF for empty cells

Sometimes, you might need to find the average for cells corresponding to empty cells. Assume that you have the data below where column A has missing students:

AVERAGEIF for empty cells

You can apply the logic of text-based criteria here to return the average of cells that correspond to empty cells in column A.

The formula that you will be using here is =AVERAGEIF(A2:A13, "", B2:B13) which will calculate the average as (B3 + B7 + B11)/3 to give the result as 54, which is the average score of students whose names are missing.

AVERAGEIF for empty cells

AVERAGEIF with wildcards

Wildcards are \special characters that are used to return results by substituting them with other characters. The most common of wildcards used in Excel are:

  • Asterisk (*) - can represent n number of characters before or after the wildcard. For example, ab* will return true for aboveabductabandon, etc.
  • Question mark (?) - can represent only one single character. If more than one question mark is used as a wildcard, you can return values based on multiple characters. For example, ?a will return true for values such as panvanfan, while ??t will return true for fatcutbet, etc.

Let’s look at an example to understand how you can use these wildcards in real life. First, let’s assume that you want to find the average of expenses from your accounting journals that is illustrated below:

AVERAGEIF with wildcards

As you can see, all the expenses are represented by different names in the journal. Here, you can incorporate the use of wildcards by using the formula =AVERAGEIF(B3:B10, "*Expenses", C3:C10) to get the result of 55.67. 

Even if you write the formula as =AVERAGEIF(B3:B10, "*es", C3:C10), you will get the same result subject to the condition that no other word ends with “es” such as series, bikes, etc. 

AVERAGEIF with wildcards

Things to remember about the AVERAGEIF Function

  • The average_range parameter will be omitted if no value is assigned for it in the formula. Instead, the formula returns the average for the range parameter based on the criteria.
  • Excel will return #DIV/0! Error if none of the cells meet the given criteria. For example, in the data below, we can see that none of the prices are greater than $25.

Important things to remember

  • If we use the formula =AVERAGEIF(C3:C10, ">40") to get the average individual cost higher than $40, we will get #DIV/0! Error since no values match our criteria.
  • Excel will return #DIV/0! Error if your range consists of text. For example, if you forget to include the average_range parameter for text-based criteria by mistake, it will assume that it needs to find the average based on the range parameter. As illustrated below, by using the formula =AVERAGEIF(C3:C10, "Item A"), we get the r#DIV/0 error.

Important things to remember

  • If the criteria are text-based, you will need the average_range parameter in your formula.

More on Excel

To continue your journey towards becoming an Excel wizard, check out these additional helpful WSO resources.