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Basic Excel Functions: Sum, Average, Count, Countif

These tutorial videos will teach you the most popular statistical functions used in Excel, with examples. When applying these, you will quickly notice the great benefits that an electronic spreadsheet has over using a simple calculator.
SUM - Calculating the sum of numbers
AVERAGE - Calculating the average of numbers
MAX, MIN - Highest and lowest numbers
COUNT - Counting the cells that contain numbers
COUNTIF - Counting cells that match some specific criteria
COUNTA - Counting cells that contain any value
COUNTBLANK - Counting the empty cells

In order to have a cell showing the result of a statistical calculation (like the sum or the average of some other cells), we use what is called a “Function”.

We get the function by clicking a button, or by writing a short code composed of few letters.

Here is a description of the functions learned, with the relevant “function code” appearing at the beginning of each paragraph:


SUM – A sum function. Use it when you want a cell to show the sum of numbers written in a selected range of cells.
For example: you took 5 different loans during the past year, and you want to calculate their total sum.


AVERAGE – An average function. Use it when you want a cell to show the average of numbers written in a selected range.
For example: you have made nice income during the past week, and you want to calculate your average income per day.


MAX – The highest number. Use it when you want a cell to show the highest number within a selected range.
For example: you have a list of test scores, and you want a certain cell to show the highest score among them.
Another example: you have a list of sales made during this month, and you want a cell to show the highest sale.


MIN – The lowest number. The same as MAX, but relates to the lowest number.


COUNT – Counts numbers. Use it when you want to count how many numbers are there in a selected range.
For example, you have a list of students, of which some of them got scholarships. Using the COUNT function you can know how many students got scholarships. What you will do is count using this function the cells containing the scholarships amounts.
Another example: you have a big table of products with their prices. Because every product has only one price, counting the prices will tell you how many products you have.


COUNTIF – Use Excel Countif function when you want to count how many occurrences of a specific criteria appear in a selected range.
For example: How many times does the name “Jack” appear in a list of worker names?
Another Countif Excel example: How many prices higher than $1000 are there in a given price list?


COUNTA – Counts all the cells in a selected range that contain any value (cells that are not empty). This is a broader version of the COUNT function, because it counts cells containing numbers, as well as texts.
For example, you have a large amount of data, and you want to count how many items does it consist. These items can be student names, ID numbers, salary payments, addresses, dates etc.


COUNTBLANK – Counts all the empty cells in a selected range. Use it when you want to know how many cells in a selected range do not contain any value.
For example: a few students didn’t hand their homework, therefore didn’t get a score. If you want to know how many students didn’t hand their work, use the COUNTBLANK function on the score list, and see how many cells are empty, meaning: didn’t get a score.