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Determining a Simple Moving Average

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Determining a Simple Moving Average.

Jeff needs to create a formula that will return a moving average for a range of cells. He adds data to the worksheet daily and he always want to have an average of the last ten days' information. This always corresponds to the last ten cells in a column.

There are a couple of easy ways you can approach this problem. The solution you choose depends on what you ultimately want to see in the way of an average. For instance, if you want to see how the average changes over time, the best approach is to add an additional column to your worksheet. If the data is in column A (starting in row 2), then you can enter the following formula in cell B11:


Copy the formula down the column, and you will always have the average of the last ten days shown. As you add new data to column A, the updated moving average appears at the bottom of column B. The advantage is that you can see how the average changes from day to day.

If you don't want to add another column for each day's moving average, you can use a different formula to determine the current moving average. Assuming there are no blanks in column A and that there are more than ten pieces of data in the column, you could use the following formula:


The OFFSET function defines the range to average. It looks at the number of cells in column A and selects the last 10 as the desired range.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8345) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Determining a Simple Moving Average.

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