**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: Excluding Values from Averaging.

You've seen it on the Olympics and in other sporting events: The average score for an athlete is determined by throwing out the highest score and the lowest score, and then averaging the rest. You may have a need to do similar types of averages. For instance, you may be a teacher and need to exclude the two lowest assignment scores before calculating an average.

To perform this type of averaging, all you need to remember is that an average is calculated by summing all the values in a range and then dividing that sum by the number of items in that range. The SUM function easily provides the sum, and the COUNT function can be used to find out the number of items in the range. How to exclude the two lowest values in the range? You can use the SMALL function.

Consider the following formula, which assumes you want to find an adjusted average of the range A10:A14:

=(SUM(A10:A14)-SMALL(A10:A14,1)-SMALL(A10:A14,2))/(COUNT(A10:A14)-2)

The SMALL function is used to determine the two lowest values in the range, and these are subtracted from the overall sum of the range. The resulting value is then divided by the COUNT of values in the range. Note, as well, that the COUNT value is decreased by 2 to compensate for the fact you are ignoring the two lowest values.

Another way to calculate the same average is to use an array formula. The following one does the trick:

=AVERAGE(IF(A10:A14>SMALL(A10:A14,2),A10:A14))

Since this is an array formula, you need to enter it by pressing **Ctrl+Shift+Enter** instead of just pressing **Enter**. This formula still relies on the use of the SMALL function, but it also uses the actual AVERAGE function to return a result. Since this is an array formula, it examines each of the values in the array (the range) and only considers them for use in the average if they are larger than the second smallest value in the array.

While the array formula is shorter than the longer regular formula, there is one caveat to keep in mind: The array formula will produce an undesired result if there is a two-way "tie" in the second-lowest value in the range, or a three-way tie in the lowest value. For instance, if the values being averaged are 3, 2, 10, 3, and 7, then the array formula will produce an average of 8.5. Why? Because only the values 10 and 7 are above the second-lowest value, and the average of those two is 8.5. If you use the longer formula, first presented above, then the average returned is 6.666667, which is the average of 10, 3, and 7.

If you try these formulas and they don't work, you should check to make sure that you have the Analysis ToolPak installed. The SMALL function is a part of that ToolPak.

*ExcelTips* is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training.
This tip (2050) 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: **Excluding Values from Averaging**.

**Excel Smarts for Beginners!** Featuring the friendly and trusted *For Dummies* style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out *Excel 2013 For Dummies* today!

When you construct a formula and click on a cell in a different workbook, an absolute reference to that cell is placed in the ...

Discover MoreNeed to count the number of cells in a range that are not blank? You can use the COUNTA function of a more complex formula to ...

Discover MoreThe FIND and SEARCH functions are great for finding the initial occurrence of a character in a text string, but what if you ...

Discover More**FREE SERVICE:** Get tips like this every week in *ExcelTips,* a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

Got a version of Excel that uses the
menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)?
**This site is for you!** If you
use a later version of Excel, visit
our *ExcelTips* site focusing on the ribbon interface.

**FREE SERVICE:** Get tips like this every week in *ExcelTips,* a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

Copyright © 2017 Sharon Parq Associates, Inc.

2017-02-13 10:45:25

Samantha

Thanks for the post! This is perfect to calculate that final grade :)