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: Referencing the Last Six Items in a Formula.

Referencing the Last Six Items in a Formula

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 24, 2016)

Darryl needs to find the average of the last six entries in a column. The number of items in the column can vary over time as more information is added, but he always wants the average of those last six items.

There are a number of different formulas you can use, probably too many to go over here in detail. With that in mind, it is instructive to look at two particular formulas. The one you choose to use will depend on the characteristics of the data in the column. If there are no blank cells in the column, then finding the average can be done with a relatively simple formula:

=AVERAGE(OFFSET(A1,COUNT(A:A)-6,0,6,1))

This formula uses the OFFSET function to calculate the proper cells to examine, at the bottom of the column. This formula won't work if there are blank cells in the column. In that case you will need to use a formula that examines the contents of each cell and determines, as part of the calculation process, whether it is blank or not. Array formulas or regular formulas using array functions are great for this purpose. The following example uses the SUMPRODUCT function to accomplish the task:

=SUMPRODUCT((A1:A30*((MAX(ROW(A1:A30)*(A1:A30<>""))-ROW(A1:A30))<6))/6)

This formula assumes that the cells to be evaluated are in the range of A1:A30; it doesn't matter if there are blank cells in this range. The ROW functions are used to create arrays that determine if the individual cells contain values or not. Only those rows containing values end up being counted, and those are divided by 6 and summed, providing the desired average.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3370) 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: Referencing the Last Six Items in a Formula.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Continually Saving Normal.dot

If your Normal.dot file is continually saved when you exit Word, even when you haven't made any changes to it, the culprit ...

Discover More

Checking for Messages in Cells

If you have a range of cells used to display error messages, you soon discover that it is easy to miss messages that may ...

Discover More

Comma-Delimited and MS-DOS CSV Variations

Excel provides different file formats you can use to export your worksheet information. One such file format is CSV, or comma ...

Discover More

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!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Shortcut for Viewing Formulas

If you need to switch between viewing formulas and viewing the results of those formulas, you'll love the keyboard shortcut ...

Discover More

Understanding Operators

At the heart of working with Excel is the process of creating formulas that calculate results based on information within a ...

Discover More

Counting Groupings Below a Threshold

When analyzing data, you may need to distill groupings from that data. This tip examines how you can use formulas and macros ...

Discover More
Subscribe

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

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is three more than 8?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

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.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

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

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.