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

Moving Building Blocks

Building blocks are a sort of "extended" AutoText introduced in Word 2007. As you work with building blocks, you may ...

Discover More

Setting a Default File Format

Excel normally saves workbooks using a default file format that is peculiar to your version of the program. You can ...

Discover More

Removing Spaces

Need to get rid of spaces in a range of cells? There are two ways you can approach the task, as described here.

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Combining Cell Contents

Excel allows you to easily combine text together. The key is to understand and use the ampersand operator.

Discover More

Pulling a Phone Number with a Known First and Last Name

When using an Excel worksheet to store data (such as names and phone numbers), you may need a way to easily look up a ...

Discover More

Incrementing References by Multiples when Copying Formulas

You can easily set up a formula to perform some calculation on a range of cells. When you copy that formula, the copied ...

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. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. 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 minus 0?

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.