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

Updating Calculated Fields in a Form

When creating a Word form, you use special form fields to collect information from users. You can even perform ...

Discover More

Turning Off Proofing for Superscripts

When you add superscripts to words in your document, you may not want those superscripts to be spell-checked. Here's how ...

Discover More

Formatting Footnotes and Endnotes

Footnotes and endnotes can be formatted in the same way that you format regular text in your document. There is an easier ...

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Filling References to Another Workbook

When you create references to cells in other workbooks, Excel, by default, makes the references absolute. This makes it ...

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

Solving Simultaneous Equations

One branch of mathematics allows you to work with what are called "simultaneous equations." Working with this type of ...

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 3?

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.