Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Determining a Simple Moving Average.

Determining a Simple Moving Average

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 29, 2017)

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:

=IF(A11>"",AVERAGE(A2:A11),"")

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.

Note that it is important in this approach to place the formula in cell B11, which means that the first 9 cells (B2:B10) will not have a formula in them. This is to be expected, as this is a ten-day moving average. There cannot be any average for the first 9 days, as you don't have a full 10 days to create your first average.

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:

=AVERAGE(OFFSET(A1,COUNTA(A:A)-1,0,-10,1))

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 (8347) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Determining a Simple Moving Average.

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. ...

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