Averaging without Hidden Cells

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 14, 2023)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


Susie has a worksheet that has quite a bit of data in it. It is not unusual for her to hide columns within the worksheet. She needs a formula that will return the average of a range of cells, all in the same row, while ignoring any hidden cells. For instance, if Susie selects B7:G7, she would like an average of only the cells in that range that are visible (columns D and E, in this case, are hidden).

There is no intrinsic function in Excel to calculate such an average. If you were trying to find the average of a range of cells in a column, then you could use the SUBTOTAL function, in this manner:


The SUBTOTAL function won't return an accurate value when the range provided is within a row, however. You could, if desired, use some helper cells to do the calculation. Just put the following into cell B8:


Copy cell B8 to the range C8:G8. The result is that each cell in the range B8:G8 will contain either a 0 or a 1 based on whether the column is hidden or not. You could then use the following formula to determine the average:


It calculates the average only for those columns in which the cells in B8:G8 contain a value of 1 (they aren't hidden).

Of course, you may not be able to use the helper cells and you might find it more beneficial to create a user-defined function to do calculate the average. The following works very quickly:

Function AverageVisible(rng As Range)
    Dim rCell As Range
    Dim iCount As Integer
    Dim dTtl As Double

    iCount = 0
    dTtl = 0
    For Each rCell In rng
        If rCell.ColumnWidth > 0 _
          And rCell.RowHeight > 0 _
          And Not IsEmpty(rCell) _
          And IsNumeric(rCell.Value) Then
              dTtl = dTtl + rCell
              iCount = iCount + 1
        End If
    If iCount > 0 Then
        AverageVisible = dTtl / iCount
        AverageVisible = 0
    End If
End Function

In order to use the function, simply put this formula in the cell you want to contain the average:


The function checks every cell in the range (which means you could use it on rows, columns, or, indeed, any range at all) to make sure it is not hidden and not empty. If the cell contains a numeric value, then it is used to calculate the average. If the range you specify contains no values that can be averaged, then the function returns a value of 0.

The function automatically runs every time the worksheet is recalculated. If you change which columns are hidden, Excel doesn't automatically recalculate. Thus, you'll need to force recalculation after hiding or unhiding columns.


If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (13262) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365.

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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What is two more than 7?

2020-02-01 06:29:06

Alex B

Hello Allen, I don't know in which version of Excel the CELL function changed but in my version CELL("width",B7) uses 2 column the first to return a number and the second to return a TRUE or FALSE (visible or invisible respectively).
If I follow the above and put =(CELL("width",B7)>0)+0 into B8 I get
B8 = 1 and C8 = 1 which means if I try to copy it to C8:G8, I get #SPILL!

The workaround is to use the INDEX function to return only 1 of the 2 values which changes your formula to
See: Comment at the bottom or https://stackoverflow.com/questions/28589839/ignoring-a-hidden-column-in-an-excel-sum-formula

You could change the formula to take advantage of the TRUE / FALSE value returned but that will error out in the older versions of excel that as yet don't return 2 values.

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