**In the previous post, you discovered how easy it is to calculate a total using the AUTOSUM button. In this post I expand on that and discuss 4 other basic formula functions that are also useful and easy to use - AVERAGE, MAX, MIN and COUNT.**

## 1. Our example data

Let’s take a look at a simple table showing the number of kilometres driven each month.

All 4 functions - AVERAGE MAX, MIN and COUNT are actually found on the AUTOSUM button, but are only displayed when you click the little drop-down arrow, as you'll see in a moment.

I’m going to show you how to calculate the AVERAGE monthly distance, the LONGEST distance, the SHORTEST distance and HOW MANY monthly figures are in the list.

With each function, just like with AUTOSUM, you can start by selecting the blank answer cell

… OR the 6 cells containing the figures

… OR the 6 cells containing the figures AND the blank answer cell.

## 2. The AVERAGE Function

To calculate the AVERAGE monthly distance:

1. Select cell B8.

2. Click the drop-down arrow on the AUTOSUM button.

3. Choose **AVERAGE**.

4. Press **ENTER** to confirm the cell range.

## 3. The MAX Function

To find the LONGEST distance:

1. Select cell B9.

2. Click the drop-down arrow on the AUTOSUM button.

3. Choose **MAX**.

At this point, the range that Excel has identified is too large so using the mouse, select cells B2:B7.

4. Press ENTER to confirm the cell range.

MAX can be used whenever you need to find the figure that is the LONGEST, TALLEST, LARGEST, MOST etc.

## 4. The MIN Function

To find the SHORTEST distance:

1. Select cell **B10**.

2. Click the drop-down arrow on the AUTOSUM button.

3. Choose **MIN**.

At this point, the range that Excel has identified is too large so using the mouse, select cells B2:B7.

4. Press **ENTER** to confirm the cell range.

MIN can be used whenever you need to find the figure that is the SHORTEST, LOWEST, SMALLEST, LEAST etc.

## 5. The COUNT Function

To find HOW MANY figures in the list:

1. Select cell **B11**.

2. Click the drop-down arrow on the AUTOSUM button.

3. Choose **COUNT NUMBERS**.

At this point, the range that Excel has identified is too large so using the mouse, select cells B2:B7.

4. Press **ENTER** to confirm the cell range.

Use COUNT whenever you need an answer to a HOW MANY type question.

Because COUNT NUMBERS only counts how many cells contain numbers, (hence the name) if a number is deleted or overwritten with text and/or symbols, these cells will be ignored and the count will decrease.

## 6. Excel Auto-Stats

Whenever two or more cells are selected, a number of stats are automatically displayed on the status bar.

The stats available are

As you can see, they tie in closely with the functions covered above. The difference between COUNT and COUNT NUMBERS is that the first will count how many cells are populated while the second only counts the cells containing numbers. Both are useful.

To show more or less of these stats:

1. Right-click anywhere on the status bar

2. About two thirds of the way down, tick the stats you wish to see on the status bar.

Don’t forget, once you have made your changes, you must first select two or more cells to see the stats appear on the status bar.

## 7. Watch the video (over the shoulder demo)

## 8. What Next?

In the next and **final post** in this mini-series, I discuss the importance of the ‘Order of Operations’. It resurrects some old math skills from the archives of your brain but you need to know and master this before you go any further with Excel.

Even seasoned Excel pros sometimes get this wrong, and there have been stories of companies losing millions of dollars due to simple mathematical errors with formulas in Excel. Make sure you don’t make the same mistakes.

See you there.

**Please feel free to post any questions you have into the comments below. And before you leave this page, I want to give you one quick little action item! **

**ACTION ITEM: Comment below with ONE thing you picked up from this post and share how it has helped, or will help, you. It's good to share your successes because it encourages others and provides an instant boost.**

Enjoy the rest of your day!

About the author

Jason Morrell

Jason loves to simplify the hard stuff, cut the fluff and share what actually works. Things that make a difference. Things that slash hours from your daily work tasks. He runs a software training business in Queensland, Australia, lives on the Gold Coast with his wife and 4 kids and often talks about himself in the third person!

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