MEDIAN function: Description, Usage, Syntax, Examples and Explanation

What is MEDIAN function in Excel?

MEDIAN function is one of Statistical functions in Microsoft Excel that returns the median of the given numbers. The median is the number in the middle of a set of numbers.

Syntax of MEDIAN function

MEDIAN(number1, [number2], …)

The MEDIAN function syntax has the following arguments:

  • Number1, number2, …    Number1 is required, subsequent numbers are optional. 1 to 255 numbers for which you want the median.

Explanation of MEDIAN function

  • If there is an even number of numbers in the set, then MEDIAN calculates the average of the two numbers in the middle. See the second formula in the example.
  • Arguments can either be numbers or names, arrays, or references that contain numbers.
  • Logical values and text representations of numbers that you type directly into the list of arguments are counted.
  • If an array or reference argument contains text, logical values, or empty cells, those values are ignored; however, cells with the value zero are included.
  • Arguments that are error values or text that cannot be translated into numbers cause errors.
Worked Example:   Get work hours between dates and times in Excel

Note: The MEDIAN function measures central tendency, which is the location of the center of a group of numbers in a statistical distribution. The three most common measures of central tendency are:

  • Average     which is the arithmetic mean, and is calculated by adding a group of numbers and then dividing by the count of those numbers. For example, the average of 2, 3, 3, 5, 7, and 10 is 30 divided by 6, which is 5.
  • Median     which is the middle number of a group of numbers; that is, half the numbers have values that are greater than the median, and half the numbers have values that are less than the median. For example, the median of 2, 3, 3, 5, 7, and 10 is 4.
  • Mode     which is the most frequently occurring number in a group of numbers. For example, the mode of 2, 3, 3, 5, 7, and 10 is 3.
Worked Example:   Get work hours between dates and times in Excel

For a symmetrical distribution of a group of numbers, these three measures of central tendency are all the same. For a skewed distribution of a group of numbers, they can be different.

Worked Example:   9 Mathematical Computations Example using Excel Statistical Function

Example of MEDIAN function

Steps to follow:

1. Open a new Excel worksheet.

2. Copy data in the following table below and paste it in cell A1

Note: For formulas to show results, select them, press F2 key on your keyboard and then press Enter.

You can adjust the column widths to see all the data, if need be.

Formula Description Result
=MEDIAN(A2:A6) Median of the 5 numbers in the range A2:A6. Because there are 5 values, the third is the median. 3
=MEDIAN(A2:A7) Median of the 6 numbers in the range A2:A7. Because there are six numbers, the median is the midway point between the third and fourth numbers. 3.5

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