Averaging of Scientific Results in Excel

Each scientific measurement process has its own criteria for what is acceptable data. However, there are some general rules. If a data point is suspect, another is generated. If these are within the statistical variation for that process, then they are averaged. However, if a 3rd measurement is needed,

An Excel formula that correctly handles all of these requirements is needed. If 2 of the measurements are within statistical variation, they are averaged. This would be the two closest values.

But if two measurements are equidistant from the 3rd, (13.2,13.5,13.8) then all 3 values

must be averaged.

So, given those requirements, the following formula will return the correct result.




First, if the 3 values are all different, then

=SUM(MATCH($A$1:$C$1,$A$1:$C$1,0))=6 is True.

So, if SUM(MATCH($A$1:$C$1,$A$1:$C$1,0))<6,then the formula uses


In the comments at this site:


a poster in the comments named Ihm came up with this formula.

In the FALSE condition of the formula is the following:


It is based on a 3×3 matrix obtained from


For a data set of

13.4 13.55 13.8

The following matrix is


The ROUND function is necessary since the ABS function sometimes introduces differences (i.e. – 0.25 vs 0.2499999999).

The 5th largest value in the matrix corresponds to the smallest difference. The values for those differences in A1:C1 are averaged to afford the desired result.



2 thoughts on “Averaging of Scientific Results in Excel

  1. Pingback: #Excel Super Links #35 – shared by David Hager | Excel For You

  2. Pingback: #Excel Super Links #150 – Special Edition | Excel For You

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