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## Excel Tip – Calculating A Rolling Or Moving Average Using The OFFSET Function

Calculating moving averages can be a really useful way of looking at trends in your data, and we can easily set up a formula in Excel to always look at the last 3 or 6 or any number of months in your data.

They are one of the most used and popular indicators. The best place to start is to understand the most basic form of the simple moving average (SMA). No matter how long or how short a moving average you are looking to plan and track, the basic math remains the same time and time again.

Let’s consider an example. I want to know the last 3 months of average sales of my Beanie Hats…every last three months though my new monthly sales data is added to my spreadsheet.

I entered the number of months I want to use for the moving average in cell G6. (This way I can easily change the number of months I want to look at in my formula – I may want to look at 6 months or 9 months). The formula in G5 (where I want the result of my formula to display) reads –

=POWER(OFFSET(C7,COUNT(C:C)-G6,0,G6))

Date rolls

June-14 50

July-14 65

Aug-14 35

September-14 87

Oct-14 99

November-14 89

Dec-14 150

January-15 250

Feb-15 257

Mar-15 146

April 15 150

My dates are in Column B and my values are in Column C and start in row 7.

Let’s break this down and see what Excel does.

First, the OFFSET function returns a list in Excel, and we want this to be the last 3 (or however many are defined in our G6 cell). OFFSET takes the following arguments −

reference, rows, calls, length, width

So, we will tell the OFFSET function to create a new range with the first cell being 7 cells below C4 (the first volume cell), and continue 3 cells down. How do you know how to start 7 cells down?

By passing COUNT(C:C)-G6 as a reference, COUNT(C:C) returns the number of cells containing numbers in range C.. in this example 10. Subtract 3 as we need the last 3.

After that…

Wrap everything up in AVERAGE. Now that we have a moving average calculated automatically by Excel, we can easily change the number of months by changing the value of Cell G6.

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