You can use the following formula in Excel to calculate the average difference between two columns:

=AVERAGE(B2:B11 - C2:C11)

This particular formula calculates the average difference between the values in the range **B2:B11** and **C2:C11**.

The following example shows how to use this formula in practice.

**Example: How to Calculate Average Difference in Excel**

Suppose we have the following dataset in Excel that shows the number of points scored and number of points allowed during various games by some basketball team:

Suppose we would like to calculate the average difference between the values in the **Points Scored** column and the **Points Allowed** column.

We can type the following formula into cell **E2** to do so:

=AVERAGE(B2:B11 - C2:C11)

The following screenshot shows how to use this formula in practice:

We can see that the average difference between the values in the **Points Scored** column and the **Points Allowed** column is **3.3**.

In other words, this team scores **3.3** points more than they allow per game, on average.

**How This Formula Works**

Recall the formula that we used to calculate the average difference between the two columns:

=AVERAGE(B2:B11 - C2:C11)

This formula works by first calculating the difference between corresponding values in the ranges **B2:B11** and **C2:C11**.

For example, it calculates:

- Row 1: 100 – 90 =
**10** - Row 2: 104 – 99 =
**5** - Row 3: 98 – 102=
**-4** - Row 4: 105 – 104 =
**1** - Row 5: 110 – 112 =
**-2** - Row 6: 113 – 109 =
**4** - Row 7: 121 – 108 =
**13** - Row 8: 108 – 100 =
**8** - Row 9: 99 – 104 =
**-5** - Row 10: 93 – 90 =
**3**

It then uses the **AVERAGE** function to calculate the average of all these differences:

Average Difference = (10+5-4+1-2+4+13+8-5+3) / 10 = **3.3**.

**Additional Resources**

The following tutorials explain how to perform other common tasks in Excel:

How to Calculate Average by Date in Excel

How to Calculate Average by Group in Excel

How to Calculate Average and Ignore Zero and Blank Cells in Excel