Standard deviation in Excel: functions and formula examples

The tutorial explains the perfume of the standard deviation and standard error of the base ampere well as which formula is best to be used for calculating standard deviation in Excel .
In descriptive statistics, the arithmetical beggarly ( besides called the average ) and standard deviation and are two closely associate concepts. But while the erstwhile is well understood by most, the latter is comprehended by few. The aim of this tutorial is shed some idle on what the standard deviation actually is and how to calculate it in Excel .

What is standard deviation?

The standard deviation is a meter that indicates how a lot the values of the hardening of data deviate ( spread out ) from the mean. To put it differently, the standard diversion shows whether your data is close to the beggarly or fluctuates a batch .
The aim of the standard deviation is to help you understand if the mean very returns a “ typical ” data. The closer the standard deviation is to zero, the lower the data variability and the more dependable the mean is. The standard deviation adequate to 0 indicates that every value in the dataset is precisely equal to the mean. The higher the standard deviation, the more variation there is in the data and the less accurate the base is.

To get a better idea of how this works, please have a expression at the following data :
Standard deviation
For Biology, the standard deviation is 5 ( rounded to an integer ), which tells us that the majority of scores are no more than 5 points away from the bastardly. Is that good ? Well, yes, it indicates that the Biology scores of the students are pretty coherent .
For Math, the standard deviation is 23. It shows that there is a huge dispersion ( spread ) in the scores, meaning that some students performed a lot better and/or some performed far worse than the average .
In practice, the standard deviation is much used by business analysists as a bill of investment risk – the higher the standard deviation, the higher the volatility of the returns .

Sample standard deviation vs. Population standard deviation

In relative to standard deviation, you may much hear the terms “ sample ” and “ population ”, which refer to the completeness of the datum you are working with. The main remainder is as follows :

  • Population includes all of the elements from a data set.
  • Sample is a subset of data that includes one or more elements from the population.

Researchers and analysists operate on the standard deviation of a sample and population in different situations. For model, when summarizing the examination scores of a class of students, a teacher will use the population standard deviation. Statisticians calculating the national SAT average score would use a sample distribution standard deviation because they are presented with the data from a sample lone, not from the entire population .

Understanding the standard deviation formula

The reason the nature of the data matters is because the population standard deviation and sample standard deviation are calculated with slightly different formulas :

Sample standard deviation

Population standard deviation

Sample standard deviation formula Population standard deviation formula

Where :

  • xi are individual values in the set of data
  • x is the mean of all x values
  • n is the total number of x values in the data set

Having difficulties with understanding the formula ? Breaking them down into simpleton steps might help. But first, let us have some sample data to work on :
Sample data

1. Calculate the mean (average)

first, you find the mean of all values in the datum set ( x in the formulas above ). When calculating by hand, you add up the numbers and then divide the sum by the count of those numbers, like this :
( 1+2+4+5+6+8+9 ) /7=5
To find intend in Excel, use the AVERAGE function, e.g. =AVERAGE ( A2 : G2 )

2. For each number, subtract the mean and square the result

This is the partially of the standard deviation rule that says : ( xi – ten ) 2
To visualize what ‘s actually going on, please have a look at the surveil images .
In this exercise, the think of is 5, so we calculate the deviation between each data point and 5.
Calculating the standard deviation
then, you square the differences, turning them all into positive numbers :
Calculating the standard deviation

3. Add up squared differences

To say “ sum things up ” in mathematics, you use sigma Σ. so, what we do now is add up the square differences to complete this region of the formula : Σ ( eleven – ten ) 2
16 + 9 + 1 + 1 + 9 + 16 = 52

4. Divide the total squared differences by the count of values

sol far, the sample standard deviation and population standard deviation formulas have been identical. At this point, they are different .
For the sample standard deviation, you get the sample variance by dividing the sum squared differences by the sample distribution size minus 1 :
52 / ( 7-1 ) = 8.67
For the population standard deviation, you find the mean of squared differences by dividing the total squared differences by their count :
52 / 7 = 7.43
Why this remainder in the formula ? Because in the sample distribution standard deviation formula, you need to correct the bias in the estimate of a sample distribution beggarly rather of the true population mean. And you do this by using n – 1 rather of n, which is called Bessel ‘s correction .

5. Take the square root

finally, take the square root of the above numbers, and you will get your standard deviation ( in the below equations, rounded to 2 decimal places ) :

Sample standard deviation Population standard deviation
√ 8.67 = 2.94 √ 7.43 = 2.73

In Microsoft Excel, standard deviation is computed in the same way, but all of the above calculations are performed behind the scene. The key thing for you is to choose a proper standard deviation function, about which the following section will give you some clues .

How to calculate standard deviation in Excel

overall, there are six unlike functions to find standard deviation in Excel. Which one to use depends chiefly on the nature of the datum you are working with – whether it is the entire population or a sample .

Functions to calculate sample standard deviation in Excel

To calculate standard diversion based on a sample, use one of the stick to formula ( all of them are based on the “ n-1 ” method described above ) .

Excel STDEV function

STDEV(number1,[number2],…) is the oldest excel routine to estimates standard deviation based on a sample, and it is available in all versions of Excel 2003 to 2019 .
In Excel 2007 and late, STDEV can accept improving to 255 arguments that can be represented by numbers, arrays, named ranges or references to cells containing numbers. In Excel 2003, the function can only accept up to 30 arguments .
coherent values and textbook representations of numbers supplied immediately in the list of arguments are counted. In arrays and references, only numbers are counted ; evacuate cells, coherent values of TRUE and FALSE, textbook and error values are ignored .
note. Excel STDEV is an outdated function, which is kept in the newer versions of Excel for backward compatibility only. however, Microsoft makes no promises regarding the future versions. then, in Excel 2010 and by and by, it is recommended to use STDEV.S alternatively of STDEV .

Excel STDEV.S function

STDEV.S(number1,[number2],…) is an improved adaptation of STDEV, introduced in Excel 2010 .
Like STDEV, the STDEV.S function calculates the sample distribution standard deviation of a set of values based on the authoritative sample standard diversion convention discussed in the previous section .

Excel STDEVA function

STDEVA(value1, [value2], …) is another function to calculate standard deviation of a sample in Excel. It differs from the above two only in the way it handles coherent and text values :

  • All logical values are counted, whether they are contained within arrays or references, or typed directly into the list of arguments (TRUE evaluates as 1, FALSE evaluate as 0).
  • Text values within arrays or reference arguments are counted as 0, including empty strings (“”), text representations of numbers, and any other text. Text representations of numbers supplied directly in the list of arguments are counted as the numbers they represent (here’s a formula example).
  • Empty cells are ignored.

note. For a sample standard deviation formula to work correctly, the supply arguments must contain at least two numeric values, otherwise the # DIV/0 ! error is returned .

Functions to calculate population standard deviation in Excel

If you are dealing with the entire population, use one of the follow routine to do standard deviation in Excel. These functions are based on the “ normality ” method.

Excel STDEVP function

STDEVP(number1,[number2],…) is the honest-to-god Excel function to find standard deviation of a population .
In the new versions of Excel 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019, it is replaced with the better STDEV.P function, but is inactive kept for back compatibility .

Excel STDEV.P function

STDEV.P(number1,[number2],…) is the modern adaptation of the STDEVP function that provides an improved accuracy. It is available in Excel 2010 and late versions .
Like their sample distribution criterion deviation counterparts, within arrays or reference point arguments, the STDEVP and STDEV.P functions count only numbers. In the number of arguments, they besides count coherent values and textbook representations of numbers .

Excel STDEVPA function

STDEVPA(value1, [value2], …) calculates standard deviation of a population, including text and coherent values. With respect to non-numeric values, STDEVPA works precisely like the STDEVA function does .
note. Whichever Excel standard deviation formula you use, it will return an error if one or more arguments contain an error value returned by another affair or text that can not be interpreted as a numeral .

Which Excel standard deviation function to use?

A diverseness of criterion deviation functions in Excel can decidedly cause a mess, specially to unexperienced users. To choose the discipline standard diversion formula for a particular job, merely answer the following 3 questions :

  • Do you calculate standard deviation of a sample or population?
  • What Excel version do you use?
  • Does your data set include only numbers or logical values and text as well?

To calculate standard deviation based on a numeral sample, use the STDEV.S function in Excel 2010 and late ; STDEV in Excel 2007 and earlier .
To find standard deviation of a population, use the STDEV.P function in Excel 2010 and late ; STDEVP in Excel 2007 and earlier .
If you want logical or text values to be included in the calculation, habit either STDEVA ( sample standard deviation ) or STDEVPA ( population standard deviation ). While I ca n’t think of any scenario in which either function can be utilitarian on its own, they may come in handy in bigger formula, where one or more arguments are returned by other functions as coherent values or text representations of numbers .
To help you decide which of the Excel standard deviation functions is best suited for your needs, please review the following postpone that summarizes the information you ‘ve already learned .

  STDEV STDEV.S STDEVP STDEV.P STDEVA STDEVPA
Excel version 2003 – 2019 2010 – 2019 2003 – 2019 2010 – 2019 2003 – 2019 2003 – 2019
Sample      
Population      
Logical values in arrays or references Ignored Evaluated
(TRUE=1, FALSE=0)
Text in arrays or references Ignored Evaluated as zero
Logical values and “text-numbers” in the list of arguments Evaluated
(TRUE=1, FALSE=0)
Empty cells Ignored

Excel standard deviation formula examples

once you have chosen the affair that corresponds to your data type, there should be no difficulties in writing the rule – the syntax is so complain and transparent that it leaves no board for errors : ) The watch examples demonstrate a copulate of Excel criterion deviation formulas in action .

Calculating standard deviation of a sample and population

Depending on the nature of your data, use one of the succeed convention :

  • To calculate standard deviation based on the entire population, i.e. the full list of values (B2:B50 in this example), use the STDEV.P function:
    =STDEV.P(B2:B50)
  • To find standard deviation based on a sample that constitutes a part, or subset, of the population (B2:B10 in this example), use the STDEV.S function:
    =STDEV.S(B2:B10)

As you can see in the screenshot below, the formulas return slenderly unlike numbers ( the smaller a sample, the bigger a deviation ) :
Calculating the standard deviation of a sample and entire population in Excel
In Excel 2007 and lower, you ‘d use STDEVP and STDEV functions rather :

  • To get population standard deviation:
    =STDEVP(B2:B50)
  • To calculate sample standard deviation:
    =STDEV(B2:B10)

Calculating standard deviation for text representations of numbers

When discussing different functions to calculate standard deviation in Excel, we sometimes mentioned “ text representations of numbers ” and you might be curious to know what that actually means .
In this context, “ textbook representations of numbers ” are plainly numbers formatted as text. How can such numbers appear in your worksheets ? Most often, they are exported from external sources. Or, returned by alleged Text functions that are designed to manipulate text strings, e.g. TEXT, MID, RIGHT, LEFT, etc. Some of those functions can work with numbers besides, but their output is always text, even if it looks much like a numeral .
To better illustrate the compass point, please consider the succeed model. Supposing you have a column of intersection codes like “ Jeans-105 ” where the digits after a hyphenate denote the quantity. Your goal is to extract the quantity of each item, and then find the standard deviation of the extract numbers .
Pulling the quantity to another column is not a problem :
=RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)-SEARCH("-",A2,1))
The problem is that using an Excel standard diversion formula on the extract numbers returns either # DIV/0 ! or 0 like shown in the screenshot below :
Standard deviation formulas not working
Why such weird results ? As mentioned above, the output of the RIGHT function is always a text string. But neither STDEV.S nor STDEVA can handle numbers formatted as text in references ( the former just ignores them while the latter counts as zero ). To get the standard deviation of such “ text-numbers ”, you need to supply them directly to the list of arguments, which can be done by embedding all right functions into your STDEV.S or STDEVA recipe :
=STDEV.S(RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)-SEARCH("-",A2,1)), RIGHT(A3,LEN(A3)-SEARCH("-",A3,1)), RIGHT(A4,LEN(A4)-SEARCH("-",A4,1)), RIGHT(A5,LEN(A5)-SEARCH("-",A5,1)))
=STDEVA(RIGHT(A2,LEN(A2)-SEARCH("-",A2,1)), RIGHT(A3,LEN(A3)-SEARCH("-",A3,1)), RIGHT(A4,LEN(A4)-SEARCH("-",A4,1)), RIGHT(A5,LEN(A5)-SEARCH("-",A5,1)))
Calculating standard deviation for text representations of numbers
The formulas are a moment cumbersome, but that might be a working solution for a small sample. For a bigger one, not to mention the stallion population, it is decidedly not an choice. In this sheath, a more elegant solution would be having the VALUE function convert “ text-numbers ” to numbers that any standard deviation convention can understand ( please notification the right-aligned numbers in the screenshot below ampere opposed to the left-aligned text strings on the screenshot above ) :

How to calculate standard error of mean in Excel

In statistics, there is one more measurement for estimating the unevenness in data – standard error of mean, which is sometimes shortened ( though, incorrectly ) to just “ standard error ”. The standard deviation and standard mistake of the mean are two close related concepts, but not the same .
While the standard deviation measures the unevenness of a datum hardening from the beggarly, the standard error of the entail ( SEM ) estimates how far the sample mean is likely to be from the true population mean. Said another way – if you took multiple samples from the like population, the standard mistake of the beggarly would show the dispersion between those sample means. Because normally we calculate barely one intend for a laid of data, not multiple means, the standard mistake of the average is estimated quite than measured .
In mathematics, the standard error of bastardly is calculated with this formula :
The standard error of mean formula
Where SD is the standard deviation, and normality is the sample distribution size ( the count of values in the sample ) .
In your Excel worksheets, you can use the COUNT function to get the number of values in a sample, SQRT to take a feather ancestor of that number, and STDEV.S to calculate standard deviation of a sample .
Putting all this together, you get the criterion error of the entail rule in Excel :
STDEV.S ( rate ) /SQRT ( COUNT ( range ) )
Assuming the sample data are in B2 : B10, our SEM rule would go as follows :
=STDEV.S(B2:B10)/SQRT(COUNT(B2:B10))
And the consequence might be similar to this :
Calculating the standard error of the mean in Excel

How to add standard deviation bars in Excel

To visually display a margin of the standard deviation, you can add criterion diversion bars to your Excel chart. here ‘s how :

  1. Create a graph in the usual way (Insert tab > Charts group).
  2. Click anywhere on the graph to select it, then click the Chart Elements button.
  3. Click the arrow next to Error Bars, and pick Standard Deviation.

This will insert the like standard deviation bars for all data points.
Adding standard deviation bars in Excel
This is how to do standard deviation on Excel. I hope you will find this information helpful. Anyway, I thank you for reading and hope to see you on our web log next week .

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