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15 Statistical Functions in Microsoft Excel

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6th Jun, 2022
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15 Statistical Functions in Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel is one of the most popularly used spreadsheet programs. Its primarily utilized for effectively organizing and analyzing a large amount of data in a matter of seconds. Apart from formulas used in Excel to fulfill these purposes, conducting mathematical computations is primarily carried out with statistical functions. Karl Pearson, who is deemed the father of modern statistics, stated: “statistics is the grammar of science.”

Essentially, statistics is the branch of science used for several purposes like collecting, analyzing, organizing, and presenting the required data for speedy analysis and interpretation.

Statistical functions are used to apply a mathematical process to a particular set of cells in a worksheet. For instance, the SUM function adds the values contained in a group of cells. Functions are more efficient than formulas when a mathematical process is applied to a group of cells. 

Suppose a formula is used instead to add the values in a group of cells. In that case, each cell location to the formula must be added one at a time, which is pretty time-consuming, especially if the values of hundreds of cell locations need to be added. This is where statistical functions become handy because all the cells containing values can be highlighted to sum in a single step.

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What Is The Main Purpose Of The Statistical Functions In Excel?

In Excel, a function is a preset formula used to perform statistical, mathematical, and logical operations using particular values in a specific order. Many statistical functions, algorithms, and principles are executed to help analyze raw data, construct a statistical model and deduce or forecast results. 

Statistics is extensively used across industries, including business, marketing, engineering, governance, health, and more. It is a quantitative tool that makes analysis and interpretation much easier.  For instance, the government uses statistics to study the country’s demography before creating any policy. Another stark example would be making a product campaign because understanding the audience is of utmost importance for marketing/branding. Here also, statistics plays an important part.

Statistical Functions in Excel

Excel is a popular tool used for the application of statistical functions. In Excel, there is a wide range of functions pertaining to statistics. They vary from basic statistical functions like mean, median, and mode function to a more compound statistical distribution and probability test. Some of the most common and integral functions include the COUNT function, COUNTBLANK function, COUNTA function, and COUNTIFS function. 

Other than these, MS Excel additionally provides an assortment of useful statistical functions. We have compiled a list of some of Excel’s most basic but beneficial statistical functions. 

Here is a list of some of the most important statistical functions used in Excel:

1. COUNT function In Excel: The COUNT function is primarily used for counting the number of cells containing a number. One essential thing to remember is that this function only counts the number.

Syntax for COUNT function = COUNT(value1, [value2], …)

2. COUNTA function In Excel: This function counts everything. In addition to the number contained within the cell, it will count any kind of information, including empty text and error values.

Syntax for COUNTA function = COUNT(value1, [value2], …)

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3. COUNTBLANK function In Excel: As the very term COUNTBLANK suggests, its function is only to count empty or blank cells.

Syntax for COUNTBlANK function = COUNTBLANK(range)

4. COUNTIFS function In Excel: The most used statistical function in Excel is the COUNTIFS function. This function should work on one condition or multiple conditions in a specific range and count the cells that meet the said condition.

Syntax for COUNTIFS function = COUNTIFS (range1, criteria1, [range2]

5. STANDARD DEVIATION Function In Excel: The STANDARD DEVIATION Function In Excel is mainly used to calculate how much the observed value has varied or deviated from the average.

Syntax for  STANDARD DEVIATION Function: 

= STDEV.P(number1,[number2],…)

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6. VARIANCE function In Excel: Variance determines the degree of variation within a data set. When more data is spread, there is more variance.

Formula for VARIANCE function = VAR(number1, [number2], …)

7. QUARTILES function In Excel: Quartile is used for dividing the data into four parts. It is similar to the median function – it divides data into two uniform parts. This function also returns the quartiles of the particular dataset and can return the first quartile, second quartile, third quartile, minimum value, and max value.

Syntax for QUARTILES function = QUARTILE (array, quart)

8. CORRELATION function In Excel: This statistical Excel function helps determine the link between the two variables. This function is used mainly by data analysts to study data thoroughly. You must remember that the CORRELATION coefficient range lies between -1 to +1.

Syntax for  CORRELATION function = CORREL(array1, array2)

9. MAX function In Excel: This statistical Excel function returns the highest numeric value in a given data set or array.

Syntax for  MAX function = MAX (number1, [number2], …)

10. MIN function In Excel: The MIN function is the exact opposite of the MAX function in Excel. It returns the smallest numeric value in a given data set or array.

Syntax for  MAX function = MAX (number1, [number2], …)

11. LARGE function  In Excel: The LARGE function in Excel is more or less identical to the MAX function. However, the only difference that sets them apart is that it returns the nth largest value in a particular data set or array.

Syntax for  LARGE function = LARGE (array, k)

12. SMALL function  In Excel: Like the MIN function, the SMALL function in Excel is also used for returning the smallest numeric value in a particular data set or an array. The only difference is that it returns the nth smallest value in a given data set or array.

Syntax for  SMALL function = SMALL (array, k)

13. MEAN Calculation In Excel: The MEAN formula in Excel is one of the most widely used statistical functions. It helps to up all numbers within a data set and divide by the number of points added together.

The formula for Mean Calculation In Excel: =AVERAGE (array of numbers)

14. MEDIAN function in Excel: This function is used when there are even numbers in the data set. The MEDIAN function helps calculate the average of the two middle numbers. 

The syntax for Median Calculation In Excel: =MEDIAN (array of numbers)

15. MODE function in Excel: The MODE function in Excel returns the most commonly occurring number in any numeric set of data.

Formula for MODE function in Excel: =MODE (number1, [number2], …)


Microsoft Excel has remained the number one spreadsheet tool for statistical calculations and storing data in an orderly fashion. It is used for many applications, including presenting and charting data, project and inventory management, and even financial forecasting and budgeting.

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Apart from the basic mathematical operations, Excel also has many preset, lesser-known functions used for efficiently summarizing and organizing data.

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Pavan Vadapalli

Blog Author
Director of Engineering @ upGrad. Motivated to leverage technology to solve problems. Seasoned leader for startups and fast moving orgs. Working on solving problems of scale and long term technology strategy.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1What is the primary role of Statistical functions, algorithms, and principles?

Most of the statistical functions, algorithms, and principles are used to analyze large amounts of raw data, build statistical models, and predict results that directly influence business decision-making.

2Which statistical functions are most commonly used for data analysis?

The most commonly used statistical functions by professional data analysts are MEDIAN, MODE, STANDARD DEVIATION, AVERAGE, VARIANCE, CORRELATION, and QUARTILES, to name a few.

3Which Function Library is utilized for statistical formulas?

To access the Function Library, click on the Formulas tab on the Ribbon. Next, go to the More Functions option in the Function Library group of commands. Finally, choose the Statistical option from the drop-down list to access it.

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