How to Calculate Standard Deviation in Excel: A Comprehensive Guide


Standard deviation is a statistical measurement that helps to determine how much the data deviates from the average or mean. It is an essential tool in data analysis, providing valuable insights into variability and distribution. In Excel, the standard deviation calculation is straightforward, and this article will provide a detailed guide on how to calculate standard deviation in Excel, including real-life examples, video tutorials, an infographic, and common mistakes to avoid.

Step-by-Step Guide

The following is an overview of the steps involved in calculating standard deviation in Excel:

  1. Input the data into Excel.
  2. Calculate the mean of the data.
  3. Calculate the deviation for each data point by subtracting the mean from each data point.
  4. Square the deviation for each data point.
  5. Calculate the variance.
  6. Calculate the standard deviation.

Let’s dive deeper into each step.

Step 1: Inputting data into Excel

The first step is to input the data into Excel. You may enter the data manually by inserting each value in a separate cell or copy and paste the data from a source such as a spreadsheet or a table.

Step 2: Calculating mean of data

To calculate the mean in Excel, use the AVERAGE function. The formula is as follows:

=AVERAGE(range of data)

For example, if your data is in cells A1 through A10, the formula for calculating the mean is:


Step 3: Calculating deviation for each data point

After calculating the mean, subtract the mean from each data point. The formula for calculating the deviation is:

=data point - mean

You may use a cell reference instead of manually typing in the mean value. For example, if the mean is in cell B1 and the data point is in cell A1, the formula for calculating the deviation is:


Step 4: Squaring deviation for each data point

Next, square each deviation value. This ensures that all values are positive. The formula for this step is:


For example, if the deviation value is in cell C1, the formula for squaring the deviation is:


Step 5: Calculating variance

The variance is the average of the squared deviations. The formula for calculating variance is:

=VAR.P(range of squared deviation values)

For example, if the squared deviations are in cells D1 through D10, the formula for calculating the variance is:


Step 6: Calculating standard deviation

Finally, calculate the standard deviation by taking the square root of the variance. The formula for calculating standard deviation is:


For example, if the variance is in cell E1, the formula for calculating the standard deviation is:


Video Tutorial

For a more visual approach to understanding standard deviation calculation in Excel, a video tutorial is a great option. The following are steps to calculate standard deviation in Excel in a video format:

  1. Insert Data into Excel.
  2. Calculate the mean.
  3. Calculate the deviation.
  4. Calculate the variance.
  5. Calculate standard deviation.

The tutorial will show you how to perform these actions on real Excel data, talking you through every step, ensuring visually impaired people can follow it.


An infographic is a way to represent complex information in a visual format. It can quickly communicate standard deviation into an easy-to-understand format. In our infographic, the following constitutes the design:

  • Colorful design.
  • Bulleted list.
  • Minimal text.
  • Images, bars, and symbols to break up the information
  • Step by step process of calculating standard deviation.

Real-life Example

Real-life examples can provide a better understanding of how to calculate standard deviation. Here’s a worked-out example on a real-life scenario:

Assume we want to calculate the variability of sales data for a given company. The data are shown in the following table:

Month Sales ($)
January 5000
February 4500
March 7000
April 6500
May 6000
June 5500

Using the step-by-step guide above, the mean sales value for these six months is calculated via the formula:


The sum of the differences from each data value to the mean is:


The squared deviations equal:


The variance is:


The standard deviation is:


The standard deviation shows that the sales for this company decreased and increased between $2,583 and $8,083 in the given month.

Comparison with other Statistical Measures

Though Standard Deviation is important, Mean, Mode, and Median also play a critical role in statistics. Understanding the difference between these measurements can lead to better data analysis. The following compares the Standard Deviation with Mean, Mode, and Median:

The Mean is the average data point in the data set. The Standard Deviation helps to determine the distribution of the data points. Mode is the most frequently occurring data point in the data set. Median is the central-most point in the data set. They are calculated via the following formulas:

=MEAN(range of data)

=MODE(range of data)

=MEDIAN(range of data)

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Here are common mistakes you should avoid when calculating standard deviation:

  • Forgetting to square the deviations when calculating the variance.
  • Using the wrong formula to calculate the variance and standard deviation.
  • Using the wrong data set range in Excel.
  • Forgetting to take the square root of the variance when calculating the standard deviation.
  • Using sample variance instead of population variance in the formula.

By avoiding these mistakes, you can ensure accurate results when calculating the standard deviation.


Calculating the standard deviation in Excel is a simple but essential tool in data analysis. In this comprehensive guide, we’ve covered detailed steps on how to calculate standard deviation, including screenshots, a video tutorial, an infographic, real-life examples, and a comparison with other statistical measurements. As you use these methods, it is essential to remember to avoid common mistakes for accurate results. With this guide, you’ll be sure to obtain practical insights from your data analysis.

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