How to Find Standard Deviation in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Finding Standard Deviation in Excel

Calculating standard deviation in Excel is super easy and helps you figure out how much your data points deviate from the average. Basically, you’ll use Excel’s built-in functions to find this statistical measure quickly. Follow the steps below, and you’ll have your standard deviation in no time!

Step-by-Step Tutorial: How to Find Standard Deviation in Excel

Ready to dive in? Here are the steps to calculate standard deviation in Excel using the STDEV.S function, which is designed for sample data.

Step 1: Open Excel and Input Data

Open Excel and enter your data points into a single column.

Having your data organized in a single column makes it easier for Excel to process your calculations. Ensure there are no empty cells within your data range, as this could lead to incorrect results.

Step 2: Highlight the Data Range

Click and drag to highlight the cells that contain your data.

Highlighting the correct range is crucial. Double-check that you’ve included all necessary data points and haven’t accidentally selected extra cells.

Step 3: Select the "Formulas" Tab

Go to the "Formulas" tab on the Excel ribbon.

The "Formulas" tab is where you’ll find various functions, including the statistical functions needed to calculate standard deviation.

Step 4: Click on "More Functions"

Within the "Formulas" tab, click on "More Functions," then hover over "Statistical."

The "More Functions" menu opens up a list of various function categories. Hovering over "Statistical" will display a drop-down menu of statistical functions.

Step 5: Choose "STDEV.S"

From the drop-down menu, select "STDEV.S."

"STDEV.S" is the function used for calculating the standard deviation of a sample dataset. This function is ideal for most practical purposes.

Step 6: Enter the Data Range

A dialog box will appear. Enter or confirm the data range in the box.

Make sure the data range in the dialog box matches the cells you’ve highlighted. If not, you can manually adjust it here.

Step 7: Click "OK"

Click the "OK" button to complete the process.

After clicking "OK," Excel will automatically calculate the standard deviation and display it in the cell you selected.

Completing these steps will display the standard deviation of your dataset in Excel. This value gives you a measure of the spread of your data points around the average.

Tips for Finding Standard Deviation in Excel

  • Double-check your data: Ensure there are no blank cells or errors in the data range.
  • Use labels: Label your columns to keep your data organized.
  • Save your work: Always save your Excel file before and after performing calculations.
  • Use Excel Help: If you’re stuck, use Excel’s built-in Help feature for more guidance.
  • Practice: The more you use Excel functions like STDEV.S, the more comfortable you’ll become.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is standard deviation?

Standard deviation measures the amount of variation or dispersion in a set of values.

What’s the difference between STDEV.S and STDEV.P?

STDEV.S calculates the standard deviation for a sample, while STDEV.P calculates it for an entire population.

Can I use standard deviation for non-numeric data?

No, standard deviation requires numeric values to calculate the dispersion accurately.

Is there a shortcut to find standard deviation in Excel?

Yes, you can use the formula bar and type =STDEV.S(A1:A10) directly to calculate the standard deviation for the range A1 to A10.

What do I do if I get an error message?

Double-check your data range and ensure all cells contain numeric values. Errors often arise from incorrect data input.


  1. Open Excel and Input Data
  2. Highlight the Data Range
  3. Select the "Formulas" Tab
  4. Click on "More Functions"
  5. Choose "STDEV.S"
  6. Enter the Data Range
  7. Click "OK"


Finding standard deviation in Excel is a breeze once you know the steps. This powerful tool helps you understand how your data points are spread out. Whether you’re a student, a professional, or just someone who loves numbers, knowing how to calculate standard deviation can be incredibly useful.

You can even use this as a stepping stone to explore other statistical functions in Excel. So, go ahead and practice these steps. The more you use Excel, the more comfortable you’ll get with its many features.

Remember, Excel isn’t just a spreadsheet; it’s a powerful analytical tool that can make your life a lot easier.

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