How to Find the Z Score in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Learning how to find the z score in Excel is a breeze! This task involves using simple formulas to calculate how far a data point is from the mean, measured in standard deviations. By following a few straightforward steps, you’ll be a z-score whiz in no time.

How to Find the Z Score in Excel

In this guide, we’ll walk through the steps to find the z score in Excel. You will learn how to input your data, calculate the mean and standard deviation, and use these values to determine the z score for each data point.

Step 1: Input Your Data

Open Excel and enter your dataset into a column, say column A.

Having your data organized in a column ensures you can easily reference it for calculations. Make sure each data point has its own cell.

Step 2: Calculate the Mean

In an empty cell, type =AVERAGE(A:A) to find the mean of your dataset.

The mean is the average value of your dataset. Excel’s AVERAGE function makes it super easy to calculate this with just one formula.

Step 3: Calculate the Standard Deviation

In another empty cell, type =STDEV.P(A:A) to find the standard deviation of your dataset.

The standard deviation tells you how spread out the numbers in your dataset are. Using STDEV.P calculates this value assuming your data is from a whole population.

Step 4: Input the Z Score Formula

In a new column, next to your data, type =(A1 - $mean$) / $stddev$ where $mean$ is the cell with the mean value and $stddev$ is the cell with the standard deviation value.

This formula subtracts the mean from each data point and then divides by the standard deviation, giving you the z score for each point.

Step 5: Copy the Formula

Drag the formula down the column to apply it to all your data points.

Dragging the formula ensures that each data point gets its own z score. Excel will adjust the cell references automatically.

After completing these steps, you will have a column of z scores next to your original data. Each z score tells you how far and in what direction each data point is from the mean.

Tips for Finding the Z Score in Excel

  • Double-check your data for errors before beginning your calculations.
  • Use absolute cell references (with $) for the mean and standard deviation in your z score formula to keep them constant.
  • If your dataset is a sample rather than a whole population, use STDEV.S instead of STDEV.P.
  • Label your columns clearly so you don’t confuse the data points with their z scores.
  • Save your work frequently to avoid losing any data or calculations.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a z score?

A z score shows how many standard deviations a data point is from the mean.

Why is the z score useful?

It standardizes different datasets, making them easier to compare.

Can I calculate the z score for negative values?

Yes, the z score formula works for both positive and negative values.

What if my dataset contains text?

The AVERAGE and STDEV.P functions will ignore text, so ensure your dataset is all numerical.

Can I use this method for large datasets?

Absolutely! Excel can handle large datasets efficiently with these functions.


  1. Input your data
  2. Calculate the mean
  3. Calculate the standard deviation
  4. Input the z score formula
  5. Copy the formula


Finding the z score in Excel is a straightforward process that involves simple steps of entering data, calculating the mean and standard deviation, and then applying the z score formula. Knowing how to find the z score empowers you to analyze data more effectively, comparing different datasets and understanding data distributions better. Whether you’re a student working on a project, a data analyst, or someone keen on understanding statistics, mastering this technique is a valuable skill. Happy calculating!

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