How to Do Standard Deviation in Excel: 2024 Guide for Beginners

Calculating the standard deviation in Excel is as simple as inputting your data set into a spreadsheet, and using the built-in function called STDEV.S. After inputting your data, select the cell where you want the standard deviation to appear, type in the formula =STDEV.S(), and then select the range of data you want to calculate the standard deviation for. Hit enter, and voila, your standard deviation calculation is complete.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to do Standard Deviation in Excel

Standard deviation is a statistical measure that tells us how spread out the numbers in a data set are. In Excel, you can calculate it with a few clicks. Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Enter your data into Excel

Type in your numbers in a column or row without any gaps.

Entering your data correctly is crucial. Make sure you don’t have any blank cells in the range you want to calculate the standard deviation for, as this can affect the result.

Step 2: Click on an empty cell

This cell is where your standard deviation result will appear.

Be sure to choose a cell that’s not next to your data to avoid any confusion.

Step 3: Type in the standard deviation formula

Use =STDEV.S() for a sample data set, or =STDEV.P() if your data represents an entire population.

The STDEV.S function is typically used when your data is a sample of a larger population, whereas STDEV.P is used when you have data for the entire population.

Step 4: Select the range of data

Click and drag to highlight the cells with your data.

Make sure to include all the data points you want to calculate the standard deviation for, but exclude any headers or labels.

Step 5: Press Enter

After selecting your data, close the parentheses in the formula and hit Enter.

Excel will now calculate the standard deviation for the data you selected.

After completing these steps, you’ll have the standard deviation of your data set displayed in the cell you selected. It’s an easy way to understand the variability of your data in just a few clicks.

Tips for Standard Deviation in Excel

  • Double-check your data range to make sure you’re calculating the standard deviation for the correct set of numbers.
  • Remember to use the correct standard deviation function for your data set (STDEV.S for a sample, STDEV.P for a population).
  • If your data has outliers or extreme values, consider using the STDEV.S function as it is less affected by them.
  • Ensure your data doesn’t have any non-numeric entries, as this can cause errors in your calculation.
  • Familiarize yourself with other related functions like VAR.S and VAR.P, which calculate variance, a measure related to standard deviation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between STDEV.S and STDEV.P?

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

Can standard deviation be a negative number?

No, standard deviation is always a non-negative number because it is a measure of distance from the mean, and distance cannot be negative.

What does a high standard deviation mean?

A high standard deviation means that the data points are spread out over a wider range of values and are less clustered around the mean.

How do I know if my standard deviation is correct?

Double-check your data range and formula. Compare your result with a manual calculation or use online standard deviation calculators to cross-check.

Can I calculate standard deviation for non-numeric data?

No, standard deviation calculations require numeric data because it measures the dispersion of numbers from the mean.


  1. Enter your data into Excel
  2. Click on an empty cell
  3. Type in the standard deviation formula
  4. Select the range of data
  5. Press Enter


Mastering how to do standard deviation in Excel is a valuable skill, whether you’re a student, a professional, or just someone who loves crunching numbers. It’s a window into understanding the volatility and consistency of your data set. With Excel’s straightforward functions, you can quickly compute this crucial statistical measure and gain deeper insights into your data. Remember, knowing the variability of data can help you make more informed decisions, and Excel makes this process accessible and efficient. So, the next time you’re faced with a set of numbers and need to assess their spread, turn to Excel’s standard deviation functions and let the software do the heavy lifting. Keep practicing, and soon you’ll be navigating Excel like a pro!

Join Our Free Newsletter

Featured guides and deals

You may opt out at any time. Read our Privacy Policy