How to Get Relative and Cumulative Distribution in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

To get relative and cumulative distribution in Excel, you need to organize your data, create a frequency distribution, and then use formulas to calculate the relative and cumulative percentages. After this, you can easily visualize your distribution with a chart.

After completing the task, you will have a clear representation of your data’s distribution. This allows you to make informed decisions based on the frequency and distribution of your data points.


Excel is not just a tool for crunching numbers and managing data; it’s also a powerful tool for statistical analysis. Among the most useful statistical tools in Excel are the relative and cumulative distribution functions. These functions are essential for anyone in the fields of statistics, data analysis, and research, as they help to understand the frequency and distribution of data within a dataset.

Relative distribution gives you the percentage each value contributes to the total, while cumulative distribution shows the cumulative percentage of the data up to a certain point. Both distributions provide valuable insights into the data, revealing patterns and trends that might not be immediately obvious. Whether you are a student, professional, or researcher, getting a grip on these distributions will enhance your analytical capabilities and make your data tell a more compelling story.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Get Relative and Cumulative Distribution in Excel

The following steps will guide you on how to calculate the relative and cumulative distribution of your data in Excel.

Step 1: Organize Your Data

First, make sure that your data is sorted in ascending order.

Organizing your data is crucial for creating accurate distributions. If the data is not sorted, the distributions will not reflect the actual trends and patterns in your dataset.

Step 2: Create a Frequency Distribution

Next, use the “COUNTIF” function to create a frequency distribution of your data.

Creating a frequency distribution is the foundation for calculating relative and cumulative distributions. This step counts how many times each data point appears in the dataset.

Step 3: Calculate Relative Distribution

After creating the frequency distribution, use the “SUM” function to calculate the total frequency, and then divide each frequency by this total to get the relative distribution.

Relative distribution is expressed as a percentage, showing how each data point’s frequency compares to the total number of data points.

Step 4: Calculate Cumulative Distribution

Finally, use the “SUM” function again to calculate the cumulative distribution by adding up the relative distributions from the first data point to each subsequent data point in order.

Cumulative distribution represents the running total of frequencies, giving you an idea of how the data accumulates over the range of values.


Insightful AnalysisCalculating relative and cumulative distributions in Excel provides a deeper understanding of your data, enabling you to identify trends and patterns that can inform decision-making.
Data VisualizationOnce you have the distributions, you can easily create graphs and charts in Excel to visualize your data, making it easier to communicate your findings.
EfficiencyExcel automates these calculations, which saves time and reduces the potential for human error compared to manual calculations.


Data LimitationsExcel can only handle datasets of a certain size; extremely large datasets may require more sophisticated statistical software.
Learning CurveSome users may find Excel’s functions and formulas intimidating at first, which can be a barrier to conducting these analyses.
Over-simplificationWhile Excel is sufficient for basic and intermediate statistical analysis, it may not offer the complexity needed for advanced statistical modeling.

Additional Information

While Excel is a versatile tool for handling relative and cumulative distribution, there are a few tips that can make your life even easier. Remember to check that your data is clean, with no errors or inconsistencies, before starting your analysis. Clean data is the bedrock of reliable statistical analysis.

Also, familiarize yourself with Excel’s various chart options. Once you have your relative and cumulative distributions, visualizing them with a chart can make the patterns in your data more accessible and understandable. Excel offers a variety of chart styles, so experiment with them to find the one that best suits your data.

Don’t forget to leverage Excel’s powerful formulas. Beyond “COUNTIF” and “SUM,” there are a plethora of other functions at your disposal that can enhance your analysis. The more you play around with these functions, the more proficient you’ll become at extracting valuable insights from your data.


  1. Organize your data in ascending order.
  2. Create a frequency distribution using “COUNTIF.”
  3. Calculate relative distribution by dividing each frequency by the total frequency.
  4. Calculate cumulative distribution by adding up the relative distributions in order.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between relative and cumulative distribution?

Relative distribution shows the proportion each data point contributes to the total, while cumulative distribution shows the accumulated percentage up to each data point.

Can Excel handle very large datasets for distribution analysis?

Excel may struggle with extremely large datasets, and another statistical software might be more suitable for such cases.

Will Excel automatically create charts for my distributions?

No, you must manually create charts, but Excel provides all the tools necessary to do so effectively.

How accurate are Excel’s distribution calculations?

Excel’s calculations are highly accurate as long as the data is entered correctly and the formulas are used properly.

Can I use these distributions for predictive analysis?

Yes, understanding the distribution of your data can be a stepping stone for further predictive analysis and modeling.


Mastering how to get relative and cumulative distribution in Excel will unlock a new level of data analysis for you. Whether you’re a student crunching numbers for a project, a researcher analyzing survey data, or a business professional making data-driven decisions, these distributions are vital tools in your arsenal.

The ability to quickly and accurately visualize the frequency and accumulation of your data can reveal insights that might otherwise remain hidden. With practice and patience, Excel’s distribution functions will become second nature, allowing you to make the most of your data. So, dive into Excel, play around with its many functions, and watch your data come to life!

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