How to Use Excel to Find Percentiles: A Step-by-Step Guide

Calculating percentiles in Excel is a breeze. Simply use the PERCENTILE or PERCENTILE.EXC function, input your data range and the percentile you’re looking for, and Excel will do the heavy lifting. It’s a handy way to understand the distribution of your data, whether you’re a student handling statistics or a professional analyzing market trends.

After executing these steps, Excel will provide you with the value that represents the percentile you’re looking for. This information can be crucial for making data-driven decisions or gaining insights into your dataset.


Ever been awash in a sea of data and felt lost? When you’re trying to make sense of numbers, percentiles can be your guiding star. They help you understand where a particular value stands within a dataset. For example, if your value is at the 90th percentile, it means it’s higher than 90% of the other values. This is particularly useful in fields like education, finance, and marketing where ranking and comparison are key.

But how do you find these percentiles? If you’re using Excel, it’s got you covered. Microsoft Excel is not just a spreadsheet; it’s a powerhouse of data analysis tools, and finding percentiles is one of its capabilities. This function is handy for everyone – students can use it for their statistics homework, while professionals can leverage it to analyze business data. Understanding how to use Excel to find percentiles can save you time and give you accurate results. Let’s dive in and learn how to use this useful feature.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Use Excel to Find Percentiles

Before we start, make sure you have your data ready in Excel. The following steps will guide you through the process of finding percentiles.

Step 1: Select the cell where you want the result to appear

Click on the cell in Excel where you want the percentile value to be displayed.

Step 2: Type the PERCENTILE function

In the selected cell, type =PERCENTILE(array, k) where “array” is your range of data and “k” is the percentile you want to find.

Step 3: Input your data range

Replace “array” in the function with the actual range of data. For instance, if your data is in cells A1 to A10, your function will look like =PERCENTILE(A1:A10, k).

Step 4: Input the desired percentile

Replace “k” in the function with the percentile value you want to find. If you’re looking for the 90th percentile, your function will look like =PERCENTILE(A1:A10, 0.9).

Step 5: Press Enter

After inputting the function, hit Enter and Excel will calculate the percentile for you.

This function will give you the exact value that represents the percentile you’re interested in. It’s a powerful way to understand your data better and make informed decisions based on where the value stands in your dataset.


Fast and easyUsing Excel’s percentile function is a quick process that does not require manual calculations.
Accurate resultsExcel’s calculations are reliable and can handle large datasets with ease, providing precise percentiles.
VersatileThe percentile function can be used for a variety of data types and is useful in many fields.


Requires basic Excel knowledgeTo use the percentile function, one must have a basic understanding of how Excel functions.
Limited by data qualityThe accuracy of the percentile is only as good as the quality of the data inputted into Excel.
Can be confusingPercentiles can be confusing for those unfamiliar with statistical concepts, and Excel’s function doesn’t explain the meaning behind the result.

Additional Information

Finding percentiles is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Excel’s capabilities. Remember, the quality of your data will greatly influence the accuracy of your percentile. So, always double-check your data before running any calculations. Additionally, Excel offers two functions: PERCENTILE, which includes both ends of the data range, and PERCENTILE.EXC, which excludes the 0th and 100th percentiles. Choose the one that best fits your needs.

Sometimes, you might need a visual representation of your percentiles. In such cases, you can complement your analysis with charts. Excel’s charting features can help you display your data in a histogram or boxplot, which can be particularly useful for presentations or reports.


  1. Select the cell for the result
  2. Type the PERCENTILE function
  3. Input your data range
  4. Input the desired percentile
  5. Press Enter

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between PERCENTILE and PERCENTILE.EXC?

PERCENTILE includes all data values in the calculation, while PERCENTILE.EXC excludes the 0th and 100th percentiles.

Can I use percentiles for any type of data?

Yes, percentiles can be calculated for any numerical data.

How can I find multiple percentiles at once?

You can copy the percentile function and adjust the “k” value for each percentile you want to calculate.

Why does my percentile function return an error?

Ensure your data range and percentile value (“k”) are correctly inputted; an error often indicates a problem with these inputs.

Can I use percentiles to compare different datasets?

Yes, percentiles are an excellent way to compare the relative standing of values across different datasets.


Excel’s percentile function is a potent tool that can transform raw data into valuable insights. Whether you’re a student, an analyst, or a data enthusiast, mastering how to use Excel to find percentiles can enhance your data analysis skills.

Remember, percentiles offer a way to understand the position of a value within a dataset, giving you a competitive edge in decision-making. So, next time you’re faced with a mountain of data, don’t panic. Excel has got your back, and now you’ve got the know-how to tackle it head-on.

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