Author: Oscar Cronquist Article last updated on December 07, 2020

The VAR.S function tries to estimate the variance based on a sample of the population. The function ignores logical and text values.

Formula in cell B13:


The formula calculates the variance of the numbers in cell range B3:B7.

Both Set1 and Set2 above have the same average 30, however, values in Set2 are much more spread out.

Set1 variance: 212.5 and Set2 variance: 10750.

Excel Function Syntax



number1 Required.  A cell reference to the sample of the population.
number2 Optional. Up to 254 additional arguments.

What is the variance?

what is standard deviation

The variance shows how much a set of numbers are spread out from their average value.

Variance tells you how far from the average values are spread out. Both charts above have numbers and an average plotted, they share the same average however, the numbers are not the same.

Chart A above shows that the values are more spread out than the values in chart B. Chart A has a variance of approx 550.02, the variance for chart B is approx 27.11. Variance is often used in statistics.

How is the output from the VAR.S function calculated?

The equation for VAR.S is:

x ̅  is the sample mean AVERAGE(number1,number2,…)

n is the sample size.

Using the example above (Set1), the average of 10, 30, 25, 50 and 35 is 30.

(10-30)^2+(30-30)^2+(25-30)^2+(50-30)^2+(35-30)^2 = 850

850 / 4 = 212.5.

What is the difference between the standard deviation and variance?

VAR.S function formula:

subtotal tool variance sample

STDEV.S function formula:

stdev formula

Standard deviation is the square root of the variance.