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Using MS Excel as a Calculator

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 Note about this Tutorial This tutorial has been updated. It was originally published using Excel 2003. The new images are screenshots from Excel 2013. There may be very slight differences for those of you using Excel 2016 but, essentially, the layout is much the same as Excel 2013. Download the Excel Data File used for this tutorial to practice with StDevFile.xlsx

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Using MS Excel 2013 as a Calculator

Using Preset Functions

Each of the cells in a spread sheet can carry out calculations. Either you choose from the collection of functions in the tool bar or you type in your own function.

• Select a cell at the bottom of a column where you want the mean (average) to be calculated.

• Click on the functions button in the tool bar

• Select Average and click on it.

An equation will appear in the cell indicating the function and the cells it will use with this function. Check that they are the correct cells and click OK or press Enter.

The mean will appear in the box.

The same thing can be done if you want to calculate the Standard Deviation of this sample.

Select a cell, Click on the function button. This time you will have to search for Standard deviation amongst the Other functions.

If you have used it recently it will be there. If not, look use the 'Search for a function' box by typing STDEV.

Click on Standard deviation. The dialogue box will tell you which cells it is using to calculate the Standard Deviation. This time you will see that it does not select the correct cells automatically.

Hold down the left mouse button and run the mouse down the correct series of figures and the cells will change in the dialogue box. Click OK or press Enter

The Standard deviation will appear in the cell you selected.

If you need to adjust the number of decimal places use the buttons on the tool bar.

The advantage of a spread sheet is that you can make it repeat a calculation over and over for similar series of data.

• Highlight the boxes for mean and standard deviation.

• Place the mouse cursor on the bottom right of the box and hold down the left mouse button.

Pull the cursor across the bottom of the table and then let go of the mouse. The means and standard deviations of each column will appear in the boxes.