Descriptive Statistics Tools

Excel provides a data analysis tool called Descriptive Statistics which produces a summary of the key statistics for a data set.

Example 1 – Provide a table of the most common descriptive statistics for the scores in column A of Figure 1.

Descriptive Statistics data analysis tool output

Figure 1 – Output from Descriptive Statistics data analysis tool

The output from the tool is shown in the right side of Figure 1. To use the tool, select Data > Analysis|Data Analysis and choose the Descriptive Statistics option. A dialog box appears as in Figure 2.

Dialog box for Excel's Descriptive Statistics data analysis tool

Figure 2 – Dialog box for Excel’s data analysis tool

Now click on Input Range and highlight the scores in column A (i.e. cells A3:A14). If you include the heading, as is done here, check Labels in first row. Since we want the output to start in cell C3, click the Output Range radio button and insert C3 (or click on cell C3). Finally click the Summary statistics checkbox and press the OK button.

Note that if we had also checked the Kth Largest checkbox, the output would also contain the value for LARGE(A4:A14, k) where k is the number we insert in the box to the right of the label Kth Largest. Similarly, checking the Kth Smallest checkbox outputs SMALL(A4:A14, k). The option Confidence Interval for Mean option generates a confidence interval using the t distribution as explained in One Sample t Test.

Real Statistics Data Analysis Tool: The Real Statistics Resource Pack provides the supplemental Descriptive Statistics and Normality data analysis tool which outputs the above statistics plus GEOMEAN, HARMEAN, MAD, AAD and IQR. But instead of just generating the numerical value of each statistic, as is in Excel’s Descriptive Statistics data analysis tool, the Real Statistics tool outputs the appropriate Excel formula for computing each statistic (see Figure 4 below). Thus whenever the input data values change, the output values will change automatically as well.

Both Excel’s Descriptive Statistics and the Real Statistics Descriptive Statistics and Normality data analysis tools allow you to report on multiple sets of data at the same time, as shown in the following example.

Example 2 – Use Excel’s Descriptive Statistics data analysis tool as well as the Real Statistics Descriptive Statistics and Normality data analysis tool to show the descriptive statistics for the two samples on the left side of Figure 3.

Descriptive statistics tool multiple

Figure 3 – Output from Excel’s Descriptive Statistics data analysis tool

The output from the Excel Descriptive Statistics data analysis tool is given on the right side of Figure 3. To use the Real Statistics data analysis tool, enter Ctrl-m and select the Descriptive Statistics and Normality option. A dialog box will now appear. Insert A5:B18 into the Input Range, make sure Column headings included with data is checked and select the Descriptive Statistics option. The following output will be displayed:

Improved Descriptive Statistics data analysis tool

Figure 4 – Real Statistics Descriptive Statistics data analysis tool

As described above, the tool actually generates formulas instead of the numerical values.

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