Introduction to Real Statistics using Excel

Statistics is a field of study that has two principal objectives:

  • Describing data (Descriptive Statistics)
  • Making inferences based on experimentally observed data (Inferential Statistics)

Descriptive Statistics involves calculating the mean, median, variance, standard deviation and other properties of the data, and presenting this information in ways that make the data more meaningful, such as histograms, boxplots, QQ plots, etc.

Inferential Statistics involves analyzing data and inferring characteristics of a general population based on the same properties of a sample taken from the population. This is what gives the field of statistics its power since with a relatively small amount of data you are able to make significant assertions, even though such inferences are not 100% certain, but probabilistic in nature.

This website provides a tutorial on statistics plus access to tools that let you calculate various statistical tests from within Excel, including the following:

  • Tutorial on basic statistical tests and analyses
  • Free access to supplemental Excel formulas and data analysis tools
  • Step by step procedures for carrying out these tests and analyses using Excel
  • Numerous examples
  • Some of the theory behind these analyses (primarily in the Appendix)

There are a number of commonly used, powerful tools for carrying out statistical analyses. The most popular of these are SPSS, SAS and R. We have chosen instead to use Excel as our analysis tool, even though it offers far fewer built-in statistical tools. The reasons for choosing Excel are as follows:

  • It is widely available and so many more people know how to use it
  • It is not necessary to incur the cost of yet another tool
  • It is not necessary to learn new methods of manipulating data and drawing graphs
  • It already contains some basic statistics functions and data analysis tools
  • It is much easier to see what is going on since unlike the more popular statistical analysis tools very little is hidden from the user
  • It provides the user with a lot of control and flexibility

This makes Excel an ideal tool for learning statistical concepts, although often it is easier to use the standard statistical tools for carrying out more advanced statistical analyses. To address Excel’s shortcomings, therefore, we have created the Real Statistics Resource Pack which contains various supplemental tools that enable you to carry out a wide range of advanced statistical analyses without leaving the Excel environment. The Resource Pack can be downloaded for free by clicking on Download.

While everything in this website can be done with standard Excel, the tools in the Resource Pack make it easier to perform statistical analyses. The website focuses on Excel 2016, 2013, 2010 and 2007, although much of what is described will work fine with previous versions of Excel.

No advanced mathematics is necessary to use this website. In particular calculus is not required. For those readers who are familiar with calculus and are interested in the derivation of some of the statistical concepts described in the website, from time to time you will have the opportunity to click on a link to access more advanced information.

Knowledge of Excel is also not required. Excel Environment contains an introduction to Excel and Excel Capabilities provides more detailed information. There are also many books and online resources that provide a wealth of information about how to use Excel.

In the past few months we have added many new statistical capabilities. More new features are being all the time, so stayed tuned.

11 Responses to Introduction to Real Statistics using Excel

  1. Remy says:

    Thanks for this. Simple and effective!

  2. Maria Manuela Perez says:

    Hello Doug, my name is Manuela, i am a radiologist doing a pediatric fellowship in Toronto and fall into your site due to pure desperation… !! As part of my training I am expected to produce decent original research and the statistician support is very limited. As a lot of doctors my training in this matters is poor… which has led me to lose a looot of time trying to understand! I have discovered Excel but this page is going to help me a lot, thanks for your time in putting it together!

  3. Fernando says:

    Hi Charles,

    I would like say “Thanks” because Real stats is really good! I had used in windows in office 2015, but now I have a macbook + office 2016. I followed the steps that you told. The add-in is there, but i can’t find the icon in excel 2016 on macbook as I used had in excel 2015 in windows laptop. So … i can’t do the Statistical analysis.

    I’ll appreciate your suggestion.


  4. yakoubi med says:

    thank you for this usefuls Web Site and pack

  5. Dave says:

    What a fantastic resource. I’m studying business, and this site will really help me get through it!

  6. Colin says:

    Thank you very much sir! I am a fan of Excel and I am studying statistics. This website really help!


  7. Frank Finkenberg says:

    I second the request for multivariate support. I’d like to do Excel-based Monte Carlo simulations of real stock returns, real bond returns, and inflation, based on published parameters for the arithmetic mean, geometric mean, std deviation, and cross-correlation coefficients of each variable.


    • Charles says:

      Thanks Frank for your input. I am compiling input now for what should be in the releases after the multivariate release later this month. I will certainly consider your suggestion and will likely come back to you for more input about your request.

  8. Doug Marker says:

    Your wesite is well done.

    I would like to ask when the Real Multivariate Statistical Analysis using Excel will be added.


    • admin says:

      Hi Doug,
      My current plan is to have the multivariate support up and running by the end of the summer. Please let me know which capabilities are most interesting to you.

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