How to Calculate Standard Error in Excel: Beginner Guide

August 2, 2023 803 views

In statistical research and data analysis, understanding the precision of sample estimates is crucial. The standard error in Excel is a key measure for assessing the reliability of sample statistics. This article provides a beginner's guide on accurately calculating the standard error using Excel, with a focus on the STDEV function and an introduction to WPS Office as a free alternative.

Part 1: How to Calculate Standard Error Using STDEV Function

In this section, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of calculating the standard error in WPS Spreadsheet using the STDEV function. By understanding this fundamental method, you can accurately assess the precision of your sample estimates and make informed data-driven decisions.

Here's how you can calculate the standard error using WPS Spreadsheet:

Step 1. Open WPS Spreadsheet and enter your dataset in columns A to D. For example, let's assume your data is as follows:

Step 2. Now, in an empty cell, let's say F2, we will calculate the standard error for Data 1. You can use the following formula to accomplish this:

For Sample Standard Error (STDEV.S): =STDEV.S(A2:A6)/SQRT(COUNT(A2:A6))

For Population Standard Error (STDEVP): =STDEVP(A2:A6)/SQRT(COUNT(A2:A6))

Replace "A2:A6" with the actual range of your data in column A.

Step 3. Press Enter, and WPS Spreadsheet will display the calculated standard error for Data 1 in cell F2.

Step 4. To calculate the standard error for Data 2, Data 3, and Data 4, simply copy the formula from cell F2 to cells G2, H2, and I2, respectively.

Now you have successfully calculated the standard error for each dataset using WPS Spreadsheet. WPS Spreadsheet 's STDEV.S function is used for sample data, while STDEV.P function is used for population data. The SQRT function is used to calculate the square root, and COUNT function is used to count the number of data points in the dataset. This will help you assess the reliability and precision of your sample statistics in various data analysis and statistical research scenarios.


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Part 2: A Free Alternative Choice——WPS Office

In Part 2, we introduce you to an excellent free alternative - WPS Office. Discover the powerful features and strong compatibility of this all-in-one office tool. By choosing WPS Office, you can access a reliable and cost-effective solution for your office needs, making it a valuable resource in your data analysis and statistical research journey.

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These key points highlight the strengths and benefits of using WPS Office as a versatile and efficient office suite for various document needs and productivity tasks. Get WPS Office here.


1. How do you add standard errors in Excel?

To add standard errors in Excel, you can follow these steps:

Step 1. Calculate the standard deviation (STDEV) for your data using the appropriate function: STDEV.S for sample data or STDEV.P for population data.

Step 2. Divide the standard deviation value by the square root of the sample size (if you are using sample data) or the population size (if you are using population data).

Step 3. The result obtained in Step 2 represents the standard error.

For example, let's say you have a set of sample data in cells A2 to A11. To add the standard error for this data, you can use the following formula in a separate cell:

=STDEV.S(A2:A11) / SQRT(COUNT(A2:A11))

This formula calculates the sample standard error for the data in cells A2 to A11. If you are working with population data, use the STDEV.P function instead of STDEV.S in the formula.

Once you enter the formula, Excel will display the calculated standard error value in the cell.

2. What is the difference between Stdev P and Stdev S?


Use Case



Entire Population Data

SQRT(SUM((X - X̄)^2) / N)


Sample Data

SQRT(SUM((X - X̄)^2) / (n - 1))


  • Each data point in the dataset is represented by X..

  • X̄ is the mean of the dataset.

  • N is the number of data points in the entire population.

  • n is the number of data points in the sample.

Note: The correct choice between STDEV.P and STDEV.S depends on whether you have the entire population data or just a sample of it. Using the appropriate function ensures accurate representation of the data's variability. For small samples, STDEV.S is generally preferred to provide an unbiased estimate of the population's standard deviation.

3. How do you find the standard error of two samples?

To find the standard error of two samples, you can follow these steps:

Step 1. Determine each sample’s standard deviation.

Step 2. Determine the sample sizes (number of data points) for each sample.

Step 3. Divide each standard deviation by the square root of its sample size.

Step 4. Together, add the outcomes from Step 3.

The combined standard error represents the variability of the difference between the means of the two samples.


In summary, the article provides a comprehensive beginner's guide on accurately calculating the standard error using the STDEV function in WPS Spreadsheet or Excel. It emphasizes the importance of understanding the precision of sample estimates in statistical research and data analysis. The article also highlights the key features of WPS Office, a free and powerful alternative choice for users, with strong compatibility and a user-friendly interface. WPS Office offers a versatile set of tools that cater to various office tasks, making it an excellent option for productivity and data analysis needs.

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