How to Calculate Standard Error in Excel – Step by Step

Excel makes it really easy to calculate a range of statistical values, including Standard Error. Our guide will run through two different approaches that we can take – one using a formula, and the other using the data analysis toolpak.

What is the formula for Standard Error?

The formula for standard error takes the standard deviation of a set of values and divides it by the square root of the count of the number of values.

In order to calculate standard error in Excel using a formula we will need three sets of numbers:

  • Our list of initial values
  • Standard Deviation of these values
  • Square Root of these values

Our initial values that we are going to work with will be the below 10 numbers:

Standard error values

To calculate standard deviation and square root we can use a couple of built in formulas which will be as follows:

Standard Deviation: =STDEV.S(B3:B12)

Square Root: =SQRT(COUNT(B3:B12))

This now provides us with the required values to perform our main calculation:

Now all we need to do is divide the outputs of these two values, which would end up looking like:

=E3/E4

standard error formula

This now outputs our required standard error value:

You could also do this with a single formula wrapping everything together, which in the context of our dataset would be the below:

=STDEV.S(B3:B12)/SQRT(COUNT(B3:B12))

Calculating Standard Error Using the Data Analysis ToolPak

The second approach is using the built in Descriptive Statistics function as part of the Data Analysis ToolPak.

If you do not have the Data Analysis button under the Data tab (see below) then this guide will run through how to set it up.

Once set up, click on Data Analysis, and in the box that pops up select Descriptive Statistics:

Next, in the options that appear select our data by entering the range of cells under input range. If you have selected the header row tick the Labels in First Row and leave grouped by as columns (unless your data goes across rows instead).

All you need to do now is tick Summary Statistics, set the output destination, usually just new worksheet for simplicity, and press OK.

standard error using descriptive statistics

On the new tab we are now presented with this nice clean summary, including the same Standard Error of 1.93 that we achieved manually in our first method.

descriptive statistics output

Both of these approaches are quite simple and there is no real benefit of one over the other, although if you are performing further analysis then descriptive statistics can be quite handy!

This sums up our guide on how to calculate standard error in Excel.

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