Microsoft Excel has been a lifesaver for most organizations and individuals in recording and manipulating data. Although the Office product has a designated function for most statistical measures, it currently doesn’t offer a function to calculate the Standard Error of a sample in a population.
Despite standard error not having its own function in Excel, it is still possible for you to manually calculate the value. Here, we will guide you in calculating a sample’s standard error in Microsoft Excel.
How to Calculate Standard Error in Excel?
The fact the standard error does not have its own function shouldn’t be that big of an issue. As standard error calculates the standard deviation of a sampling distribution, you can use the function to calculate the standard deviation of the sample and divide it with the square root of the number of samples in use.
Below, we’ve listed two methods you could use to calculate the standard error in Excel. Refer to the one that is the most relevant to you.
Using Library Functions
This method is comparatively shorter as it uses Excel library functions. Additionally, it leaves room for less human error. If you prefer using functions in Excel, we recommend you apply this method to calculate the standard error of a sample.
You need to use three functions to calculate the standard error in Excel:
- STDEV.S: This function is used to calculate a sample’s standard deviation.
- SQRT: This function calculates the squared root value of a number.
- COUNTA: This function calculates the number of cells that aren’t empty.
Refer to these steps to calculate standard error in Excel:
- Open your Excel workbook.
- Enter your data in the Excel grid.
- On a new cell, follow this format to enter the formula to calculate the standard error:
You can use Flash fill to calculate the standard error of other samples you’ve entered on a different row or column. To use Flash fill, place your cursor on the bottom-right edge of the cell you’ve entered the formula and drag it across the cells.
Excel will recognize a pattern and apply this formula to calculate the standard error of the other samples.
You could also manually calculate the standard error in Excel. If you prefer not to use functions while performing calculations, this method could be the right fit for you. However, this method could be longer than using functions.
Here are the steps you need to follow to calculate the standard error of a sample population in Excel manually:
- Open your workbook in Excel.
- Enter your values in the grid.
- Calculate the standard deviation of your values.
- Calculate the square root of the number of samples you’ve used.
- Divide your calculated standard deviation from your calculated squared root.
Errors in Calculating Standard Error in Excel
You may encounter certain error messages while calculating a sample’s standard error. Excel gives each error a code to uniquely identify the problem. This gives the users a chance to rectify the errors on their own to carry on with their calculations.
Here are the errors you may encounter while performing your calculations in Excel:
- #NAME?: You may encounter this error if you incorrectly type the name of the functions used to calculate the SE of a sample.
- #REF!: If the cells you’ve referred to are missing or replaced, you may come across this error.
- #VALUE!: The #VALUE! error mostly deals with the improper use of syntax in a formula.
- #SPILL!: You can run into this error while trying to use the flash fill feature we’ve mentioned above.