Excel VAR Function

Using the Excel VAR Function


The Excel VAR function estimates the variance based on a sample, ignoring logical and text values. VAR has been replaced by the VAR.S function, which may provide improved accuracy. Microsoft recommends using the VAR.S function.

To find the variance for the entire population, use the VARP function or the more recent VAR.P function.


=VAR (number1, [number2], ...)

Syntax Breakdown

Number 1
Required. The first number that corresponds to a sample of a population.

Number 2
Number 2 and subsequent number arguments are optional. The function can accept up to 255 arguments. An array or reference to an array can also be used.

Usage Notes

VAR returns the estimated variance from data that is representative of a sample of a population. To calculate the variance for an entire population, use VARP or VAR.P.

Variance is used to provide a general idea of how far a set of numbers are spread out from the average value. More formally, it is the expectation of the squared deviation of a random variable from its mean.

Logical values and text representations of numbers that are hardcoded into an argument are evaluated. The function ignores logical values, text representation of numbers, error values, and empty cells that are contained in an array or reference.

Use the VARA function to calculate logical values and text representation of numbers.

Excel Variance Functions
Function Data Set Text & Logical Values
VAR Sample Ignored
VARP Population Ignored
VAR.S Sample Ignored
VAR.P Population Ignored
VARA Sample Evaluated
VARPA Population Evaluated