A normal distribution curve is a statistical function that describes how data behaves around any given mean. Also known as a Gaussian distribution or bell curve, a normal distribution curve allows statisticians to analyse data and make predictions. Graphing a normal distribution curve is a frequent activity in any elementary statistics class. Microsoft's Excel 2007 can make this activity easy for you by providing you with dynamic graphing tools that can create professional-looking graphs from your data.
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Open a new worksheet in Excel.
Fill in your x-values in column 1, starting at cell A1. For example, if you want your x-values to be from -10 to 10, write "-10" in cell A1, "-9.5" in cell A2, and "-9" in cell A3, all without quotes. Continue down the column until you have entered all of your values through to cell A41.
Enter "=NORMDIST(A1,0,1,0)" without quotes into cell B2. This formula is for the standard normal distribution, with a mean of 0 and a standard deviation of 1. You can enter any mean or standard deviation into this formula. For example, if you want a mean of 10 and a standard deviation of 2, enter "=NORMDIST(A1,10,2,0)" without quotes .
Highlight the two columns by left clicking on cell A1 and dragging your cursor down to cell B41.
Choose "Insert | Scatter| Scatter with Smooth Lines and Markers."
Tips and warnings
- The more x-values you put in, the more your normal distribution will look like a bell curve. For example, try increments of 0.1 instead of 0.5.
- Instead of manually entering all of your values, use Excel's fill tool to fill in cells. For example, to fill in the x-values, write "-10" in cell A1, "-9" in cell A2, highlight both cells and drag the fill tool to cell A41.
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