# How to use excel to calculate coefficient of variation

Written by kelvin o'donahue
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The coefficient of variation, or CV, is a statistical measure of the central tendency or dispersion of a data set. Unlike other measurements of central tendency, the CV is normalised. This makes it particularly well-suited for analysing data whose standard deviation tends to increase along with the mean.

Skill level:
Easy

## Instructions

1. 1

Enter the data to be analysed in one column of an Excel spreadsheet.

2. 2

Use the Excel AVERAGE() function to calculate the mean of the data. In a blank cell on the spreadsheet, type "=AVERAGE(" (without quotes) and highlight all of the cells containing the data. Press "Enter" to see the mean of the data.

3. 3

Use the Excel STDEV() function to calculate the standard deviation of the data. In a second empty cell, type "=STDEV(" (without quotes) and highlight the data. Press "Enter" to view the standard deviation of the data.

4. 4

Divide the standard deviation by the mean: in a third empty cell, type "=" (without quotes) and click on the cell containing the standard deviation. Type "/" (without quotes) and click on the cell containing the mean. Press "Enter" to view the coefficient of variation.

#### Tips and warnings

• A low value of CV, such as 0.05, indicates low dispersion of the data set.
• The mean of the data must not be zero.

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