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Excel VAR function

Author: Siluvia Last Modified: 2022-03-29

The VAR function calculates the variance based on a given sample..

VAR function vs. VAR.S function:

Starting from Excel 2010, the VAR function has been replaced by the VAR.S function. Although they can both be used to estimate the variance based on a given sample, the VAR.S function is more recommended for future use, because the VAR function may not be available in future versions of Excel.

Excel variance functions

The following table lists all Excel variance functions and their usage notes, which can help you choose the one that best suits your needs.

 Name  Data type  Text and logicals in references
 VAR  Sample  Ignored
 VAR.S  Sample  Ignored
 VARA  Sample  Evaluated
 VARP  Population  Ignore
 VAR.P  Population  Ignored
 VARPA  Population  Evaluated


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


  • Number1 (required): The first sample number used in the calculation;
  • Number2, ... (required): The second and more sample numbers used in the calculation.


1. There can be up to 255 arguments at a time.
2. Arguments can be either of:
-- Numbers;
-- Range names, arrays or cell references that contain numbers.
3. The VAR function takes the arguments as a sample of the population.
Tips: If the data you provided represents the whole population, it is recommended to use the VAR.P function.
4. Logical values and text representations of numbers that you directly type in the arguments will be included in the calculation:
-- Logical values: TRUE (1) or FALSE (0);
-- Text representations of numbers: Numbers enclosed in double quotation marks such as “2”.
5. Empty cells, logical values, text, or error values will be ignored in the array or cell references.
Tips: If you want to include logical values, text representations of numbers in the array or cell references as part of the calculation, it is recommended to use the VARA function.
6. The #VALUE! error occurs if any of the supplied arguments you typed directly in the function are text strings that cannot be interpreted as numbers by Excel.
7. The #DIV/0! error occurs if there are less than 2 numeric values supplied to the function.
8. The equation of the VAR function is as follows:

-- x represents each value in the sample.
--  is the average of the sample.
-- n is the number of cells in the sample range.

Return value

It returns a numeric value.


The following table is a sample of scores. To estimate the variance based on it, you can do as follows.

Select a cell (says F6 in this case), enter the formula below and press the Enter key to get the result.


Note: The argument in the formula above is supplied as a cell range. However, you can change the formula as follows:




Related Functions

Excel VAR.P function
The VAR.P function calculates the variance based on the entire population.

Excel VAR.S function
The VAR.S function calculates the variance based on a given sample.

Excel VARA function
The VARA function calculates the variance based on a given sample.

Excel VARP function
The VARP function calculates the variance based on the entire population.

Excel VARPA function
The VARPA function calculates the variance based on the entire population.

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