The Excel DSTDEVP Function

Related Function:
Excel Database Functions

The Excel Database Functions are designed to assist you when working with an Excel database.

A database typically takes the form of a large table of data, where each row in the table stores an individual record. Each column in the spreadsheet table stores a different field (or type of information) for each record.

The database functions perform basic operations, such as count, max, min, etc, but they enable the user to specify criteria, so that the operation is performed on selected records only. Other records in the database are ignored.

Function Description

The Excel Dstdevp function calculates the standard deviation of a field (column) in a database for selected records only. The records to be included in the calculation are defined by a set of one or more user-specified criteria.

The syntax of the function is:

DSTDEVP( database, field, criteria )

where the arguments are:

database-A range of cells containing the database. The top row of the database should specify the field names.

The field (column) within the database, for which the standard deviation is to be calculated.

This can either be a field number, or it can be the field name (i.e. the header in the top row of the database) encased in quotes (e.g. "Subject", "Name", etc).


A range of cells that contain the criteria, to specify which records should be included in the calculation.

The range can include one or more criteria, which are presented as a field name in one cell and the condition for that field in the cell below.



The Excel Database functions allow the following wildcards to be used in text-related criteria:

?    -    matches any single character
*    -    matches any sequence of characters

(If you actually want to find the ? or * character, type the ~ symbol before this character in your search).

E.g. the condition "a*e" will match all cells containing a text string beginning with "a" and ending in "e".

The criteria supplied beneath each field heading can be either:


Note that the Excel database functions are not case sensitive. So, for example, the criteria ="Name" will be satisfied by cells containing the text "Name" or "name".

Excel Dstdevp Function Examples


The following examples are based on the above simple database on the right, which stores the examination marks scored by four children in three different subjects.

Example 1

In the example below, the Dstdevp function is used to find the standard deviation of scores obtained in English, by male students. The criteria are specified in cells G1 - H2 and the Dstdevp formula is shown in cell G3.

3=DSTDEVP( A1:E13, "Score", G1:H2 )

The above Dstdevp function calculates the standard deviation of the values in cells E6, E9 & E12, and therefore returns the value 8.5%.

Example 2

In the example below, the Dstdevp function is used to find the standard deviation for the Math scores obtained by students over 8 years of age.

3=DSTDEVP( A1:E13, "Score", G1:H2 )

The above Dstdevp function finds the standard deviation of the values in cells E2, E8 & E11 and so returns the value 16.1%.

Note that, in the above two examples, instead of typing in "Score" for the field argument, we could have simply used the number 5 (to denote the 5th column of the database).

For further examples of the Excel Dstdevp function, see the Microsoft Office website.