The coefficient of variation (CV) helps you tell how far your data is dispersed around the mean. The formula is simple. The standard deviation is divided by the mean to find CV. Let’s learn how to find the coefficient of variation in Microsoft Excel.
How to Find the Coefficient of Variation in Excel
Consider a sample data set like this. You want to find the coefficient of variation to determine the precision of an estimate. A higher CV suggests less precision; a lower CV suggests greater precision.
The first step is to find the CV formula’s two inputs: the sample standard deviation, and the sample mean.
Click into cell C1, and type = to begin a formula. Since we’re using sample data, type in the formula STDEV.S. Add (, then click and drag to highlight the column of data. Here, that’s cells A2:A5.
Close the formula with ), then press Enter. Cell C1 populates with your sample standard deviation.
Hint: If you’re working with a population, the formula would be STDEV.P.
Now, click in cell C2. Type =AVERAGE(, then highlight your data again. Once again, conclude the formula with ), then hit Enter. You now have the average (or the mean) of your data.
Cell C3 will be home to your coefficient of variation (CV). Click into it, and type =. Then, click on cell C2, type /, and click on cell C1. This is your CV formula.
Hit Enter again, and Excel will display your coefficient of variation. It’s worth noting that the CV is typically displayed as a percentage.
To format it this way, first ensure you have the cell collected. On Excel’s Home tab, just below Number Format, click the Percent Style button. Your CV will now be formatted as a percentage.
As you can see, it’s easy to find the coefficient of variation in Excel. Formulas make it effortless and help keep your analysis moving quickly.