The Excel VAR.P function returns the Variance of a given set of values. The VAR.P function is new to Excel 2010. However, this is simply an improved (slightly more accurate) version of the VARP function, which is available in earlier versions of Excel.
Syntax: VAR.P( number1, [number2], … )
Where the number arguments provide a minimum of 2 numerical values to the function. The maximum number of arguments that can be supplied to the VAR.P function is 254.
Note that the Var.P function is used when calculating the variance of an entire population. If your data is just a sample of the population (eg. if your data set records the individual heights of a sample of UK males), you need to use the Var.S function.
Note also, that the Var.P function ignores text values and logical values if these are supplied as part of an array. However, if they are supplied directly to the function, text representations of numbers and logical values are interpreted as numbers. If you want a population variance function that does not ignore text and logical values that are supplied as a part of an array, consider using the Varpa function.
Var.P Function Example
A company keeps a record of its monthly sales figures, over the last three years. These are stored in cells B3 – B14, D3 – D14 and F3 – F14 of the example spreadsheet on the right. The variance of the three years’ sales figures is calculated in cell H3 of the spreadsheet. The formula for this, as shown in the formula bar, is :
As shown in cell H3, the variance for the 3 years of sales figures is 6,170,524.69.
Other Argument Types
The example above shows the arguments to the Var.P function being input in the form of 3 cell ranges. However, you can also input figures directly, as individual numbers or number arrays. For example, if, during January and February 2010 the sales figures are 13,000 and 14,500 we can add these directly into the above function as follows:
This gives the updated variance of 5,930,921.05.
Var.P Function Error
If you get an error from the Excel Var.P Function, this is likely to be the #DIV/0! error:
|#DIV/0!||–||Occurs if fewer than 2 numerical values have been supplied to the function|