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Excel and Statistical Computations

What is Excel?

Although Excel may be a convenient program for analysis, keep in mind that the primary purpose for the program is not statistical analysis.  Thus, the process for computing even basic statistics often involves more steps than in other software programs, and the options for post-hoc analyses are often more limited than in programs such as SPSS. The steps for calculating statistics may differ depending on the version of Microsoft Excel that you are using (e.g. Excel 2007 versus Excel 2010).

In addition, the data analysis process for statistical computation varies depending on whether you are using a Mac versus a PC for data analysis.  Finally, Excel does not come pre-installed with the data analysis tools that are required to complete statistical analyses.  However, this is easily remedied with a free download. 

To determine if your computer has the data analysis tool kit installed, click on “Help” and type “Data Analysis.”  If you are using a PC, the Data Analysis ToolPak is available from the Microsoft website (www.office.microsoft.com).  The Mac platform will require you to download a program called “StatPlus” (www.analystsoft.com).  In this text, we will describe the procedures for calculating statistics using the PC version of Excel 2010.