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In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the DEVSQ function in Microsoft Excel. The DEVSQ function is a statistical formula that calculates the sum of the squared deviations from the mean for a given set of data points. This function is particularly useful when analyzing data for variance, standard deviation, and other statistical measures. We will cover the syntax, examples, tips and tricks, common mistakes, troubleshooting, and related formulae for the DEVSQ function.

DEVSQ Syntax

The syntax for the DEVSQ function in Excel is as follows:

=DEVSQ(number1, [number2], …)


  • number1 (required) – The first number or cell reference containing the data point.
  • number2, … (optional) – Additional numbers or cell references containing data points, up to a maximum of 255 arguments.

Note that the DEVSQ function can accept both individual numbers and cell references as arguments. Additionally, you can use ranges and arrays as input for the function.

DEVSQ Examples

Let’s explore some examples of using the DEVSQ function in Excel:

  1. Basic Example: Suppose we have the following data points: 5, 8, 12, 15, and 20. To calculate the sum of squared deviations for these data points, we can use the DEVSQ function as follows:
  2. =DEVSQ(5, 8, 12, 15, 20)

This formula will return the sum of squared deviations, which is 186.

  1. Using Cell References: If the data points are stored in cells A1 to A5, we can use the DEVSQ function with cell references:
  2. =DEVSQ(A1, A2, A3, A4, A5)

This formula will also return the sum of squared deviations, which is 186.

  1. Using a Range: Instead of listing individual cell references, we can use a range as input for the DEVSQ function:
  2. =DEVSQ(A1:A5)

This formula will return the same result, the sum of squared deviations, which is 186.

DEVSQ Tips & Tricks

Here are some tips and tricks to help you use the DEVSQ function more effectively:

  • Remember that the DEVSQ function calculates the sum of squared deviations, not the variance or standard deviation. To calculate the variance or standard deviation, use the VAR or STDEV functions, respectively.
  • When working with large datasets, consider using the DEVSQ function with a range or an array instead of listing individual cell references. This will make your formula more efficient and easier to read.
  • If you need to calculate the sum of squared deviations for a sample rather than a population, use the DEVS function instead of DEVSQ.

Common Mistakes When Using DEVSQ

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when using the DEVSQ function:

  • Not providing enough arguments: The DEVSQ function requires at least one argument (number1). If you do not provide any arguments, Excel will return a #VALUE! error.
  • Using non-numeric values: The DEVSQ function only works with numeric values. If you provide non-numeric values as arguments, Excel will return a #VALUE! error.
  • Exceeding the maximum number of arguments: The DEVSQ function can accept up to 255 arguments. If you provide more than 255 arguments, Excel will return a #VALUE! error.

Why Isn’t My DEVSQ Working?

If your DEVSQ function is not working as expected, consider the following troubleshooting steps:

  1. Check for non-numeric values in your arguments. If any non-numeric values are present, either remove them or convert them to numeric values.
  2. Ensure that you have provided at least one argument (number1) for the DEVSQ function.
  3. Verify that you have not exceeded the maximum number of arguments (255) for the DEVSQ function.
  4. Double-check your cell references and ranges to ensure they are correct and include the desired data points.

DEVSQ: Related Formulae

Here are some related formulae that you may find useful when working with the DEVSQ function:

  1. VAR: The VAR function calculates the variance of a dataset, which is a measure of how much the data points deviate from the mean. Syntax: =VAR(number1, [number2], …)
  2. STDEV: The STDEV function calculates the standard deviation of a dataset, which is another measure of dispersion. Syntax: =STDEV(number1, [number2], …)
  3. AVERAGE: The AVERAGE function calculates the mean (average) of a dataset. Syntax: =AVERAGE(number1, [number2], …)
  4. DEVS: The DEVS function calculates the sum of squared deviations for a sample dataset. Syntax: =DEVS(number1, [number2], …)
  5. SUM: The SUM function calculates the sum of a dataset. Syntax: =SUM(number1, [number2], …)

By mastering the DEVSQ function and its related formulae, you can perform advanced statistical analysis in Excel and gain valuable insights from your data.


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