# FREQUENCY

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the FREQUENCY function in Excel, which is a powerful tool for analyzing data sets and creating histograms. The FREQUENCY function calculates the frequency distribution of a given data set, allowing you to understand how often certain values or ranges of values occur within the data. This information can be invaluable for statistical analysis, quality control, and decision-making processes. We will cover the syntax of the FREQUENCY function, provide examples of its use, share tips and tricks, discuss common mistakes, troubleshoot issues, and introduce related formulae.

## FREQUENCY Syntax

The FREQUENCY function in Excel has the following syntax:

=FREQUENCY(data_array, bins_array)

Where:

• data_array is the range of cells containing the data you want to analyze. This must be a single row or a single column of data.
• bins_array is the range of cells containing the upper limits of the intervals (or “bins”) you want to use for grouping the data. This must also be a single row or a single column of data.

The FREQUENCY function returns an array of values, with each value representing the number of data points that fall within a specific bin. The size of the returned array is one more than the size of the bins_array, as the last value in the array represents the count of data points greater than the highest bin value.

## FREQUENCY Examples

Let’s explore some examples of using the FREQUENCY function in Excel.

### Example 1: Basic Frequency Distribution

Suppose you have a data set of 50 test scores in the range A1:A50, and you want to create a frequency distribution with the following bins: 59, 69, 79, 89, and 99. You would enter these bin values in a separate range, such as B1:B5.

To calculate the frequency distribution, you would enter the following formula in a range of cells with the same size as the bins_array plus one (in this case, C1:C6):

=FREQUENCY(A1:A50, B1:B5)

This formula will return an array of six values, representing the number of test scores in each of the following ranges: 0-59, 60-69, 70-79, 80-89, 90-99, and 100 or greater.

### Example 2: Frequency Distribution with Non-Contiguous Bins

Suppose you have a data set of ages in the range A1:A100, and you want to create a frequency distribution with the following non-contiguous bins: 17, 24, 34, 44, and 64. You would enter these bin values in a separate range, such as B1:B5.

To calculate the frequency distribution, you would enter the following formula in a range of cells with the same size as the bins_array plus one (in this case, C1:C6):

=FREQUENCY(A1:A100, B1:B5)

This formula will return an array of six values, representing the number of ages in each of the following ranges: 0-17, 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-64, and 65 or greater.

## FREQUENCY Tips & Tricks

Here are some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of the FREQUENCY function in Excel:

1. Remember that the FREQUENCY function returns an array of values, so you need to select a range of cells with the same size as the bins_array plus one before entering the formula. After typing the formula, press Ctrl+Shift+Enter to enter it as an array formula.
2. If you want to create a histogram based on the frequency distribution, you can use Excel’s built-in histogram chart feature. Simply select the range of cells containing the frequency distribution (excluding the last value, which represents data points greater than the highest bin value), and then insert a histogram chart from the “Insert” tab.
3. When defining your bins_array, make sure the bin values are in ascending order. The FREQUENCY function will not work correctly if the bin values are not sorted.

## Common Mistakes When Using FREQUENCY

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when using the FREQUENCY function in Excel:

1. Not selecting the correct range of cells for the output array. Remember that the output array should be the same size as the bins_array plus one.
2. Forgetting to press Ctrl+Shift+Enter after entering the formula. The FREQUENCY function is an array formula, so you need to use this key combination to enter it correctly.
3. Using a data_array or bins_array that is not a single row or a single column. The FREQUENCY function requires these arrays to be one-dimensional.
4. Not sorting the bin values in ascending order. The FREQUENCY function will not work correctly if the bin values are not sorted.

## Why Isn’t My FREQUENCY Function Working?

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

1. Double-check the syntax of your formula, ensuring that you have correctly entered the data_array and bins_array ranges.
2. Make sure you have selected the correct range of cells for the output array, which should be the same size as the bins_array plus one.
3. Ensure that you have pressed Ctrl+Shift+Enter after entering the formula to correctly input it as an array formula.
4. Verify that your data_array and bins_array are one-dimensional, consisting of a single row or a single column.
5. Check that your bin values are sorted in ascending order.

## FREQUENCY: Related Formulae

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

1. COUNTIF: This function counts the number of cells within a range that meet a specified condition. It can be used to count the number of data points that fall within a specific bin without using the FREQUENCY function.
2. HISTOGRAM: This is a built-in Excel chart type that automatically calculates and displays the frequency distribution of a data set. It can be a convenient alternative to using the FREQUENCY function for creating histograms.
3. PERCENTILE: This function calculates the nth percentile of a data set, which can be useful for understanding the distribution of your data and identifying outliers.
4. MODE: This function returns the most frequently occurring value in a data set, which can be helpful for understanding the central tendency of your data.
5. STDEV: This function calculates the standard deviation of a data set, which is a measure of the dispersion or spread of the data. It can be useful for understanding the variability of your data and identifying potential outliers.

By mastering the FREQUENCY function and related formulae, you can unlock powerful data analysis capabilities in Excel, enabling you to make more informed decisions and gain valuable insights from your data.

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