How to Calculate With Chebyshev's Theorem in Excel

by Ken Burnside

Chebyshev's theorem describes what percentage of the data will be within a given number of standard deviations of the mean, and this works for any distribution curve of any shape, making it a useful generalization tool. It would be used to find out what percentage of a given class of students fell within one standard deviation of the mean score on a test. It's used extensively in engineering practices where statistical measures are collated for effectiveness. Excel makes using Chebyshev's theorm a straightforward exercise in entering formulas.

Step 1

Enter the number of standard deviations you wish to check against in cell B1

Step 2

Enter the following formula in cell C1: =1-1/B1^2

Read the number that's returned in cell C1. This is the percentage of data values that will be within the given range of standard deviations from the mean.


About the Author

Ken Burnside has been writing freelance since 1990, contributing to publications as diverse as "Pyramid" and "Training & Simulations Journal." A Microsoft MVP in Excel, he holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Alaska. He won the Origins Award for Attack Vector: Tactical, a board game about space combat.

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