# How to use formulas to calculate data variance?

Hi!
I tried to use the variance formula to calculate the data variance but the answer is always wrong. I've tried this on excel and I get the right answer. Is it possible that there is a bug with NUMBERS? coz the sample variance should be the sum of the squared differences between each observation and the sample mean divided by the sample size, n, minus 1. but what i always get is the population variance, which is the sum of the squared differences bewteen each observation and the population mean divided by the population size,N. and I have no idea what should I input in the two blanks which will be showed in the following pic.
Thank you!

Hi Kenny,
Apple provides an excellent manual, the iWork Formulas and Functions User Guide, which lists, describes, and gives one or more example for using each of the 250+ functions supported by Numbers.
The entry for VAR includes the following:
Usage Notes
The VAR function finds the sample (unbiased) variance by dividing the sum of the
squares of the deviations of the data points by one less than the number of values.
Here are the results of a small test.
Sample data is in cells B2:B6.
The result of the VAR function calculation (=VAR(B2:B6) is shown in B10.
The rest of the table shows a stepp by step calculation of the Variance of the sample:
B8 shows the mean, calculates with =AVERAGE(B2:B6)
C2:C6 show the deviation of each value in B from the mean.
D2:D6 show the square of that deviation.
D10 shows the sum of D2:D6,
And E10 shows that sum divided by one less than the number of values in the sample, which, you'll note, agrees with the result obtained with VAR.
"I've tried this on excel and I get the right answer."
I fired up the Windows netbook, launched Excel and plugged in the same set of sample data and the same =VAR(B2:B6) formula, and got the same result, 467.5.
And =VARP(B2:B6), using the same sample data set, gave identical results ( 374) on both Numbers and Excel.
If there's an issue, it's not showing up here.
If you'd like me to try it with a larger data set, you could send me your numbers. My address is available by clicking my name above this post.
"I have no idea what should I input in the two blanks which will be showed in the following pic."
num-date indicates a Number or Date (and Time) value may be used. Individual values should be separated by commas (except in regions where the comma is the decimal separator.
For VAR, a range of cells may be referenced, as I've done above.
Regards,
Barry

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