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Excel DVAR Function

Excel DVAR function

The Excel DVAR function returns the variance of a sample extracted from records that match the given criteria. If data represents the entire population, use the DVARP function.

Get sample variance for matching records
Return value 
The calculated variance
=DVAR (database, field, criteria)
  • database - Database range including headers.
  • field - Field name or index to count.
  • criteria - Criteria range including headers.
Usage notes 

The Excel DVAR function gets the variance of a sample extracted from records matching criteria, using values in a given field.

The database argument is a range of cells that includes field headers, field is the name or index of the field to get a max value from, and criteria is a range of cells with headers that match those in database

Using the example above, you can get the variance of heights for the group "Fox" with either of these formulas:

=DVAR(B7:C13,"Height",B4:C5) // field by name
=DVAR(B7:C13,2,B4:C5) // field by index

Criteria options

The criteria can include a variety of expressions, including some wildcards. The table below shows some examples:

Criteria Behavior
Red Match "red" or "RED"
Re* Begins with "re"
10 Equal to 10
>10 Greater than 10
<> Not blank
<>100 Not 100
>12/19/2017 Greater than Dec 19, 2017

Note: Support for wildcards is not quite the same as with other functions like COUNTIFS, SUMIFS, MATCH etc. For example, the pattern ??? will match strings with 3 exactly characters in more modern functions, but not in the database functions. If you are using wildcards, test carefully.

Multi-row criteria

The criteria range for DVAR can include more than one row below the headers. When criteria includes more than one row, each row is joined with OR logic, and the expressions in a given criteria row are joined with AND logic.


  • DVAR is mean to calculate variance for a sample. If data represents the entire population, use the DVARP function.
  • DVAR supports some wildcards in criteria
  • Criteria can include more than one row (as explained above)
  • The field argument can be supplied as a name in double quotes ("") or as a number representing field index.
  • The database and criteria ranges must include matching headers.

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