The Excel DSTDEV function returns the standard deviation of sample data extracted from records that match the given criteria. If data represents the entire population, use the DSTDEVP function.


Get standard deviation of sample in matching records

Return value 

The calculated standard deviation


  • database - Database range including headers.
  • field - Field name or index to count.
  • criteria - Criteria range including headers.

How to use 

The Excel DSTDEV function gets the standard deviation of sample data extracted from records matching criteria. Essentially, this function calculates standard deviation on a subset of data, like a "standard deviation IF" formula.

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

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

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

The standard deviation for all heights in C8:C13 is calculated in F5 with the STDEV.S function:


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 DSTDEV 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.


  • DSTDEV is the mean to calculate variance for a sample. If data represents the entire population, use the DSTDEVP function.
  • DSTDEV supports 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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Dave Bruns

Hi - I'm Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.