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


Get population variance for matching records

Return value 

The calculated variance


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

How to use 

The Excel DVARP function calculates the variance of data that represents an entire population, extracted from records matching the given criteria, where values come from 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:

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

The variance for the entire data set, shown in F5, is calculated with the VAR.P 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 that contain exactly 3 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 DVARP can include more than one row below the headers. When criteria include more than one row, each row is joined with OR logic, and the expressions in a given criteria row are joined with AND logic.


  • DVARP is the mean to calculate variance for data that represents an entire population. Use the DVAR for a sample.
  • DVARP 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 the 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.