The Excel VARA function estimates the variance of a sample of data. Unlike the VAR function, the VARA function evaluates text values and logicals in references.


Get variation of a sample

Return value 

Computed variance


  • number1 - First number or reference.
  • number2 - [optional] Second number or reference.

How to use 

The VAR function estimates the variance for a sample of data. Variance provides a general idea of the spread of data. Unlike the VAR function, the VARA function evaluates text values and logicals in references. Text is evaluated as zero, TRUE is evaluated as 1, and FALSE is evaluated as zero. 

In the example shown, the formula in F5 is:


Note that the VAR function ignores the "NA" text in C8, while VARA includes this in the variance estimate as zero.

Like VAR, VARA also evaluates logical values, and text representations of numbers when they are hardcoded directly into the function as arguments.

Variation functions in Excel

The table below summarizes the variation functions available in Excel.

Name Data set Text and logicals
VAR Sample Ignored
VARP Population Ignored
VAR.S Sample Ignored
VAR.P Population Ignored
VARA Sample Evaluated
VARPA Population Evaluated


  • VARA assumes arguments a sample of data, not entire population. If data represents the entire population, use VARPA or VAR.P
  • VARA evaluates text values and logicals in references, unlike VAR.
  • Arguments can either be numbers or names, arrays, or references that contain numbers.
  • Arguments can be hard-coded values instead of references.
  • To ignore logical values and/or text in references, use VAR or VAR.S.
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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.