The Excel VARPA function computes the variance of a population of data. Unlike the VARP function, the VARPA function evaluates text values and logicals in references.


Get variation of a population

Return value 

Computed variance


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

How to use 

The VARPA function calculates the variance for data that represents an entire population. Variance provides a general idea of the spread of data. The difference between the VARPA function and the VARP function is in how these functions handle logical values and numbers as text. The VARP function will ignore text values and logicals when the appear in references, while the VARPA function will evaluate text as zero, TRUE as 1, and FALSE as zero. Note that both VARP and VARPA will evaluate logical values, and numbers as text when they are hardcoded directly as arguments.


In the example shown, the formula in F5 is:


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

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


  • VARPA assumes data represents the entire population. If data represents a sample, use VARA or VAR.S
  • VARPA evaluates text values and logicals in references, unlike VARP.
  • 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 VARP or VAR.P
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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.