I have a sample of records, with string and numerical columns. My sample is currently hosted in an excel spreadsheet. I need a tool that wil produce discripte statistics for each colomn, such as max and min values, number of unique values, max string lenght. Are there any such tools available. Any tips? The ultimate goal is to derive a data dictionary.
Excel has a Microsoft provided Descriptive Statistics Tool in the Data Analysis Add-in. You'll need to activate it in your add-ins (varies based upon your version of Excel and you didn't mark which you use).
In Excel 2010, once you've added it, you'll find Data Analysis in the Data Tab of the Ribbon. Among the tools they provide is Descriptive Statistics, which for any given range you provide will give you: Mean, Standard Error, Median, Mode, Standard Deviation, Sample Variance, Kurtosis, Skewness, Range, Minimum, Maximum, Sum, Count
There's also quite a few other tools for you if you prefer Excel to a more specialized tool like R.
Basic descriptive stats can be computed in Excel, either with functions like AVERAGE, MAX, MIN or using a table (formerly known as a list, see http://office.microsoft.com/en-001/excel-help/overview-of-excel-tables-HA010048546.aspx).
AnswerMiner is a good option as well. You can explore your data fast and easy. There is a Relation map and table in the app that shows you the relationships (how strong they are) in your data. Automatic charts are a huge help when it comes to visualize your data.
The prediction tree is also a good feature that builds decision trees automatically in a minute and helps you make prediction based on your past data.
You can try for free here.