Microsoft Excel is a commercial spreadsheet program. Use this tag for any on-topic question that (a) involves Excel either as a critical part of the question or expected answer, & (b) is not just about how to use Excel.

Excel is a commercial spreadsheet program created by Microsoft. It can conduct mathematical and statistical analyses (such as linear regression) and produce charts and graphics to visualize data (such as scatterplots and line, bar, and pie charts).

Frequently it is recommended to avoid conducting statistical analysis in Excel, as it is known to have issues with numerical precision in computing statistical distributions and with the production of random numbers (see McCullough & Heiser, 2008; Yalta, 2008). Also, calculating directly within cells and copying and pasting values (as opposed to manipulating data through documented syntax) can produce errors when using spreadsheet software.

Frequently Excel's default charts are criticized as well (see Su, 2008). But Excel does have the capabilities to produce clear and effective graphics. The blog of Jon Peltier has many examples.

Citations

McCullough B.D. & Heiser David A.. 2008. On the accuracy of statistical procedures in Microsoft Excel® 2007. Computational Statistics & Data Analysis 52(10): 4570-4578.

Su Yu-Sung. 2008. It's easy to produce chartjunk using Microsoft® Excel 2007 but hard to make good graphs. Computational Statistics & Data Analysis 52(10): 4594-4601.

Yalta A. Talha. 2008. The accuracy of statistical distributions in Microsoft® Excel 2007. Computational Statistics & Data Analysis 52(10): 4579-4586.

history | excerpt history