In this comprehensive guide, we will dive into the VAR function in Google Sheets. The VAR function is a statistical formula that calculates the variance of a dataset. Variance is a measure of how much the values in a dataset differ from the average value, also known as the mean. Understanding variance can be helpful in fields such as finance, science, and business analytics as it allows you to analyze the spread and dispersion of data points.
VAR Syntax
The syntax for the VAR function in Google Sheets follows this format:
VAR(value1, [value2, ...])
The VAR function requires at least one argument, value1, which can be a number, a cell reference, or a range of cells. You have the option to include additional values (value2, value3, etc.) as optional arguments. The function then calculates the variance of all the values provided as arguments.
VAR Examples
Let’s explore some examples to understand how the VAR function works in Google Sheets.
Example 1: Calculating the variance of a list of numbers
Suppose you have the following numbers: 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25. You can calculate the variance of these numbers using the VAR function as shown below:
VAR(5, 10, 15, 20, 25)
The result of this formula will be the variance of the given numbers, which in this case is 62.5.
Example 2: Calculating the variance of a range of cells
If you have a dataset in cells A1 to A5 and want to calculate the variance, you can use the VAR function with a range of cells like this:
VAR(A1:A5)
This formula will compute the variance of the values in cells A1 to A5.
VAR Tips & Tricks
To make the most of the VAR function in Google Sheets, consider these useful tips and tricks:

Combine the VAR function with other statistical functions, such as AVERAGE and STDEV, to gain a better understanding of your dataset. For example, you can calculate the mean (average) value using the AVERAGE function and the standard deviation using the STDEV function.

For large datasets, it’s recommended to use the VAR.S function instead of the VAR function. VAR.S calculates the variance of a sample, while VAR calculates the variance of an entire population. VAR.S provides a more accurate estimate of the population variance when dealing with large datasets.

Remember that the VAR function calculates the variance of a dataset, not the standard deviation. If you need to calculate the standard deviation, use the STDEV function.
Common Mistakes When Using VAR
To avoid common mistakes when using the VAR function in Google Sheets, keep the following in mind:

Be sure to provide at least one argument to the VAR function. It requires a minimum of one value to calculate the variance.

Only use numeric values as arguments for the VAR function. It does not work with nonnumeric values, and attempting to use them will result in an error.

Avoid using the VAR function to calculate the standard deviation. Instead, use the STDEV function for standard deviation calculations.
Why Isn’t My VAR Function Working?
If your VAR function isn’t producing the expected results, consider these potential causes:

Doublecheck that you have provided at least one numeric value as an argument. The VAR function requires numeric values to perform variance calculations.

Verify that you are using numeric values as arguments. The VAR function is designed to work exclusively with numeric values. Providing nonnumeric values will result in an error.

Make sure you are using the correct function to calculate the desired statistic. If you intend to calculate the standard deviation, use the STDEV function instead of VAR.
VAR: Related Formulae
Here are some related formulae that you may find useful when working with the VAR function in Google Sheets:

AVERAGE: Calculates the average (mean) value of a dataset. Syntax: AVERAGE(value1, [value2, …])

STDEV: Computes the standard deviation of a dataset, which measures the dispersion of data points. Syntax: STDEV(value1, [value2, …])

VAR.S: Calculates the variance of a sample, which is more appropriate for large datasets. Syntax: VAR.S(value1, [value2, …])

VAR.P: Calculates the variance of an entire population. Syntax: VAR.P(value1, [value2, …])

CORREL: Measures the correlation coefficient between two datasets, indicating the strength and direction of the relationship. Syntax: CORREL(array1, array2)
In conclusion, the VAR function in Google Sheets is a powerful tool for calculating the variance of a dataset. By understanding its syntax, exploring examples, and avoiding common mistakes, you can effectively analyze the spread and dispersion of data points in your datasets. Additionally, combining the VAR function with related formulae can provide further insights into your data.