Filtering to a Standard Deviation

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated January 1, 2022)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Tom has a data set that shows the daily high and low temperatures for his town. He knows how to determine the mean for the data set. What he needs, though, is to filter the data set so that only those values that are within one standard deviation of the mean are visible.

First of all, let's say that Tom's dataset includes the temperatures for a ten-year period, from 2011 through 2020. That represents 3,653 days of temperatures. Further, let's assume that the high temperatures are in a range named DailyHighs and the low temperatures are in a range named DailyLows. To calculate the average (mean) for the high temperatures, this simple formula is used:


Excel provides three different functions for calculating standard deviations: STDEV, STDEV.S, and STDEV.P. In most cases you'll use STDEV and STDEV.S; they both return the exact same values. (STDEV.S and STDEV are used when working with a sample of an entire population of data points, whereas STDEV.P is used when working with an entire population. For Tom's purposes, STDEV or STDEV.S will work just fine.) Thus, to calculate one standard deviation below the mean and one above, you would use two formulas:


This provides the bounds for the filtering that Tom wishes to perform. For the sake of example, let's say that the low value is 49.477 and the high value is 90.576. It is just a simple process, at this point, to create a filter that uses these values:

  1. Select a cell in the column that contains the daily high temperatures.
  2. Display the Data tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the Filter tool. Excel places filtering drop-down arrows at the sides of the first-row headings in your data.
  4. Click the down-arrow next to the header for the high-temperatures column. Excel displays a filtering dialog box.
  5. In the Filter area, click on the Choose One drop-down list and choose Between. Excel expands the filtering area to allow specification of the two boundary values.
  6. Next to Greater Than or Equal To, enter your lower boundary (49.477).
  7. Next to Less Than or Equal To, enter your upper boundary (90.576).
  8. Click in the Excel worksheet to dismiss the filtering dialog box.

The result is that your data is filtered to only display those rows that are between the two temperatures. If you prefer—and if you are using the version of Excel provided with Microsoft 365—you could also use the FILTER function to extract the records that fit your criteria:

=FILTER(A2:C3654,(DailyHighs>=49.477) * (DailyHighs<=90.576),"")

The extracted rows will not be formatted, nor will it contain the column headings in row 1, but you can easily make these adjustments in the extracted data.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12735) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


Getting Rid of ScreenTips

All those little ScreenTips bug you when moving through the toolbars and ribbons of Word? You can turn them off by ...

Discover More

Understanding MRU Files

Don't you love all the acronyms used in computer terminology? One such acronym--"pertinent to Word users--"is MRU. This ...

Discover More

Inserting Footnotes Using Custom Footnote Marks

Automatic footnotes are easy to insert in Word documents. The default settings are usually fine for most projects. ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Counting Non-Blank Cells

Need to count the number of cells in a range that are not blank? You can use the COUNTA function of a more complex ...

Discover More

How Operators are Evaluated

Operators are used in formulas to instruct Excel what to do to arrive at a result. Not all operators are evaluated in the ...

Discover More

Changing the Reference in a Named Range

Define a named range today and you may want to change the definition at some future point. It's rather easy to do, as ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 3 + 4?

2022-01-05 03:53:16

Jacques Raubenheimer

Another method is to use the STANDARDIZE function in a helper column to calculate the Z-score (or standardised score) for each daily temperature (using the average and the standard deviation as described above). Once he has those, it is a simple matter to filter for those values with a z-score >= -1 and <= 1 to find those within one standard deviation of the mean.

This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.