How to Calculate a Five Number Summary in Google Sheets


five number summary is a way to summarize a dataset using the following five values:

  • The minimum
  • The first quartile
  • The median
  • The third quartile
  • The maximum

The five number summary is useful because it provides a concise summary of the distribution of the data in the following ways:

  • It tells us where the middle value is located, using the median.
  • It tells us how spread out the data is, using the first and third quartiles.
  • It tells us the range of the data, using the minimum and the maximum.

By simply knowing these five values, we can know a great deal about a dataset.

How to Find a Five Number Summary in Google Sheets

We can use the following steps to find the five number summary of a dataset in Google Sheets:

Step 1: Enter all data values in one column.

First, enter the values of the dataset in one column:

Step 2: Calculate the five number summary.

The five values of the five number summary are shown in column D and the formulas used to find these values are shown in column E:

Five number summary in Google Sheets

Thus, the five number summary of this dataset is:

  • Minimum: 4
  • 1st Quartile: 7.5
  • Median: 17
  • 3rd Quartile: 22
  • Maximum: 28

From these five numbers we can get a good idea of where the center of the dataset is located, how spread out the values are, and the range of values.

Technical Note:

 

There are two quartile functions in Google Sheets:

 

QUARTILE.INC() – Calculates percentiles using “greater than or equal to” in an “inclusive” manner.

 

QUARTILE.EXC() – Calculates percentiles using “greater than” in an “exclusive” manner.

 

The default function QUARTILE() uses the QUARTILE.INC() method.

Visualize a Five Number Summary

One of the easiest ways to visualize a five number summary is by creating a boxplot, which uses a box with a line in the middle along with “whiskers” that extend on each end to represent the minimum and maximum values.

Feel free to use the Statology Boxplot Generator to automatically create a boxplot for a given dataset.

You can also follow this tutorial to find out how to create a boxplot in Google Sheets for a given dataset.

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