How to Find Relative Frequency in Excel?

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Frequency tables are powerful tools in data analysis that allow us to gain insights into the occurrence and distribution of events or observations within different categories.

By organizing data into classes and displaying the frequencies, we can uncover patterns, make comparisons, and draw meaningful conclusions.

This article serves as a comprehensive guide to understanding frequency tables and goes in-depth into the process of calculating relative frequencies using step-by-step instructions in Excel.

Exploring Frequency Tables

A frequency table is a tabular representation of data that displays the frequencies of different categories or classes. The purpose of a frequency table is to summarize and present information about the occurrence and distribution of events or observations.

Anatomy of a Frequency Table

The table consists of two or more columns: one column represents the categories or classes, and the other column(s) displays the frequencies.

The first column typically describes the categories or classes, while the subsequent columns show the corresponding frequencies.


Let’s consider an example of a shop’s sales in various price ranges over a week.

The following frequency table illustrates the number of items sold in each price range:

Price Range       Frequency

$1 – $10                   20

$11 – $20                 21

$21 – $30                 13

$31 – $40                  8

$41 – $50                  4

In this example, the first column represents the price ranges, while the second column indicates the frequency of items sold within each range.

The frequency table provides a clear overview of the distribution of sales across different price brackets.

Calculating Relative Frequencies

Relative frequency is a statistical measure that expresses the frequency of each category or class as a percentage of the total. The purpose of calculating relative frequencies is to compare and analyze the proportional representation of each category within the dataset.

The formula for Relative Frequency

To calculate the relative frequency, divide the frequency of each category by the total number of observations, and multiply by 100 to express it as a percentage.

The formula for relative frequency is: Relative Frequency = (Frequency of Category / Total Observations) * 100


Let’s extend our previous example by adding the relative frequency column to the frequency table:

Price Range        Frequency          Relative Frequency

$1 – $10                  20                           0.303

$11 – $20                21                           0.318

$21 – $30                13                           0.197

$31 – $40                8                             0.121

$41 – $50                4                             0.061

In this updated table, the third column represents the relative frequency for each category. The total number of items sold is 66, allowing us to calculate the relative frequency for each category. For example, the relative frequency for the price range $1 – $10 is calculated as (20 / 66) * 100 = 0.303.

Using Excel for Relative Frequency Calculations

Excel as a Tool for Analysis

Microsoft Excel provides a user-friendly platform for performing various statistical calculations, including the determination of relative frequencies. Utilizing Excel’s functionalities streamlines the process and enhances accuracy.

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Step-by-Step Guide for Calculating Relative Frequencies in Excel:

To calculate the relative frequencies using Microsoft Excel, follow these step-by-step instructions:

  • Enter the categories or classes in column A and their corresponding frequencies in column B.

  • In an empty cell, calculate the total number of observations by summing the frequencies.

  • In an adjacent empty column, apply the formula for relative frequency: =(B2/$B$8)*100 (assuming B2 is the first frequency cell and $B$8 is the total cell).

  • Copy the formula down to calculate relative frequencies for all categories.
  • Format the relative frequency column as a percentage.
  • Verify the accuracy of calculations by ensuring the sum of relative frequencies equals 100%.

Visualizing Relative Frequencies

Visualizing relative frequencies through charts or graphs enhances our understanding of the data and facilitates comparison and interpretation.

Creating a Relative Frequency Histogram in Excel:

  • Start by highlighting the relative frequency values in the Excel worksheet.

  • Navigate to the “Insert” tab and select the appropriate chart type, such as a column or bar chart.

  • Excel will generate a relative frequency histogram based on the selected data.

  • Customize the chart by adding titles, axis labels, and adjusting the appearance to enhance clarity.
  • The resulting histogram provides a visual representation of the distribution of relative frequencies.

The Bottom Line

Understanding frequency tables and calculating relative frequencies are essential skills in data analysis. By organizing data into classes and displaying frequencies, we can gain valuable insights into the occurrence and distribution of events or observations.

Excel offers a convenient platform for performing these calculations, enabling us to uncover patterns and make informed decisions.

Visualizing relative frequencies through charts enhances data interpretation. By mastering frequency tables and relative frequencies, you can take your data analysis skills to new heights and unlock valuable insights from your datasets.

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