Skip to Main Content
The online home for the publications of the American Statistical Association
3,062
Views
17
CrossRef citations to date
0
Altmetric
Statistical Computing Software Reviews

Statistical Accuracy of Spreadsheet Software

&
Pages 265-273 | Received 01 Apr 2009, Published online: 24 Jan 2012
 

Abstract

As the use of spreadsheet packages for statistical analysis increases, so does the need for assessing the reliability of these packages. This study compares the accuracy of six spreadsheet packages: Excel, Google Docs, Gnumeric, Numbers, OpenOffice Calc, and Quattro Pro. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) compiled sets of data specifically to test for computational accuracy. Certified statistically accurate computations for standard statistical procedures accompany these datasets. This study analyzes the accuracy of summary statistics such as the mean, standard deviation, and autocorrelation as well as the F statistics for a one-way ANOVA, and the coefficients and R2statistics in regression analysis using the Statistical Reference Datasets (StRD) provided by NIST. Wilkinson’s Tests are also examined to document a package’s ability to perform rounding, univariate statistics, scatterplots, and regression/correlation with particularly challenging data. The final analysis reports the accuracy of probability and percentile computations involving statistical distributions. The results suggest that Gnumeric is the most reliable both in performing statistical analysis and for calculations involving statistical distributions. Google Docs spreadsheet, while convenient, has deficiencies and should not be used for scientific statistical analysis. This article has supplementary material online.

Reprints and Corporate Permissions

Please note: Selecting permissions does not provide access to the full text of the article, please see our help page How do I view content?

To request a reprint or corporate permissions for this article, please click on the relevant link below:

Academic Permissions

Please note: Selecting permissions does not provide access to the full text of the article, please see our help page How do I view content?

Obtain permissions instantly via Rightslink by clicking on the button below:

If you are unable to obtain permissions via Rightslink, please complete and submit this Permissions form. For more information, please visit our Permissions help page.