CHISQ.DIST: Excel Formulae Explained

The CHISQ.DIST function in Excel is a statistical function that calculates the left-tailed probability of the chi-square distribution. It's an essential tool for statistical analysis, particularly when dealing with variables that are measured on a nominal scale. This function is often used in hypothesis testing, correlation studies, and other statistical analyses.

Understanding the CHISQ.DIST Function

The CHISQ.DIST function is part of Excel's suite of statistical functions. It's used to calculate the probability that a chi-square statistic will be observed, given the degrees of freedom, assuming that the true distribution is a chi-square distribution. This function is particularly useful in hypothesis testing, where it can help determine whether observed results are statistically significant.

The syntax for the CHISQ.DIST function is as follows: CHISQ.DIST(x, deg_freedom, cumulative). Here, 'x' is the value at which you want to evaluate the distribution, 'deg_freedom' represents the degrees of freedom, and 'cumulative' is a logical value that determines the form of the function. If 'cumulative' is TRUE, CHISQ.DIST returns the cumulative distribution function; if it is FALSE, it returns the probability density function.

Applying the CHISQ.DIST Function

Using the CHISQ.DIST Function in Hypothesis Testing

In hypothesis testing, the CHISQ.DIST function can be used to calculate the p-value, which is the probability of observing a test statistic as extreme as, or more extreme than, the observed statistic, assuming that the null hypothesis is true. If the p-value is less than the chosen significance level, the null hypothesis is rejected.

For example, suppose you are testing the hypothesis that two variables are independent. You would first calculate the chi-square test statistic, then use the CHISQ.DIST function to find the p-value. If the p-value is less than your chosen significance level (commonly 0.05), you would reject the null hypothesis and conclude that the variables are not independent.

Using the CHISQ.DIST Function in Correlation Studies

The CHISQ.DIST function can also be used in correlation studies to test the significance of the Pearson correlation coefficient. The square of the Pearson correlation coefficient follows a chi-square distribution with n-2 degrees of freedom, where n is the sample size.

After calculating the Pearson correlation coefficient and squaring it, you can use the CHISQ.DIST function to find the p-value. If the p-value is less than the chosen significance level, you would reject the null hypothesis that there is no correlation and conclude that there is a significant correlation between the variables.

Common Errors and Solutions

#NUM! Error

The #NUM! error occurs when the 'x' value or the 'deg_freedom' value is less than zero. In the chi-square distribution, both these values must be non-negative. If you encounter this error, check your inputs to ensure they are non-negative.

#VALUE! Error

The #VALUE! error occurs when the 'cumulative' argument is not a logical value (TRUE or FALSE). If you encounter this error, check your 'cumulative' argument to ensure it is either TRUE or FALSE.


The CHISQ.DIST function in Excel is a powerful tool for statistical analysis. By understanding how to use this function, you can perform hypothesis testing and correlation studies with ease. Remember to check your inputs carefully to avoid common errors, and don't hesitate to experiment with this function to see how it can enhance your data analysis capabilities.

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