By Joseph Schmuller

The F-distribution is extremely important in statistics and Excel gives you a great tool. In order to increase your understanding of this distribution, you need to know how to graph it. Check out the numbers and the finished product.

f-distribution
Visualizing the F-distribution.

Here are the steps:

  1. Put the degrees of freedom in cells.
    For this example, put 10 into cell B1, and 15 in cell B2.
    Create a column of values for the statistic.
    In cells D2 through D42, put the values 0 through 8 in increments of .2.
  2. In the first cell of the adjoining column, put the value of the probability density for the first value of the statistic.
    Because you’re graphing an F-distribution, you use F.DIST in cell E2. For the value of X, click cell D2. For df1, click B1 and press the F4 key to anchor this selection. For df2, click B2 and press the F4 key. In the Cumulative box, type FALSE to return the height of the distribution for this value of t. Then click OK.
  3. Autofill the column with the values.
  4. Create the chart.
    Highlight both columns. On the Insert tab, in the Charts area, select Scatter with Smooth Lines.
  5. Modify the chart.
    Click inside the chart to open the Chart Elements tool (the plus sign) and use it to add the axis titles (F and f(F)). You can also delete the chart title and the gridlines, but that’s a matter of personal taste.
  6. Manipulate the chart.
    To help you get a feel for the distribution, try different values for the df and see how the changes affect the chart.