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How to Use the FREQUENCY Function in Google Sheets

Frequency distribution is something that can easily be done in Google Sheets with their built-in FREQUENCY function.

This function will take your data and give you the distribution according to the classes that you specify.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to use the FREQUENCY function in Google Sheets.

FREQUENCY Syntax

The FREQUENCY function will calculate the frequency distribution of a one-column array into the specified classes.

The syntax of the FREQUENCY function is:

=FREQUENCY(data, classes)

  • data – this is the array or range containing the values that will be counted
  • classes – this is the array or range containing the classes.

There are a couple of important things to consider when using the FREQUENCY function:

  • The best practice is to sort your classes so that your outputted data is easier to understand. FREQUENCY will automatically sort the returned values regardless of how your classes are sorted
  • The output of the FREQUENCY function will be a vertical range that is one value greater than the number of classes that you have input into the function. This is because the last frequency count will be counting the number of data greater than the highest class used.

If you are still confused about what this function does, it will make more sense when I show you the example below.

Using the FREQUENCY Function

As I have covered earlier, the FREQUENCY function only requires the two arguments of data and classes.

So to use this function in my spreadsheet, I just need to put in the range that contains my data, and then the range that contains my classes.

Here is how this would look in a spreadsheet:

FREQUENCY example

The FREQUENCY function calculates the distribution of my data according to the classes that you specify in the function. The classes determine the distribution ranges that the data will be counted in.

In the example above, I have entered 3 classes: 1,5, and 10. So FREQUENCY will count the number of data that is:

  1. At or below 1 (my first class)
  2. Between 2-5 (between my first and second class)
  3. Between 6-10 (between my 2nd and third class)
  4. Above 10 (above my third class)

To make things more clear here is the same example from above, but this time I have highlighted the data a color corresponding to the distribution range that each value falls in:

FREQUENCY example highlighted

Closing Thoughts

Hopefully, by now you have a firm understanding of what the FREQUENCY function does and how it is used.

If you are regularly calculating the distribution of various datasets, this function will certainly come in handy as you continue working with spreadsheets.

We recommend you try using this function in your own spreadsheet so that you can get practice on how to use it and how it works.

More Google Sheets Tutorials:
How to Make a Histogram
How to Count Unique Values
How to Count the Number of Occurrences of a Value in a Column