A normal distribution is a distribution of a continuous variable. Continuous variables include height, weight and income, and anything that is measured on a continuous scale. The normal distribution is the "bell-shaped" curve; many variables are distributed approximately normally, including many physical traits such as height or weight, and also variables such as IQ. You can create a graph of a normal distribution in Excel.
Enter column headings. In cell A1, put "multiplier"; in B1, put "X"; in C1, put "Mean"; in D1, put "Standard Deviation"; and in E1, put "Normal."
Decide on the mean and standard deviation you want for your distribution. For example, IQ has a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 15.
Enter the mean and standard deviation. Put the mean in cell C2 and the standard deviation in cell D2. Copy these to cells C3 and D3.
Enter multiplier. In cell A2 put -4, in cell A3 put =a2+.1.
Enter the normal distribution. In cell E2 put =norm.dist(b2, c2, d2, FALSE). Copy this to cell E3.
Copy the third row to rows 4 through 82.
Highlight columns B and E.
Make a chart. Click "Insert," "Scatter," "Scatter with smooth lines." This will create a normal distribution graph.
About the Author
Peter Flom is a statistician and a learning-disabled adult. He has been writing for many years and has been published in many academic journals in fields such as psychology, drug addiction, epidemiology and others. He holds a Ph.D. in psychometrics from Fordham University.