How to Use Probability Paper in Excel

By Stephanie Ellen

Probability paper is paper with vertical lines and evenly spaced horizontal lines that help you to plot a normal probability curve (sometimes called a bell curve). Microsoft Excel does not have built-in probability paper, but you can simulate it by adjusting the vertical chart axis on your spreadsheet and plotting a dummy series along the Y axis. You'll need to download a free Excel add-in to label your graph.

Step 1

Download the free Excel add-in "XY Chart Labeler" from the Apps Pro website (see Resources).

Step 2

Plot your inputs. Enter the following data into cells A1 to A8 of a spreadsheet:XData 0.523.2544.7567.5

Step 3

Plot your ranks. Enter the following data into cells B1 to B8 of the spreadsheet:Rank1234567

Step 4

Plot your outputs. Type "YRank" into cell "C1" of the worksheet, then enter the following formula into cell C2:=NORMSINV((B2-0.5)/MAX($B$2:$B$8))Drag the formula down to fill cell C2 to cell C8.

Step 5

Construct dummy inputs (these are necessary for making the graph look right). Enter the following data into cells E1 to E6:Label0.010.100.500.900.99

Step 6

Construct dummy ranks. Enter the following data into cells F1 to F6:Xlabel00000

Step 7

Construct dummy outputs. Type "YLabel" into cell G1, then enter the following formula into cell G2: =NORMSINV(E2)Drag the formula down to fill cell G2 to cell G6.

Step 8

Make a dummy series for the Y axis. Enter the following data into cells I1 to I9 of your worksheet:0.050.20.30.40.60.70.80.95

Step 9

Enter the following data into cells J1 to J9 of your worksheet:XunLabel00000000

Step 10

Type "YunLabel" into cell "K1" of your worksheet, then type the following formula into cell "K2."=NORMSINV(I2)Fill cells K3 to K9 with the formula.

Step 11

Construct the chart with your dummy axis series using the add in you downloaded in Step 1. Plot the X Label against the Y Label.

Tips & Warnings

  • Depending on the settings you choose for your graph, the probability paper may end up looking cluttered. Use "No Color" for the background color of the axis so that it's not obscured by the markers or set the Major Ticks, Minor Ticks and Tick Labels all to "None" so they will not show on your graph.