Adding a trend line

Excel 365 2016 2013 2010 2007
When you're plotting data over time, you may want to plot a trend line that describes the data. A trend line points out general trends in your data.
Chart with a Trend Line Excel 2003

In some cases, you can forecast future data with trend lines. A single series can have more than one trend line.

Excel makes adding a trend line to a chart quite simple. In popup menu select Add Trendline... to display the Add Trendline dialog box.

popup to add trend line Excel 2003

The type of trend line that you choose depends on your data. Linear trends are most common, but some data can be described more effectively with another type.

Add Trendline Excel 2003

One of the options on the Type tab is Moving Average, which is useful for smoothing out data that has a lot of variation (that is, "noisy" data). The Moving Average option enables you to specify the number of data points to include in each average.

For example, if you select 5, Excel averages every five data points.

The Options tab of the Add Trendline dialog box enables you to specify a name to appear in the legend and the number of periods that you want to forecast. Additional options let you set the intercept value, specify that the equation used for the trend line should appear on the chart, and choose whether the R-squared value appears on the chart.

Delete a trendline

Click the trendline you want to delete and then press Delete.

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