Adding a trend line

Excel 2016 2013 2010 2007 2003
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 in Excel 365

Excel makes adding a trend line to a chart quite simple. To add a trendline, select the data series and do one of the following:

  • After selecting a data series, Excel displays the Chart Design and Format tabs.

    On the Chart Design tab, in the Chart Layouts group, click the Add Chart Element drop-down list:

    Add Chart Element button in Excel 365

    In the Add Chart Element drop-down list, choose the Trendline list:

    Add Trendline in Excel 365
  • Right-click on the selected data series and select Add Trendline... in the popup menu:
    Add Trendline in the popup menu Excel 365
  • Click the Chart Elements button:
    Chart Elements button in Excel 365

    In the Chart elements list, choose the the Trendline list:

    Chart Elements - Trendline in Excel 365

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. If necessary, you can fine-tune the trendline settings from the Format Trendline pane:

Format Trendline in Excel 365

One of the options in the Trendline Options group 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 Trendline Options group enables you to specify a Trendline name to appear in the legend and the number of periods that you want to forecast. Set a value in the Forward and Backward fields to project your data into the future.

Additional options let you:

  • Set the intercept value by selecting the Set Intercept option,
  • Specify that the equation used for the trend line by selecting the Display Equation on chart option,
  • Choose whether the R-squared value appears on the chart by selecting the Display R-squared value on chart option,

Delete a trendline

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

See also this tip in French: Comment ajouter une courbe de tendance.

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