Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Adding an Automatic Trendline to a Chart
Adding an Automatic Trendline to a Chart
In the previous example, an analyst had created a forecast for the next two quarters.
However, sometimes you might want to allow Excel to make a prediction based on past
results. In these situations, Excel offers a trendline feature in which Excel draws a straight
line that fits the existing data points. You can ask Excel to extrapolate the trendline into the
future. If your data series contains blank points that represent the future, Excel can
automatically add the trendline. I regularly use these charts to track my progress toward a goal
or trendline.
The easiest way to add a trendline is to build a data series that includes all the days that the
project is scheduled to run. In Figure 3.31, Column A contains the days of the month and
Column B contains 125 for each data point. Therefore, Excel draws a straight line across
the chart showing the goal at the end of the project. Column C shows the writing progress
I should make each day. In this particular month, I am assuming that I will write an equal
number of pages six days per week. Column D, which is labeled Actual, is where I record
the daily progress toward the goal.
The chart is created as a line chart with the gridlines and legend removed. The trendline
is formatted as a lighter gray. The actual line is formatted as a thick line. The top chart in
Figure 3.31 shows the chart before the trendline is complete. Notice that the thick line is
not quite above the progress line.
Figure 3.31
In the top chart, the
actual line is running
behind the target line,
but it seems close.
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