Displaying Trendlines in Excel Charts

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated February 18, 2021

Applies to: Microsoft® Excel® 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365 (Windows)

In Microsoft Excel, you have the ability to add one or more trendlines to a chart and to project future results. This article is the second in a series of simple ways to show trends in your Excel data.

Recommended articles: Simple Strategies to Show Trends in Excel (Part 1) and (Part 3)

Creating a chart in Excel

The first thing you will need to do is enter enough data in a worksheet with consistent intervals (i.e. weekly, monthly or yearly) to display a trend.

To create a chart:

  1. Select the data you wish to chart.
  2. Click the Insert tab in the Ribbon.
  3. In the Charts group, click the Chart type you would like to create and choose a chart type from the drop-down list. An embedded chart will be added to the sheet.
  4. Click the chart. Note the Chart Tools tabs that now appear in the Ribbon. Use the tabs to format the chart or change the chart type.
  5. If there is only one data series, you can remove the legend by clicking its edge and pressing Delete.

Column chart in Excel.

Adding a trendline to a chart

To add a trendline:

  1. Click the chart.
  2. Select the data series where you wish to display a trendline (usually this involves clicking a column to select the column series or on a line to select a line series).
  3. Click the Chart Tools Layout tab.
  4. In the Analysis group, click Trendline. A drop-down menu appears.
  5. Choose the desired type of trendline or click More Trendline Options for other choices, make a choice and click Close. A trendline appears.

Trendline on chart in excel.

Linear trendlilne on a column chart.

Types of trendlines

There are a several different types of trendlines:

  • Use a linear trendline for simple data. If your data works best with a straight line, use a linear trendline which represents a steady rate of increase or decrease.
  • Use a logarithmic trendline for data that starts with a sharp change and levels out.
  • Use a moving average trendline for rapidly fluctuating data such as stock prices. This type of trendline smooths out the fluctuations to show the overall trend.
  • Use a polynomial trendline for gradually fluctuating data. Whereas a moving average trendline suppresses individual fluctuations, a polynomial trendline makes them stand out.
  • Use a power trendline when working with measurements that increase at specific rates (such as truck accelerations) and all data values are greater than zero.
  • Use an exponential trendline for data that rises or falls at rates that increase constantly.

Formatting trendlines

To format a trendline:

  1. Click the trendline.
  2. Right-click it and choose Format Trendline.
  3. Choose the desired options.
  4. Click Close.

Format Trendline dialog box in Excel.

Displaying the R-squared value

You can display the R-squared value which indicates how closely your trendline follows your data. The closer the value is to 1, the closer it follows your data. Select the R-squared value check box in the Format Trendline dialog box.

You can move the R-squared value to another location on the chart by clicking on it to display sizing handles. Point to one of the handles and drag with the left mouse button to a new location.

Projecting a trend

You can project a trend forward, backward or both.

To add a forward projection to a trendline:

  1. Click the trendline.
  2. Right-click and choose Format Trendline.
  3. Enter a number in the Forward field of the Forecast section to project a trend forward.
  4. Click Close.

Format trendline dialog box in Excel with projected trend.

Excel chart with trendline with forward projection.

Trendlines are simple to add to your charts to show trends in Excel.

Subscribe to get more articles like this one

Did you find this article helpful? If you would like to receive new articles, join our email list.

Related articles

How to Fill Blank Cells in Excel with a Value from a Cell Above

How to Use Flash Fill in Excel to Clean or Extract Data (Beginner's Guide)

How to Quickly Delete Blank Rows in Excel

Related courses

Microsoft Excel: Intermediate / Advanced

Microsoft Excel: Data Analysis with Functions, Dashboards and What-If Analysis Tools

Microsoft Excel:  Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) | Introduction

VIEW MORE COURSES >

Our instructor-led courses are delivered in virtual classroom format or at our downtown Toronto location at 18 King Street East, Suite 1400, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (some in-person classroom courses may also be delivered at an alternate downtown Toronto location). Contact us at info@avantixlearning.ca if you'd like to arrange custom instructor-led virtual classroom or onsite training on a date that's convenient for you.

Copyright 2022 Avantix® Learning

You may also like

How to Lock Cells in Excel (3 Ways)

How to Lock Cells in Excel (3 Ways)

It's easy to lock and protect cells in Microsoft Excel to prevent users from changing data or formulas. This involves a two-step process …

How to Password Protect Your Excel Worksheets and Workbooks

How to Password Protect Your Excel Worksheets and Workbooks

You can password protect worksheets and workbooks in Excel. If you want to prevent other users from opening or modifying an Excel workbook, you can encrypt the file with a password. You can also protect workbook structure where you can prevent users from deleting, renaming, moving or unhiding worksheets. Password protection can be added to your Excel file in several ways.

Microsoft, the Microsoft logo, Microsoft Office and related Microsoft applications and logos are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in Canada, US and other countries. All other trademarks are the property of the registered owners.

Avantix Learning |18 King Street East, Suite 1400, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5C 1C4 | Contact us at info@avantixlearning.ca

Summary
Simple Strategies to Show Trends in Excel (Part 2: Adding Trendlines in Charts)
Article Name
Simple Strategies to Show Trends in Excel (Part 2: Adding Trendlines in Charts)
Description
In Microsoft Excel, you have the ability to add one or more trendlines to a chart and to project future results.
Author
Publisher Name
Avantix Learning

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This