How to Add a Trend Line on an Excel Spreadsheet

By Tricia Goss

A trend line is a type of graph that displays a trend or predicts a direction. Trend lines are helpful data analysis tools, as they can forecast potential problems or slumps, providing an opportunity to change direction. They can also show anticipated improvements, which may boost employee morale or help you make financial decisions. If you have data entered into an Excel spreadsheet, you can add a trend line using Excel's charting tools and features.

Excel 2003

Step 1

Create a chart from the data with which you want to make a trend line. Press the "F11" key to create a chart using your default chart type, or click the "Chart Wizard" button on the "Standard" toolbar and follow the steps to create a basic chart.

Step 2

Select the data series in the chart from which you want to create a trend line.

Step 3

Go to the "Chart" menu and select "Add Trendline" The "Add Trendline" dialog box will open.

Step 4

Go to the "Type" tab. Select the type of trend line you want to use and click "OK."

Excel 2007 or 2010

Step 1

Open the Excel spreadsheet with the data from which you want to create a trend line. Select the data and make a basic chart. Press the "F11" key to create a chart using your default chart type, or go to the "Insert" tab and select a bar or column chart type in the "Chart" group.

Step 2

Click on the chart area to activate Excel's "Chart Tools."

Step 3

Go to the "Layout" tab under "Chart Tools."

Step 4

Click the "Trendline" button in the "Analysis" group. Select the type of trend line you want to add.