Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Reading Values from Graphs.

Reading Values from Graphs

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 11, 2014)

2

When creating charts from Excel data, you can smooth out the lines between data points by using any number of methods. At some point, you may want to actually figure out how Excel does its calculations to determine where to actually plot points along the line. Rather than visually trying to figure out where a point falls, you can follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on the data series in question. Excel displays a Context menu.
  2. Choose the Add Trendline option from the Context menu. Excel displays the Add Trendline dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Add Trendline dialog box.

  4. Make sure the regression type you want to use is selected.
  5. Display the Options tab.
  6. Make sure the Display Equation on Chart check box is selected.
  7. Click on OK.

The result is that Excel shows a formula, on the chart, that represents how it calculated each point along the line. You can then use this formula to determine points, as well. No more guessing! Once you know the formula, you can turn off the formula display if you want it off.

If you would like to know the different formulas that Excel uses for different types of trend lines, you can use the online Help system to search for "equations for calculating trendlines."

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3247) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Reading Values from Graphs.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Beginning a Mail Merge

Performing a mail merge can be intimidating to some people. It needn't be; Word provides step-by-step wizards that lead you ...

Discover More

Adjusting Test Scores Proportionately

Teachers often grade on what is affectionately referred to as "the curve." The problem is, it can be a bit difficult to ...

Discover More

Adding Buttons to Your Worksheet

You can easily add a button to your worksheet that will allow you to run various macros. This tip shows how easy it is.

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Cropping Graphics

Excel makes it easy to place a graphic in a worksheet. Once there, you may want to chop off a side (or two) of the graphic. ...

Discover More

Using Graphics to Represent Data Series

You can spice up your bar chart by using a graphic, of your choosing, to construct the bars. This tip shows how easy it is to ...

Discover More

Pulling AutoShape Text from a Worksheet Cell

AutoShapes can easily contain text—just click on the shape and start typing away. You may want the text in the ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is six less than 6?

2016-03-31 09:53:14

Michael (Micky) Avidan

@Tamar,
3E-05x = 0.00003x
The carret (^) means: "to the power of".
For instance: 2^4 = 2*2*2*2
--------------------------
Michael (Micky) Avidan
“Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator
“Microsoft®” MVP – Excel (2009-2016)
ISRAEL


2016-03-30 20:05:32

Tamar

Hi there,
I made a graph on excel, but can't interpret the formula it gave for me for the trend line (Which is polynomial 3).

y = 3E-05x^3 - 0.1947x^2 + 391.12x - 261965

What is that in standard notation?
Specifically for what the 3E-05 means.

Thanks


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.