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Google Sheets Forecast Function (How to Use it in 2024)

In this article, we will explore what the Google Sheets FORECAST function is. We also cover how to use the FORECAST function in Google Sheets. Simply follow the steps below. 

What is the Google Sheets FORECAST function?

The FORECAST function in Google Sheets is a powerful tool used for making predictions based on existing data, typically in linear regression analysis. This function is particularly useful for forecasting future values based on historical data trends.

Google Sheets FORECAST Function Syntax

The basic syntax of the FORECAST function is:

FORECAST(x, data_y, data_x)

Where:

x is the independent variable for which you want to forecast a value. This is the point on the X-axis you are forecasting a value for.

data_y is the range of the dependent data set (historically known values). These are the data points corresponding to the Y-axis.

data_x is the range of the independent data set. These are the data points corresponding to the X-axis and should correspond in size and order to data_y.

How to Use the FORECAST Function in Google Sheets

Follow the steps below to use the FORECAST function in Google Sheets to predict future data based on existing trends. In this example, we will use a simple dataset to demonstrate how you can forecast future sales or other metrics. 

1. Input Your Dataset into a New Google Sheets Spreadsheet

Start by opening a new spreadsheet in Google Sheets. Enter your data, with one column for the independent variable (such as dates) and another for the dependent variable (like sales figures).

google sheets forecast

2. Identify Your Independent and Dependent Columns

In the provided dataset, 'Date' is the independent variable (x values) and 'Sales' is the dependent variable (y values). In other cases, x can be any numerical independent variable.

forecast google sheets

3. Choose a Cell for the Forecast Result

Select an empty cell where you want the forecasted result to appear. This cell will display the predicted value.

forecast in google sheets

4. Apply the FORECAST Function

Type in “=FORECAST(DATE(2024,1,1), B1:B12, A1:A12)” to predict sales for January 2024 using the provided dataset.

google sheets forecast function

5. Execute the Function and View the Result

After entering the formula, press Enter. Google Sheets will calculate and display the forecasted value for the specified date.

6. Review and Interpret the Forecasted Sales

Examine the forecast result to understand the estimated sales for the future date based on historical trends.

We hope that you now have a better understanding of how to use the Google Sheets FORECAST function. If you enjoyed this article, you might also like our article on how to use Google Sheets for budgeting or our article on how to set up the Google Sheets custom function. 

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