# How to Use Excel FORECAST Function? 2 Easy Ways

* Note: This guide on how to use Excel FORECAST function in Excel is suitable for all Excel versions including Office 365*)

Imagine a situation where you are given a data set for the past five years and need to forecast or predict an upcoming year’s sales output or expense.

How would you approach the problem? Are you analytically strong to calculate the value using mathematical equations and formulas?

Good thing Excel has the FORECAST function, which predicts the probable value in the imminent cell using the previous cell range as a reference to calculate the prediction value.

In this article, I will show you how to use Excel FORECAST function, including its syntax, arguments, and benefits with real-time examples.

**You’ll learn:**

- Universal SYNTAX for a FORECAST Function
- How to Use Excel Forecast Function- Different Methods
- Points to Remember

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**HOW TO MAKE AN EXCEL FORECAST SHEET IN 3 STEPS – THE BEST GUIDE**

**BASIC FORECASTING IN EXCEL: RECORDED WEBINAR**

**HOW TO USE THE ROUND FUNCTION IN EXCEL?**

## Universal SYNTAX for a FORECAST Function

**=FORECAST(x, known_y’s, known_x’s)**

The FORECAST function can be divided into three arguments: x**–** denotes the cell corresponding to the forecast value, **known_y’s-** denotes the range of cells with dependent data, and **known_x’s** denotes the range of cells with independent data.

## How to Use Excel Forecast Function- Different Methods

In the following steps, let’s look at the different methods for using the Excel Forecast function. You can use the Forecast function by two different methods. The different methods to use this function are:

### Entering the Formula Manually

Let’s say you have a six years sales data list and want to predict the sales for the 7th year. In our case, it is 2023. **Step 1-** To use the FORECAST function, choose the cell to enter the formula for the function.** **Considering the range of cells required to perform the function, enter the following formula **=FORECAST(A9, B3:B8, A3:A8)**

**Step 2-** Once you enter the formula in the destination cell, hit **Enter**.** **The answer is displayed in the **B9 cell.**

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### By Using the Formula Bar

The sales for the years are listed in the first column. Our goal is to find out the prediction of sales for the year 2016.**Step 1- **First, pick the destination cell where you want to apply the **FORECAST** function. Click on the **More Functions** drop-down menu under the **Formula** tab. Select the **Statistical** option from the list displayed.

**Step 2-** The statistical option contains important analytical functions such as COVARIANCE, FREQUENCY, and types of FORECAST functions. Scroll down and locate the **FORECAST.LINEAR** option.

**Step 3-** Now enter the argument values. In this case, the following values are the arguments considering the data.

**X**= A9,

**known_ys**= B3:B8,

**known_xs**= A3:A8.

**Step 4-**Double-check the values you entered before clicking**OK.**The result preview is displayed as (**Formula Result**) in the bottom left section of the**Function Arguments**dialog box.

- You can verify the value, and the formula result entered within the dialog box.

**Step 5- **The formula is displayed in the destination cell. Finally, press **Enter **to return the answer to the destination cell.

We saw how to use Excel FORECAST function using the formula bar in this method. While entering the values, you might face potential error prompts without knowing why. Let’s cover that in the next section.

## Points to Remember

- There should be no zero variance for the
**known_x**‘s array. It should have the same length as the**known_y**‘s array.

- If you face an
**#N/A!**Error, the possible explanations are- You have entered different length values for the
**known_x**‘s and**known_y**‘s arrays. - The
**known_x**‘s or**known_y**‘s arrays are left empty.

- You have entered different length values for the

3. You will face a **#DIV/0! Error** message when you type the value of the known_X argument as zero.

4. You will get a **#VALUE!Error **if the input value of the ‘**X**’ argument is non-numerical. Before entering the formula, check if all the values under analysis are numerical and replace the ones that differ.

## Frequently Asked Questions

### What is the use of the Excel FORECAST function?

An Excel FORECAST function predicts the upcoming value of an existing group of values in a selected column. The FORECAST function is beneficial in predicting the expected sales value for the upcoming year, or annual imports and exports of products, etc.

### Can I use the FORECAST function for non-numeric data?

You cannot use the FORECAST function for non-numerical values. First, convert all non-numerical values to numerical ones before using the function to predict it successfully without displaying an error message.

### How true is the Excel FORECAST function?

It depends on the value you enter in the column under evaluation. If you are going to assume and enter values in the cell range arbitrarily, then you cannot expect a true possible prediction outcome. However, Excel assures 95% confidence in the prediction results using the FORECAST function.

## Final Thoughts

To conclude, the FORECAST function helps predict an imminent cell’s value. All you need to do is to understand the syntax, the values to be entered in corresponding boxes, and multiple data sets.

In this article, we saw how to use the Excel FORECAST function in two easy ways. Upgrade your Excel skills to perform more useful functions that ease the difficulty level during data analysis.

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Simon Sez IT has been teaching Excel and other business software for over ten years. For a low, monthly fee you can get access to 150+ IT training courses.