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Excel FORECAST.LINEAR function

Author: Siluvia Last Modified: 2022-03-18

The FORECAST.LINEAR function predicts a future value based on existing values by using the linear regression.


FORECAST.LINEAR(x, known_y's, known_x's)


  • x (required): The data point (x value) for which you want to predict a y value;
  • known_y’s (required): The dependent array or range of data (y values)
  • known_x’s (required): The independent array or range of data (x values)


1. As the FORECAST.LINEAR function was first introduced in Excel 2016 to replace the FORECAST function, it only available in Excel 2016 and later versions;
2. The #VALUE! error occurs if x is nonnumeric;
3. The #N/A error occurs if known_y’s and know_x’s arrays are not the same size;
4. The #DIV/0! error occurs if the variance of know_x’s equals to zero;
5. The equation for the FORECAST.LINEAR function is:
y = a + bx


and and are the averages of know_x’s and known_y’s.

Return value

It returns a numeric value.


As shown in the table below, there is a list of monthly sales from January to August, to predict the future sales along the linear trend, you can try the FORECAST.LINEAR function as follows.

1. Create a helper column. In this case, I create a FORECASE column as shown in the screenshot below.

Tips: Creating a helper column helps to distinguish the predicted values from the actual values in a chart using different colors, which makes the chart more intuitive.

2. Find the cell containing the last sales (C13 in this case) in the Sales column, select a cell (D13) next to it in the helper column, and then enter a number that is the same as the last sales.

3. Select the cell D14, copy or enter the formula below and press the Enter key to get the result. Then select the result cell and drag its AutoFill Handle down to get other predicted values.


After getting all predicted values, you can create a forecast chart based on the table data according to your needs. See the screenshot below:

Related Functions

Excel FORECAST.ETS function
The FORECAST.ETS function uses the Exponential Smoothing (ETS) algorithm to predict a future value based on a series of existing values.

The FORECAST.ETS.CONFINT function calculates the confidence interval for the forecast value at the specified target date.

The FORECAST.ETS.SEASONALITY function returns the length of a seasonal pattern based on existing values and a timeline.

Excel FORECAST.ETS.STAT function
The FORECAST.ETS.STAT function returns a specified statistical value as a result of time series forecasting.

Excel FORECAST function
The FORECAST function predicts a future value based on existing values by using the linear regression.

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