If you want a simple visual to help your audience see the direction of the data in your chart, consider a trendline. You can add different types of trendlines in Google Sheets and customize their appearance.
There are six types of trendlines you can use depending on how you want to display the line:
- Linear: Use this for data that mostly follows a straight line.
- Exponential: Use this for data that increases and decreases in proportion to its value.
- Polynomial: Use this for data that fluctuates.
- Logarithmic: Use this for data that increases and decreases quickly and then levels out.
- Power Series: Use this for data that increases and decreases in proportion to its value at the same rate.
- Moving Average: Use this to help even out unstable data.
Once you have the chart you want to use and are ready to add the trendline, double-click the chart or click the three dots on the top right and select “Edit Chart” to open the Chart Editor sidebar.
Go to the Customize tab in the sidebar and expand the Series section.
At the top of the section, use the drop-down box to choose the series you want to use for the trendline. You can choose “Apply to All Series” or select a particular one in your chart.
If you want to customize a trendline for each series, simply select one at a time and follow the steps below for each.
Scroll to the bottom of the Series section and check the box for Trendline.
You’ll see the trendline appear on your chart. From there, use the Type drop-down box directly beneath to select the kind of trendline you want to use.
If you select Polynomial, you can pick the degree. If you select Moving Average, you can pick the Average Type and Period.
Once you have your trendline set up, you can customize its appearance.
With the Chart Editor sidebar open and the Series section expanded on the Customize tab, you’ll see options to customize the trendline.
You can select a Line Color using the palette drop-down box. This is handy if you want the trendline to stand out.
Next, you can adjust the Line Opacity using the drop-down box. Pick from zero to 100% to make the line more or less bold.
You can then pick the Line Thickness using the drop-down box. Select one, two, four, or eight pixels for the width of the line.
Finally, you can add a label for your trendline to the chart legend if you like. Select the type in the Label drop-down box. If you choose “Custom,” enter the text for the label in the next box.
You can also choose “Use Equation” to display the trendline type’s equation as the label and optionally display the R squared for how closely the trendline fits the chart data.
When you finish adding and customizing your trendline, use the “X” on the top right of the Chart Editor sidebar to close it.
If you want an added visual to help your viewers capture the direction of your data, a trendline in Google Sheets is the way to go.
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