What it does – It finds the line that fits the best on a scatter plot
A quick guide:
How to find the line of best fit in Google Sheets:
Step 1: Select the dataset and click insert->chart. A scatter plot will get displayed.
Step 2: Click on customize -> series
Step 3: Scroll a bit and check the trendline checkbox. The trendline will be superimposed on the scatter plot
Sample Google Sheets template with formula here
Charts and graphs can help us get a better understanding of the dataset and to establish the relationships between variables. They also help us predict the future by simply establishing a trend. Using Google Sheets, we can also find the line of best fit (also known as the trend line) to be able to predict the future.
The line of best fit is a line superimposed on a scatter plot to understand the trends within the data. Making forecasts and understanding relationships between elements of data can be accomplished by using these lines.
In this tutorial, our prime objective is to learn how to find the line of best fit in Google Sheets.
What is the line of best fit?
You can easily draw a number of insights from graphs and charts but at times it gets difficult to establish a trend or make a forecast just by looking at the graphs/charts alone. In cases like these, the line of best fit comes into play.
The line of best fit is a way to perform a regression analysis on a scatter plot to establish a trend or make a forecast using the existing data. Let’s have a look at this scatter plot.
By simply looking at the scatter plot, it’s a bit difficult to establish the relationship between both axes. What if we add the line of best fit to this plot?
It becomes easier to establish a relationship and make a forecast. That’s why it’s important to learn how to find the line of best fit in Google Sheets.
Line of best fit in Google Sheets
In the following example, we are going to learn how to find the line of best fit in Google Sheets. We have a dataset having x and y values where x stands for average temperature throughout the day and y stands for daily ice cream sales.
Our objective is to establish a relationship between ice cream sales and average temperature throughout the day. We can do this by simply finding the line of best fit in Google Sheets. The step-by-step process is as follows:
- Select the data range that we wish to plot
- Click on the Insert menu and select the Chart option
- A scatter plot appears by default. It should look like the following image
- We will now add the line of best fit to this scatter plot. In the Chart editor section, select the customize option and select the series option
- Check the trendline option as shown in the following image
- The line of best fit will be superimposed on the scatter plot as shown in the following image
Without the line of best fit, it becomes a bit cumbersome to analyze the scatter plot. The line of best fit helps us better to establish the relationship between the data variables. In this case, by looking at the line of best fit we can easily identify the relationship between daily average temperature and ice cream sales. It shows that ice cream sales are positively correlated with higher average temperatures.
We have successfully learned how to find the line of best fit in Google Sheets.
The line of best fit is a great linear regression analysis tool to be able to understand the scatter plot in a better and more effective manner. We have learned how to find the line of best fit in Google Sheets. You are now all set to use this tool to your advantage.
Commonly asked questions
Why is the regression line called the line that best fit?
We use the least squares criterion to pick the regression line. The regression line is sometimes called the “line of best fit” because it is the line that fits best when drawn through the points. It is a line that minimizes the distance of the actual scores from the predicted scores.
Is the trendline the same as the line of best fit?
A trendline also referred to as a line of best fit, is a straight or curved line in a chart that shows the general pattern or overall direction of the data. This analytical tool is most often used to show data movements over a period of time or correlation between two variables
How do you interpret a line of best fit on a scatter plot?
The closer the data points come to forming a straight line when plotted, the higher the correlation between the two variables, or the stronger the relationship. If the data points make a straight line going from near the origin out to high y-values, the variables are said to have a positive correlation.
We have learned how to find the line of best fit in Google Sheets. Are you interested in learning more about how much you can succeed with Google Sheets? With so many powerful features of Google Sheets, you save time and effort.
We have several tutorials that cover tricks and tips in Google Sheets. You can discover them here.
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