Excel enables you to automatically add a mean to a scatter plot. The “mean” is also called the “average” and Excel refers to this line as a “trendline.” The trendline formula is calculated from the columns of data you entered from your scatter plot. You may have created a plot from several series of data, showing each series with points depicted in a different colour. To illustrate the “trendline” function of Excel, however, it is better to work with a scatter plot with only one series. These instructions apply to Excel 2013.
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Click on the data series you want to use as the base for your mean line. You can hover over any of the points on the graph and double click to select it. Click on the “Chart Elements” button in the upper right corner of the chart. This button is represented by a plus sign in a box.
Click on the “Trendline” box. This puts a tick in the box and will add a basic mean line to the chart.
Click the arrow next to the “Trendline” option to get alternative strategies for your mean. You can alter the calculation for the mean line by selecting either “Exponential Linear Forecast” or “Two Period Moving Average” in these options. The moving average option is an adjusted for of mean calculation that will show greater swings in the data than the standard mean line created by the “Trendline” option.
Close the options dialogue to see the line of average values plotted on your scatter graph. Excel generates a key for the mean line giving it a title of the type of trend line followed by the title of the data series on which it was based, in brackets.
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