How To Find Slope in Excel in 5 Steps (With Tips)

Updated June 24, 2022

Finding the slope of a line has many business applications, as it allows you to see the amount of change between two or more pieces of information. Excel is one program that allows you to calculate the slope of two or more points. If you want to find slope in Excel, it can help to understand the different methods and steps you can take. In this article, we explain how to find and calculate slope in Excel using either a function or scatter plot and some situations where you may need to find the slope.

When is it important to find slope in Excel?

Finding slope is important when you want to find the rate of change between two or more points. You can use it in the workplace to determine performance over time, such as sales goals or overall productivity. You may also find a slope to compare the rate of change between two or more different things. For example, if you work for a chain restaurant, you can find the slope for profit increase at two stores to determine which location shows the most growth.

Related: How To Find the Average Rate of Change of a Function

4 jobs that require finding slope in Excel

Here are some jobs that may require you to find slope in Excel. For the most up-to-date Indeed salaries, please click on the links below:

1. Market research analyst

National average salary: $68,030 per year

Primary duties: Market research analysts gather data to monitor and predict sales trends of a product or service. Common duties include collecting data, creating graphs using statistical software, interpreting that data and presenting their findings to executives. Market research analysts use slope to determine the sales growth of a product.

2. Epidemiologist

National average salary: $75,016 per year

Primary duties: Epidemiologists are public health workers that study the origin and spread of infectious diseases. They can plan health studies, collect and analyze data about diseases, communicate their findings to other health professionals and manage public health programs. Many epidemiologists use slope to track the progress of an infectious disease.

3. Architect

National average salary: $88,710 per year

Primary duties: Architects use mathematics and design principles to plan and design buildings. They can meet with clients, draft building plans, make calculations to ensure the strength of the design and draft construction documents. Architects use many mathematical principles, including slope, to create safe and structurally sound buildings.

Read more: Learn About Being an Architect

4. Economist

National average salary: $105,804 per year

Primary duties: Economists study the production and distribution of resources by society. They often work as consultants for businesses or governments to analyze economic issues, interpret market trends and help make financial decisions. When researching market trends, economists can find slopes to determine trend growth and compare various economic trends to each other.

How to find slope in Excel

These are the steps for using the slope function to find a slope in Excel:

1. Gather your data

To calculate slope, you need multiple points of data with two coordinates each. For example, if you want to calculate the slope of ice cream sales in the heat, collect information about how many ice cream cones you sell and the temperature outside. Gather your data onto a new or existing Excel sheet and organize it into two columns.

2. Determine X and Y values

A slope calculation has two coordinates to help map a data point on a chart. The Y value represents the vertical axis on a graph, while the X value represents the horizontal axis. Determine which column you want for your X and Y values so that you can use that information for your slope formula. For example, if you want to calculate the sales of a stuffed animal over time, you can call the number of sales your Y value and the months the animal is available to the public your X value.

3. Enter the formula

Choose a cell where you want to display the slope of your data and click on it. The formula for slope is "=SLOPE (known_ys,known_xs)," where known Y values and known X values stand for your columns of data. You can begin entering your formula by typing "=SLOPE(" and then adding your variables.

Related: Basic Excel Formulas and How To Use Them

4. Add variables

Once you have your formula started, you can enter your variables into your selected cell. Enter your Y value first to ensure the slope is calculated correctly. You can individually enter each piece of your data or use a colon to signify a range in a column. For example, if both columns have six numbers and your Y value is in column B, you can write the formula as "=SLOPE(B2:B7,A2:A7)".

5. Press the enter key

When you complete the formula, press your enter key to start the calculation. If you change your values in the columns, your formula can automatically re-calculate the slope. You can also edit the cells or columns the formula calculates by clicking on the slope cell and adjusting the information.

Are there other ways to find slope in Excel?

While using the slope function is the main way to find slope in Excel, you can also calculate the slope by using a scatter chart. A scatter chart creates a graph of your data points and may work better for visual thinkers. Here are the steps for the scatter chart method:

1. Gather and organize your data

The scatter plot method uses the same data as the slope function method, so you can gather your information in the same way. Sort your data into X and Y values and two separate columns. Use your mouse to select both columns.

2. Create a scatter plot

Once you've selected both columns, click the "insert" button at the top of the page, and then click the "insert scatter" drop-down option. From there, select "scatter chart." This creates a scatter plot of your data.

Read more: A Guide to Scatter Plots

3. Add a trend line

Choose a point on your scatter chart and right click on it. Select the "add trend line" option toward the bottom of the list. This makes a line that goes through the data points of your scatter chart.

4. Display equation

When you create a trend line, it also opens a format trend line window. In this window, you can select multiple options to help format your trend line. Check the box that says "display equation on chart" to see the slope of your trend line.

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Tips for finding slope in excel

These are some tips for finding slope in Excel:

Pre-organize your data

The slope formula in Excel references existing data on your sheet to make its calculations. You can simplify the process by organizing your data in advance. Try to keep related data points together and sort them into columns so that you can provide a range for the formula instead of entering specific cells.

Drag and drop

While you can manually enter a cell or range of cells when calculating slope, you can use the drag-and-drop method which can save you time. When writing your formula, you can select all of one column and drag it to your slope cell. This automatically provides the range of cells for your calculation.

Proofread your work

Consider reviewing your work to make sure that you entered your data correctly. Proofreading your calculations can reduce your errors and help you notice details that you may have overlooked earlier. When checking your work, ensure that your X and Y values are in the correct position in your formula, you've included all of your data points and there is no space between the Y and X values.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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