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### Understanding Linear and Exponential Regression

Excel includes several array functions for performing linear regression—LINEST, TREND, FORECAST, SLOPE, and STEYX—and exponential regression—LOGEST and GROWTH. These functions are entered as array formulas and they produce array results. You can use each of these functions with one or several independent variables. The following list provides a definition of the different types of regression:

• Linear regression produces the slope of a line that best fits a single set of data. Based on a year's worth of sales figures, for example, linear regression can tell you the projected sales for March of the following year by giving you the slope and y-intercept (that is, the point where the line crosses the y-axis) of the line that best fits the sales data. By following the line forward in time, you can estimate future sales, if you can safely assume that growth will remain linear.

• Exponential regression produces an exponential curve that best fits a set of data that you suspect does not change linearly with time. For example, a series of measurements of population growth will nearly always be better represented by an exponential curve than by a line.

• Multiple regression is the analysis of more than one set of data, which often produces a more realistic projection. You can perform both linear and exponential multiple regression analyses. For example, suppose you want to project the appropriate price for a house in your area based on square footage, number of bathrooms, lot size, and age. Using a multiple regression formula, you can estimate a price, based on a database of information gathered from existing houses.

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