How to Find Linear Functions

By John Brennan
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At one time or another, you've probably used spreadsheet programs to find the best linear equation that fits a given set of data points -- an operation called simple linear regression. If you've ever wondered exactly how the spreadsheet program completes the calculation, then don't worry, it's not magic. You can actually find the line of best fit yourself without a spreadsheet program by just plugging in numbers using your calculator. Unfortunately, the formula is complicated, but it can be broken down into easy, manageable steps.

Prepare the Data

Find M

Find B and Solve the Equation

About the Author

Based in San Diego, John Brennan has been writing about science and the environment since 2006. His articles have appeared in "Plenty," "San Diego Reader," "Santa Barbara Independent" and "East Bay Monthly." Brennan holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of California, San Diego.