**Excel** is the most widely used tool when it comes to dealing with huge datasets. We can perform myriads of tasks of multiple dimensions in **Excel**. In this article, I will explain how to apply Holt-Winters **exponential smoothing** in Excel. This method is useful for forecasting.

**Table of Contents**hide

## Download Workbook

Download this workbook and practice while going through this article.

## Introduction to Holt-Winters Exponential Smoothing

**Holt-Winters** method is an advanced method to forecast values. It considers seasonality, and trend effects while predicting the forecast. That is why the values represent the actual values except for some randomness.

The formula to calculate the forecast value using **Holt-Winters Exponential Smoothing** in **Excel **is

**Ft+k = (Lt+k*Tt)*St-m+k**

Where, **F** = Forecasted Value**L** = Level**T** = Trend**M** = **4** for the quarterly period, **12** for the monthly period**S** = Seasonality Index

## 11 Easy Steps to Perform Holt Winters Exponential Smoothing in Excel

This is the dataset for todayâ€™s article. We have **quarterly sales** up to 2022.

We will calculate the forecasted values for 2023.

### Step 1: Assign Random Alpha, Beta & Gamma Value

The first task is to assign some random values for the constants **alpha**, **beta,** and **gamma**.

We will later optimize these values.

### Step 2: Calculate Initial Seasonal Index

After that, we will determine the initial **seasonal index** for the first **4** quarters. We will determine the initial seasonal indexes by __dividing the sales of each quarter by the average sale of the first 4 quarters__. We will use

**the AVERAGE function**to do so.

- Go to
**F11**and write down the following formula.

`=C11/AVERAGE($C$11:$C$14)`

- Now, press
**ENTER**.**Excel**will return the output.

- After that, use the
**Fill Handle**to**AutoFill**up to**F14**.

### Step 3: Determine Initial Level and Trend

Itâ€™s time to calculate the initial level and trend for the dataset.

The **initial level** is __the level for the 5th quarter__ since there are

**4**quarters in a year.

The formula for the initial Level is,

**L5 = Y5/S1**

Where, **Y5**= Sales for the 5th Quarter.

**S1**= Seasonal Index for 1st Quarter.

To determine it,

- Go to
**D15**and write down the formula

`=C15/F11`

- Now, press
**ENTER**.**Excel**will return the output.

This time I will calculate the initial trend (which is also for the **5th** quarter). The formula for the initial trend is,

**T5 = L5-Y4/S4**

Where, **L5** = Level for 5th Quarter.

**Y4** = Sales for the 4th Quarter.

**S4** = Seasonal Index for 4th Quarter.

To calculate it,

- Go to
**E15**and write down the formula,

`=D15-C14/F14`

- Press
**ENTER**to get the output.

**Read More: How to Smooth Data in Excel (6 Easy Methods)**

### Step 4: Calculate Next Seasonal Indexes

Now, we will calculate the next seasonal indexes using our general formula. The general formula to calculate the seasonal index is,

**St = É£(Yt/Lt)+(1-É£)St-m**

Where

**L** = Level.**T** = Trend.**M** = **4** for the quarterly period, **12** for a monthly period.**S** = Seasonality Index.**Æ” = **Coefficient.

To calculate the seasonal index,

- Go to
**F15**and write down the following formula

`=$C$6*(C15/D15)+(1-$C$6)*F11`

- Press
**ENTER**.

**AutoFill**up to**F22**.

**Note:** Ignore the error for a while, it will be fine once you measure the next **Levels** and next **Trends**.

### Step 5: Determine Next Levels

Now I will show how to determine the next levels using the formula,

**Lt = Î±(Yt/St-m)+(1-Î±)(Lt-1+Tt-1)**

Where

**L** = Level**T** = Trend**M** = **4** for quarterly period, **12** for a monthly period**S** = Seasonality Index**Î± = **Coefficient

- Go to
**D16**and write down the following formula

`=$C$4*(C16/F12)+(1-$C$4)*(D15+E15)`

- Press
**ENTER**.

**AutoFill**up to**D22**.

### Step 6: Measure Next Trends

Letâ€™s get the idea of the trend effect now. The formula is

**Tt= Î²(Lt-Lt-1)+(1-Î²)Tt-1**

Where

**L** = Level**T** = Trend**M** = **4** for quarterly period, **12** for a monthly period**S** = Seasonality Index**Î²= **Coefficient

To calculate the trend effect,

- Go to
**E6**and write down the following formula

`=$C$5*(D16-D15)+(1-$C$5)*E15`

- Press
**ENTERÂ**to continue.

**AutoFill**up to**E22**.

**Read More: How to Calculate Trend Adjusted Exponential Smoothing in Excel**

### Step 7: Find Forecasted Values to Compare with Actual Sales

Now, we will calculate the forecasted values for comparing with actual sales. The first one will be for quarter 6. The formula to calculate the forecasted values (for comparison) is,

**F****t ****= (L****t-1 ****+ T****t-1****)* S****t-M**

So letâ€™s do it.

- Go to
**G16**and write down the following formula

`=(D16+E16)*F12`

- Press
**ENTERÂ**to go.

**AutoFill**up to**G22**.

### Step 8: Calculate Forecasting Errors

Now, we will calculate the forecasting error by subtracting the forecasted value from the actual sales.

- Go to
**H16**and write down the formula

`=C16-G16`

- Then press
**ENTER**.

**AutoFill**up to**H22Â**and get the final output like the image below.

### Step 9: Assign K Value for Quarters to Be Forecasted

Itâ€™s time to calculate the forecast. But before that, we must understand the **co-efficient k**. It represents the future time for forecasting. In our case, we will calculate the forecast for the **4** quarters of 2023. And we have data available for 2022.

__So, for the first quarter of 2023, the value of k will be 1, for the 2nd quarter, it will be 2, and so on.__

### Step 10: Calculate Forecasted Value

Now, we are ready to calculate our forecasted values. We will use the last available Level, Trend, and Seasonality to calculate them.

- Go to
**G23**and write down the following formula

`=($D$22+F23*$E$22)*F19`

- Then press
**ENTER**to get the output.

- Now,
**AutoFill**up to**G25**.

### Step 11: Optimize Alpha, Beta, and Gamma

Now, to minimize the error, we will optimize the value of **alpha**, **beta**, and **gamma**. We will take the help of an **Excel solver** to do so.

- First, we need to calculate the root mean square error. To do so, go to
**C7**and write down the following formula

`=SQRT(SUMSQ(H15:H21)/COUNT(H15:H21))`

**Formula Breakdown:**

**COUNT(H15:H21)**â†’ Count the number of cells.- Output â†’
**7**

- Output â†’
**SUMSQ(H15:H21)**â†’ Calculate the sum of the squares of**H5:H11**.- Output â†’
**463493653301**

- Output â†’
**=SQRT(SUMSQ(H15:H21)/COUNT(H15:H21))**â†’ Calculates the**RMSE****=SQRT(992.463493653301/7)****=SQRT(141.780499093329)**- Output â†’
**9072**

- Output â†’

- Then, press
**ENTER**.

- Now, go to the
**Data**tab >> select**Solver**.

**Solver Parameters**window will pop up. Since we want to minimize the error, our objective is to set**RMSE**to be minimum by changing the values of the**coefficients**.- After that, to add constraints, click
**Add**.

- Add Constraint window will appear. The constraints are
**0<=Î±,à¥ª,ÃŸ<=1**. So to add the first constraint, set the**cell reference**and**value**. (see image)

- Similarly, after adding the second constraint, your output will be like this. Then click
**Solve**.

**Excel**will minimize the error by optimizing**alpha**,**beta,**and**gamma**.

**Read More: How to Remove Noise from Data in Excel (2 Easy Ways)**

## Things to Remember

- You have to activate the
**solver add-in**. - We are not concerned about the
**k value**for calculating forecasts that we are going to compare with the available actual sales.

## Conclusion

In this article, I have explained how to apply **Holt-Winters exponential smoothing** in **Excel**. I hope it helps everyone. Please comment if you have any queries.

Thanks for Holt’s Winter excel spreadsheet. It helped a Lot. Are there more examples. I enjoyed the one you sent.

Thank you for your kind words.

Have a good day!!

Hola! Estoy intentando usar el pronÃ³stico para kilogramos de un artÃculo en doce meses, pero no logro que la cantidad de kilogramos del aÃ±o 2023 tenga sentido. El aÃ±o 2022 son 3000 kg y el aÃ±o 2023 1200, algo tengo mal… Por favor, Â¿podrÃa pasarme un ejemplo del excel para 12 meses? Gracias!

English: Hello! I’m trying to use the forecast for kilograms of an item in twelve months, but I can’t get the number of kilograms for the year 2023 to make sense. The year 2022 is 3000 kg and the year 2023 is 1200, I have something wrong… Please, could you give me an example of excel for 12 months? Thank you!

Hi JORGE,

It’s a bit difficult to answer this, not seeing your spreadsheet. Can you please send a sample to

[email protected]?Prior to that, check the following Excel file. We have added a 12-month example for you. Let us know if this helps.

Download Link:Solution.xlsxNote:You must have data of 2021 and 2022 for forecasting 2023.

Hi Akib,

I think G16 should be: =(D15+E15)*F12 instead of =(D16+E16)*F12, right?

Thank you.

Hi Quang,

Thanks for your feedback. You are right on this occasion. The formula will be

in`=(D15+E15)*F12`

G16. unfortunately, we have made a mistake here. Thanks to you that you corrected us. We have updated the article.Best wishes to you.

Regards

Fahim Shahriyar Dipto

Excel & Content Developer.