How to use CAGR Function in Excel

Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) is financial metric that provides a smoothed annual rate of return over a specified time period. It is particularly useful for analyzing investment returns or business performance. Excel, being a versatile tool, offers a dedicated function to calculate CAGR effortlessly. In this tutorial, we’ll explore the CAGR function in Excel with practical examples to enhance your financial analysis skills.

What is CAGR?

CAGR is a measure of the mean annual growth rate of an investment over a specified period, assuming that the investment has been compounding at a steady rate. It helps smooth out the volatility often associated with annual growth rates. The CAGR formula is:


  • Ending Value is the value at the end of the investment period.
  • The beginning Value is the initial value or investment amount.
  • 1/n is the number of years.

The CAGR Function in Excel

Excel simplifies the calculation of CAGR with the CAGR function. The syntax is as follows:

=CAGR(Ending Value, Beginning Value, n)

Now, let’s dive into practical examples to understand how to use the CAGR function in various scenarios.

Example 1: Investment Growth

Suppose you invested $10,000 in a stock, and after 5 years, it grew to $15,000. Calculate the CAGR using the CAGR function:

=CAGR(15000, 10000, 5)

The result will be the compound annual growth rate of your investment over the 5-year period.

Example 2: Business Revenue

Consider a startup’s revenue, which was $500,000 in the first year and increased to $1,200,000 in the fourth year. Use the CAGR function to determine the annual growth rate:

=CAGR(1200000, 500000, 4)

This will give you the CAGR for the business revenue over the 4-year period.

Example 3: Projected Sales Growth

Let’s say you are forecasting sales growth for a product. If the current sales are $2 million, and you expect them to reach $5 million in 3 years, use the CAGR function:

=CAGR(5000000, 2000000, 3)

This calculation will provide you with the compound annual growth rate needed to achieve the projected sales.

Tips and Best Practices

  1. Consistent Time Periods: Ensure that the time periods used for the CAGR calculation are consistent. If your data is in months, use the same unit throughout.
  2. Valid Data: Verify that your beginning and ending values are accurate. Garbage in, garbage out – the CAGR is only as good as the data you input.
  3. Data Formatting: Format your cells appropriately. Monetary values should be formatted as currency, and percentages as percentages.
  4. Graphical Representation: Consider creating a visual representation of your data using charts to better understand the growth trend.
  5. Sensitivity Analysis: Evaluate the impact of different scenarios on the CAGR by changing the input values. This helps in understanding the sensitivity of the CAGR to variations in data.


Mastering the CAGR function in Excel is a valuable skill for financial analysts, investors, and business professionals. This tutorial has equipped you with the knowledge to calculate CAGR efficiently using practical examples. Whether you’re analyzing investment returns, business performance, or projecting future growth, the CAGR function in Excel is an indispensable tool for making informed financial decisions.

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