October 5, 2020

Using the Sidebar Menu

The early tutorials have shown you how to make forecasts using the FORGE_FORECAST function. You can also make forecasts by using the sidebar; this tutorial will show you how to do this and some of the extra features you can use when making a forecast this way.

You can watch this video for a quick demo of how things work and bit of explanation. Or read on below…

The first thing you will have to do is open the sidebar if it isn’t open already.

After a short loading period you should see it appear on the right of your screen:

The things the sidebar asks you to fill in should seem familiar if you have used the FORGE_FORECAST function before.

  1. The date range; this must cover the historical time period used to train the forecast and the future dates for which you want the forecast to cover.
  2. The metric range; you don’t know what this is going to be in the future ( Unless you are backtesting to see how accurate Forecast Forge is. You should do this) so the range should cover the period where you do know the data
  3. Helper columns; this is an optional field. Read more about helper columns in another tutorial.
  4. Country code: Again, this is an option field. Entering a country code like “UK”, “US” or “ES” helps Forecast Forge learn about local holidays (e.g. Thanksgiving, Hispanic Day)
  5. Output location; you need to say where you want the output to go in the spreadsheet. The FORGE_FORECAST function will always place the output below and to the right of the cell it is in; with the sidebar you can put it anywhere.

You can either type the ranges in or select the range with the mouse and then click “Use current selection”.

When you are ready click “Make Forecast” and Forecast Forge will build you’re forecast and put the results in the sheet wherever you specified.

If your forecast period is short enough relative to the amount of training data you will also see the results of some automated backtesting:

You can learn more about interpreting this output here.

Should I use FORGE_FORECAST or the sidebar?

This is mostly a matter of personal preference. There are two important considerations:

  1. Sidebar forecasts won’t automatically update when the input data changes. Forecasts made with FORGE_FORECAST will.
  2. The automatically generated accuracy estimates are only available through the sidebar.