Helpful forecast features

We are constantly working on new features that we hope will make your LivePlan forecast easier to use, especially when entering your numbers. We hope that the features below will help you create a great forecast.

Forecast toolbar

Click any cell within a forecast to bring up a list of actions available within the cell. The actions available will vary depending on the type of cell that is clicked.

  • Date and table heading: Add Note
    date and dable heading forecast toolbar.png
  • Locked calculations: Add Note, Copy to clipboard
    locked calculation forecast toolbar.png
  • Forecast cell: Add Note, Open Editor, Copy to clipboard
    forecast cell toolbar.png
  • Forecast item heading: Add Note, Open Editor, Duplicate, Deleteforecast item heading toolbar.png

Using the commands in the forecast toolbar, you can:

  • Add Notes to your forecast: The account owner and any guests or contributors with access to a plan can read and leave notes. Leave notes in LivePlan's Forecast section and comments on any Plan topic. Together, these features help teams collaborate at every step of the planning and review process. 
  • Copy the figure in the selected cell to the clipboard: The figure in the currently highlighted or last-clicked cell will be copied to your device's clipboard.
  • Open the Editor for the selected forecast item: Enter the editor menu to change the settings for the selected forecast item. 
  • Duplicate the selected forecast item: Create a copy of the selected forecast item. This can save time when adding multiple similar entries to your forecast.
    • Click anywhere in the white space of the forecast item cell to bring up the toolbar, then click Duplicate:
  • Delete the selected forecast item: Click and confirm to permanently delete the selected forecast item.

Customizing your views

The information you've entered is summarized in tables throughout your forecast pages. Here are some helpful features of the table view in the forecast.

Forecast Tables

Expand or collapse forecast detail: If a table row has items under it, an expand/collapse arrow will appear next to it. Click the arrow to see the related entries underneath:

expand entries.gif

To expand all available table rows, click on the arrow next to the forecast topic heading. Click again to collapse.

Reordering items in a table: After you've added items to the forecast — revenue streams, direct costs, expenses, etc. — you can change the order in which they appear in the table. To move a row, just click on the drag control to the right of its name and drag it to the new position:

reorder forecast items.gif

The new position will be indicated by a horizontal line between the rows, and the name of the item you're moving will be shown in a tooltip.

Note that you can only move an item within its assigned group of rows. For example, a revenue stream on the Profit & Loss statement can be moved within the set of revenue streams but not into the set of direct costs.

Showing monthly detail: The Monthly detail option allows you to choose whether you see annual columns or monthly columns in your forecast tables. Whatever setting you choose will be applied across all of your forecast tables, and that setting will be saved for you until you change it again.

For example, the revenue table shows only annual columns when this option is not selected: 


When the option is selected, the table shows monthly columns: 


Progress Indicators

Forecast progress indicator header.png

The Progress Indicator feature in LivePlan allows users to monitor the completion status of various pages within their forecast. This can serve as a checklist for you and your team of contributors and guests, whether you're a pre-revenue business developing a forecast for funding, a start-up planning for growth, or an established business interested in better business management.

This indicator appears across all forecast pages, providing a straightforward overview of each page's status. Progress indicators are also visible via the Plan Outline and Guided Path navigation.

forecast indicator dropdown detail.png

The system automatically updates the progress indicator from “Not Started” to “In Progress” as soon as data is entered into a section. Furthermore, a Forecast Table's status will be marked as “Ready” if a user selects “No” in response to the Forecast Empty State prompt, indicating that a particular Progress Indicator is not required in their forecast.

Users can also manually adjust the status of sections to “In Progress,” “Ready,” or “Needs Review.” This feature is designed to assist users in effectively tracking the progress of their forecast, facilitating better organization and collaboration by clearly indicating which sections need to be started, are currently in progress, require review, or are completed and ready.

plan review drop down change status.gif

LivePlan Assistant

LivePlan Assistant is a set of AI-powered tools that help you create your best possible plan. 


LivePlan Premium users can create up to 10 forecast scenarios per plan. 

Forecasting varying amounts over time 

When creating any forecast entry, you have two options for entering your numbers:


  • Constant amount, which applies the same number to every month or year of your forecast.
  • Varying amounts over time, which allows you to manually enter different numbers for each month of your forecast or to have certain months with no numbers at all.

When do I use varying amounts over time?

The Varying amounts over time input is useful in a number of different scenarios:

  • Let's say you want to show growth in your revenue or growth in your direct costs or expenses as your business grows. In that case, you can use Varying amounts over time to enter larger amounts for each month or year of your plan. (Or, you can use the point-and-click chart to draw an upward curve.)
  • If the unit price of your product or service varies seasonally, Varying amounts over time allows you to set different unit prices for different months.
  • If you're adding personnel to your forecast and you want to show seasonal fluctuations in the number of staff you'll be employing, Varying amounts over time allows you to enter a different number of employees each month. You can also use this method to show seasonal fluctuations in salary amounts.

varying amounts over time example.png

In other words, the Varying amounts input can be used throughout the forecast, adding flexibility to your projections.

Applying a percentage of growth to varying amounts entries

When you've created an entry using varying amounts over time, you can then apply a flat growth percentage to each month of the current year. Enter the percentage in the Change field, and click Apply:

varying amounts apply percent change.gif

As shown above, the point-and-click chart and the numbers entered below it will both change as the percentage is applied to all months of the current year.

Using a point-and-click chart in LivePlan

It can be a bit time-consuming to enter individual numbers into the Varying amounts over time fields in the LivePlan forecast. This is especially true when your plan is very detailed. To make it easier to both enter and visualize your numbers, we've added a point-and-click chart that lets you add and adjust your data by clicking and dragging. Of course, you still also have the option to manually enter numbers into the grid.

Note: You can use this chart functionality with most types of forecast entries.

In addition to making it easier to enter your data, this chart is also interactive. If you are the owner of a mature business, for example, you are likely to be well acquainted with the seasonality curve for your industry. The chart shows you that curve visually and allows you to make adjustments by quickly nudging the numbers.

Using the point-and-click chart

Point-and-click charts are available in the LivePlan forecast wherever the Varying amounts over time option exists. As illustrated below, you can click a point on the chart to enter a single number or drag a point to draw a line that sets several numbers:

click and drag varying amounts.gif

When you set a point on the chart or drag a point to create a line, the corresponding fields in the grid update with numbers automatically. If you drag a point out of range or hold a dragged point out of range for a reasonable amount of time, the range of the vertical axis will automatically change to accommodate the value of that point.

Of course, you can always enter numbers directly into the grid's fields. When you do this, the chart will update to match. Any zeroes or invalid entries will create gaps in the chart's line.

Using the point-and-click chart with multiple years of monthly data

The example above shows a plan with three years of monthly detail. However, you can have up to five years of monthly detail in a plan. In that case, there will be an interactive chart for each of these years.

Only one chart is displayed at any given time for each Varying amounts grid. Initially, the chart will show above the numbers for Year 1. If you place your cursor on a different year, the chart for the first year will move out of view, and the chart for the year you chose will come into view:


Applying an overall percentage of growth to the forecast

In the Varying amounts input mode, you can also apply a flat percentage of growth to each month of the current forecast year by entering a number in the Change field and clicking Apply:


As shown above, the chart and the numbers entered below it will automatically change as the percentage you've entered is applied to all months in the current year.

Calculate formulas within cells

LivePlan's Forecast section can calculate simple mathematical formulas within cells. This feature is useful for making quick calculations without having to divert your attention away from the forecast and can be performed from any cell within your LivePlan forecast. Addition and subtraction use the + and - characters, / (backslash) divides, and * (asterisk) multiplies. 

In the example pictured below, the formula 115.50*38 has been entered in the cell:


Click anywhere outside of the cell to solve the formula:


This feature works in the varying amounts over time entry method as well. In the following example, 897+929 is entered into one of the cells.


Clicking outside of the cell solves the formula:


Swap direct costs and expenses

If you have created a line entry for a direct cost or expense and need to move it between those two categories, you can move the line item from one page in the Forecast to another using the Change Item option. 

Expense to Direct cost

  1. From the Forecast section, go to the Expenses page
  2. Click the box of the line entry that you’d like to move
  3. Select Change Item from the menu that appears at the bottom of the screen
  4. Then Confirm the change 

You’ll see that the line entry is now on the Direct Costs page of your forecast and can be edited and adjusted there.

Change item expense to direct costs

Direct Cost to Expense

  1. From the Forecast section, go to the Direct Costs page
  2. Click the box of the line entry that you’d like to move
  3. Select Change Item from the menu that appears at the bottom of the screen
  4. Then Confirm the change 

You’ll see that the line entry is now on the Expenses page of your forecast and can be edited and adjusted there. Change item direct cost to expenses

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