Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Using the IRR Function.

Using the IRR Function

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 4, 2016)

The IRR function is provided by Excel so you can calculate an internal rate of return for a series of values. The IRR is the interest rate accrued on an investment consisting of payments and income that occur at the same regular periods. In the values provided to the function, you enter payments you make as negative values and income you receive as positive values.

For instance, let's say you are investing in your daughter's business, and she will make payments back to you annually over the course of four years. You are planning to invest $50,000, and you expect to receive $10,000 in the first year, $17,500 in the second year, $25,000 in the third, and $30,000 in the fourth.

Since the $50,000 is money you are paying out, it is entered in Excel as a negative value. The other values are entered as positive values. For instance, you could enter –50000 in cell D4, 10000 in cell D5, 17500 in cell D6, 25000 in cell D7, and 30000 in cell D8. To calculate the internal rate of return, you would use the following formula:

=IRR(D4:D8)

The function returns an IRR of 19.49%.

The ranges you use with the IRR function must include at least one payment and one receipt. If you get a #NUM error, and you have included payments and receipts in the range, then Excel needs more information to calculate the IRR. Specifically, you need to provide a "starting guess" for Excel to work with. For example:

=IRR(D4:D8, -5%)

This usage means that the IRR function starts calculating at –5%, and then recursively attempts to resolve the IRR based on the values in the range.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12360) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Using the IRR Function.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Viewing Footnotes

Adding footnotes to a document is essential for some types of writing. How you view those footnotes depends on the ...

Discover More

Word 2010 Terrific Tables (Table of Contents)

Word allows you to create and format tabular information using a powerful table editor. Discover the many ways that you ...

Discover More

Getting Rid of the Ctrl+Click Message

When you add a hyperlink to a document, you can later click that link to display whatever is linked to. Well, you ...

Discover More

Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Using the REPT Function

Excel includes a handy function that allows you to repeat characters or strings of characters. How you use the REPT ...

Discover More

EOMONTH Function is Flakey

Some users have reported problems using the EOMONTH function in later versions of Excel, beginning with Excel 2007. The ...

Discover More

Strange ATAN Results

You may use Excel's trigonometric functions to do some quick calculations, and suddenly notice that the results in your ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is two less than 5?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.