How to Use PV Function in Excel? (Step-By-Step)

November 6, 2023 543 views

In this world of financial analysis and arrangement, the PV function stands for Present Value, is an important tool that empowers professionals to make knowledgeable decisions by assessing the current worth of future cash flows. Knowing how to use the PV function in Excel is important for individuals working with cash flows like investments, loans, and financial projections. The conception of defining the value of future cash flows nowadays holds very importance. This proves challenging just because of the difficulties of financial calculations and changing interest rates. The objective of this complete guide is to clarify the PV function by covering the common clashes related to discount rates, varying payment intervals, and compounding frequencies. This guide will be helpful, if you have ever questioned how to exactly evaluate the present value of future financial transactions. These step-by-step instructions prepare you with the skills to tackle financial assessments efficiently.

1. What is the PV Function in Excel?

The PV function stands for “Present Value” function. It is a financial formula in Excel that is used to allow users to calculate the present value of a future payment by taking into account a stated interest rate and the time period over which the payments will be received. In spirit, it also helps to define the existing worth of future cash flows by discounting them back to their current value. The PV function is broadly helpful in finance and investment analysis in order to assess the charm of investment opportunities, evaluate the value of loans, and make knowledgeable financial decisions.

The fundamental syntax of this function is as under:

=PV(rate, nper, pmt, [fv], [type])

By using the PV function, users can make the following things:

  • Financial projections

  • Analyse investment opportunities

  • Define whether a specific investment or loan supports their financial goals and policies.

2. How to Use PV Function in Excel?

The PV function in Excel is used to calculate the present value of the future payments, investment, loan, or annuity that is based on specified interest rate and time range.  Below is its basic syntax and arguments:

=PV(rate, nper, pmt, [fv], [type])

  • rate: The interest rate of each time range.

  • nper: The total number of payment time ranges.

  • pmt: This argument shows the payment made each period (normally keep constant).

  • fv (optional): It refers to the future value or final payment at the end of the last period.

  • type (optional): This argument contains a number (0 or 1) that represent whether payments are due at the beginning (1) or at the end (0) of the period.

Step-by-Step guide on using PV function in Excel:

Step1. Open Excel: Launch an Excel worksheet on your computer.

Step2. Enter data: Enter the required data in the Excel worksheet like interest rate, number of payment, number of periods, amount and other related information.

Step3Use the PV function: Now, select a cell where you want to show this formula’s result.

Let us suppose, you want to show the result in cell C2. Therefore, you have enter the following formula:

=PV(B2, B3, B4, B5, B6)


  • B2 refers to the interest rate

  • B3 is the number of periods

  • B4 is the payment amount

  • B5 is the future value (0 in this case)

  • B6 is the payment type (0 for end of period).

Step4. Calculate: After writing the formula correctly, press the Enter button. The cell C2 will show the result that is the present value of the investment depending upon the information provided.


Let us suppose, you are buying a car that costs $20,000. You can use the PV function in Excel to get an estimate of how much money you are required to save today in order to afford the car in the next 5 years.

The interest rate at this amount is 5%, and your plan to make payments/ instalments of $500 per month. The future value of this is $20,000.

The formula can be written as:


The result is $8,393.93. This means that you need to save $8,393.93 today in order to afford the car in 5 years.

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3. Things You Should Know About PV Function

As the PV function in Excel is a valued tool for financial calculations that is very helpful for every user to assess the current value of future cash flows. In order to confirm exact results and ideal usage, consider these main key points:

Understanding sign conventions: You need to pay full attention to the sign agreements of the function's arguments. In the formula, all rates should be entered as a decimal value, for cash inflows such as investments; the data should have positive values. And for outflows such as payments, the data should have negative values. This ensures the function accurately understands the cash flows.

Consistent time units: Everyone should maintain consistency in time units during your formula. When you are into an annual interest rate then you have to ensure that the nper (number of periods) matches to the same time unit. For example, if the rate is annual, the number of years should be used for nper.

Handling payment timing: The timing of payments can be affected by type argument. You can use numbers (0 or 1), 0 refers to payments occurring at the end of the period, and 1 if they occur at the start. Select the suitable option that is best fit for your scenario to achieve accurate results.

Future value consideration: As we learn that the fv argument is an optional argument but it is important to add it when required. When there is a final payment or future value at the end of the payment period, you can provide it as a negative value. If there is no future value, the argument should be 0.

Consistency with units: It is important to ensure uniformity between all units of the rate and nper arguments. When you select the interest rate as annual, keep the number of periods (nper argument) in years. Likewise, if the interest rate is monthly then use the number of periods in months. Consistency avoids mistakes and confirms correct outcomes.

Keep these five main points in your mind in order to harness the full perspective of the PV function in Excel. It is a powerful and multipurpose tool for financial analysis, investment decisions as well as managing future cash flows. The key to have reliable results against your calculations is exact data entry and understanding of function arguments.

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5. FAQs About PV Function Excel

Q.1  What is the PV function in Excel, and how is it used?

The PV function in Excel is a financial function used to calculate the present value of an investment or a series of future cash flows. It helps users determine the current worth of an investment, considering a specific discount rate and the time period involved. By providing the future value, interest rate, and the number of periods, the PV function returns the present value of the investment, representing its current monetary worth.

Q.2  How does the PV function handle periodic payments or cash flows?

The PV function in Excel can handle periodic payments or cash flows using the optional argument "payment." If you have a series of constant cash flows (such as loan payments or annuities) that occur at regular intervals, you can include the "payment" argument in the function. This allows you to calculate the present value of both the future value and the stream of payments, making the calculation more accurate for investments with regular income or expenses.

6. Summary

In conclusion, mastering the PV function in Excel opens up a world of financial analysis and planning. Through this step-by-step guide, you've gained the knowledge to evaluate present values efficiently, making informed decisions about investments, loans, and more. However, the process is made even more seamless with the assistance of the WPS Office. With its advanced spreadsheet capabilities, WPS Office provides a user-friendly environment to perform complex financial calculations, like PV function evaluations, effortlessly. Whether you are a professional investor, business analyst, or student, leveraging the power of WPS Office enhances your Excel experience, ensuring accurate results and efficient workflows for all your financial tasks.

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