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A question about curve fitting. Hope you can share some helpful hints.

Given some data we plot a graph y versus x. How do we approach the problem from a curve fitting standpoint? For example, using Excel, if the data "looks" linear from the graph, we choose a linear fit and get a best fit line.

If the data looks "parabolic", we choose a quadratic fit, etc. But what if we have no idea of what fit may be the appropriate fit and the data distributes along a curve but the curve does not look like any familiar curve? What is the wise way to proceed?

Thank you.

Fog37