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Excel offers decent tools for calculating various types of yields. Poke around in the Formulas section to find them. Let's work an example. Assume you have downloaded a couple hundred bonds into a spreadsheet and you’re checking the broker-calculated yields. Assume your data is in columns A through D, one row per bond.

1 Alcoa 5.870 02/23/22 60.647
2 3ShopKo 9.250 03/15/22 60.548
3 Burlington 3.200 01/01/45 60.200

=YIELD(today(), C1, B1/100, D1, 100, 2, 1)

Obviously, any fact about any bond could be put into any column of the spreadsheet, and any fact could be entered in many different formats. Also, “settlement” is T-3, not “trade date”. But that formula will get you going. E.g., if today is Thursday, 03/17/2011, and if the ASK is 60.500, and if you're buying a single bond at Fido and paying $8 in commish, and if you want to get fussy about settlement, then the formula would look like this:

=YIELD("03/22/2011", "07/24/2045", 0.032, 61.300, 100, 2, 1)

where the syntax is YIELD(Settlement, Due, Coupon_Rate, Price, Par, Frequency_of_Coupon, Year_Type), and the YTM is 6.1% (if I haven't screwed up on my math).

Caution: In buying any bond, not just long-dated ones, you need to estimate the impact of inflation on yield. (But that's a post for another time.)
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